Latest posts by Italophile

Conference pears

Posted: 25/09/2013 at 07:23

Mmmm. The software just ate my reply. I'll try again.

Pears are a tricky one to get right in terms of maturity because the activity is taking place inside the fruit, out of sight. It might take some trial and error. Room temperature inside counts as ideal conditions and the time they take inside really depends on how mature they are.

As above, if there's a wee bit of "give" in the flesh around the stem, it's already happily edible. Another test is how easily it comes off the tree. If it slips off the tree very easily, it's also pretty ready. A couple of days inside at that stage of advancement would see them close to perfect.

I grow Coscia, a Sicilian variety that's much earlier than Conference. I've already harvested mine. As far as I know, September is about your harvest time. If you've got plenty on the tree, you might as well start experimenting.

Conference pears

Posted: 25/09/2013 at 07:07

Timing is hard to say, it depends how mature they are when harvested. Room temperature indoors is all you need.

I grow Coscia, a Sicilian variety that are earlier than Conference, but Conference should be coming into harvest season around now.


Conference pears

Posted: 24/09/2013 at 12:15

Pears ripen from inside to outside, Moonshoe. By the time they're softening on the outside, they're overripe inside. Give the flesh around the stem a gentle prod. If the flesh "gives" ever so slightly, it's time to harvest.

Pears ripen off the tree. Take them inside and keep an eye on them. As per above, the softer the skin gets, the more chance they'll be overripe inside.

Tomato plant is this late blight ?

Posted: 24/09/2013 at 12:06

In my experience with LB it's likely that the toms, though looking healthy, could already be infected. Take them off the plant anyway but don't be suprised if they succumb.


Posted: 24/09/2013 at 08:10

I tried overwintering a few years ago when I was growing celeriac. (I gave up simply because it gets too hot here in summer for it) They survived the winter with plenty of protection from the cold but bolted pretty quickly as soon some warmth arrived.


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.

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