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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 20/09/2013 at 07:23

Celeriac's origins are marsh-based. They want lots of water and sun and need a long growing season. Removing the outer foliage growth, leaving a core of foliage in the centre, will direct the plant's energy to tuber growth rather than foliage growth.

Conversely, beetroot doesn't need a lot of water. Just lots of sun and enough space between the plants to give the the beetroot room to develop.


Posted: 20/09/2013 at 07:12

How big is the hole, Peter? Pinprick size? If the hole is round and about the size of a small pea, it's likely caterpillars.

compost and manure advice

Posted: 19/09/2013 at 06:58

Rob, composted cow manure is as good as garden compost. Arguably better as a soil conditioner if the manure comes with plenty of worms. Your garden compost, when it turns up, will be a bonus.

Tomato’s haven’t started to ripen yet – Anything I can do?

Posted: 19/09/2013 at 06:40

Yes, a sudden increase in moisture can cause them to split. The toms absorb the moisture, expanding ever so slightly, but enough to split the skin that can't expand quickly enough to accommodate it. The same thing can happen if plants receive a lot of sudden moisture after the soil has dried out.

green tomatoes

Posted: 18/09/2013 at 20:03

I think the ethylene gas needs to be pretty concentrated, bigolob. And it only really changes the skin colour, it doesn't actually bring the tomato itself to maturity.

green tomatoes

Posted: 18/09/2013 at 11:38

Stacey, I've tried the banana trick on toms, out of interest, and found no appreciable difference in ripening times inside. Either way, bananas or not, they will ripen inside if you put them somewhere warm enough.

green tomatoes

Posted: 18/09/2013 at 07:46

bigolob, daytime temps usually stay in the 20s well into October, but the nighttime temps start to get down to the low teens by mid-October. Still viable for ripening toms while it's in the 20s during the day, though.

Bananas produce ethylene gas which is a ripening agent. A lot of fruit and veg produce it, too, including toms, though in a lesser quantity. Commercially-grown toms are harvested green and gassed with ethylene to "ripen" them. It turns them red, giving them the outer sign of maturity, though they're not actually mature inside. That's why supermarket toms can be so pale and hard inside. Only the skin has been ripened.

problem parsnips

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 17:35

Lesley, sounds like they've forked. Either they've hit something hard in the soil or the soil had been over-fertilised.

I'm with Emma on the stubby, bent parsnips. There might well be carrot fly damage but the description also sounds like a soil problem could be involved.

Tomato’s haven’t started to ripen yet – Anything I can do?

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 06:56

No probs, Guy. The one wee problem it creates is when trying to slice them horizontally from the bottom end. You end up with segments rather than a whole slice until you get past the affected area.

Tomato’s haven’t started to ripen yet – Anything I can do?

Posted: 14/09/2013 at 16:28

Best idea if the temps are dropping outside, tattianna. They're not quite as nice as naturally ripened, but a ripe tom is a ripe tom!

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