Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 10/09/2013 at 10:00

A feed with a tomato or rose fertiliser does the trick with my jasmine. Low nitrogen is the key. Too much nitrogen and you get tons of foliage at the expense of flowers.

Hot Peppers

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 09:21

Technically they're perennials but they're best grown as annuals unless you're in at least sub-tropical conditions. They need sufficient light as much as warmth. And, to be honest, even if you nurse them through, the output in the second season never matches their first season in terms of either numbers or quality.

Green manure

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 13:04

I can't remember where I got the seed, Swedboy. I thought it was T&M but they don't seem to carry them. Perhaps they don't anymore. Seeds are like small sweet pea seeds. Grew well, and good weed-suppressant qualities too.

Green manure

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 10:54

I grew one of the Vetches a couple of years ago. Worked well for me.

Potato blight soil

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 08:25

For starters, it depends what sort of blight it was. "Blight" has become a generic term for all sorts of fungal problems. The most common fungal problem, though, is Early Blight.

Early Blight infections arrive through the air. The spores are invisible to the naked eye and everywhere. They can land on the soil or drop from the foliage to the soil and will live on. But they don't poison the soil in any way.

The only way they can re-impact on a plant is for them somehow to be brought back in contact with the plant's foliage. Turn over the surface soil, burying any spores that might remain on the surface, and they're out of harm's way.


Posted: 07/09/2013 at 06:30

Yep. Looks like the rootstock has contributed something. Truly weird!


Posted: 07/09/2013 at 06:26

Congrats, mias, they're wonderful San Marzanos. Best sauce tomato you can get. They're the ones in the top quality imported Italian tinned toms. You struck it lucky avoiding any BER at all!

Growing toms in the ground - indoors or outdoors - is pretty simple. Don't overload the soil with nutrients, toms aren't big feeders. Good healthy soil will do the job.

I grow mine outdoors in the same bed every year. I just refresh the soil by digging in some top quality potting mix, some home compost, and a couple of handfuls of pelleted chook poo. That's it. The pH should be slightly on the acid side.

The big advantage of growing in the ground - even in a greenhouse - is that the roots have the room to go in search of moisture. Infrequent, very deep watering will encourage the roots down deep where, in hot weather, the soil is cooler. So it's a good idea to dig the soil down to 18" or more during preparation.

Here, where the temps sit in the high 30s and low 40s, I don't water more often than about every three days, but I water very very deeply. If your temps don't get that high, providing you water deeply, you shouldn't need to water more than once a week.

The plants will tell you when they need water. In hot weather, they will often droop during the day. That's no guide. Check them at night after the heat of the day has passed. If they've perked up again, they're fine. If they're still drooping, water deeply. Watering by need is far better than watering by rote.

Fertilise a couple of weeks after planting out, again when the first fruit sets, then a couple more times spaced out over the growing season. That's all they need.


Posted: 06/09/2013 at 17:04

Yes, it's the little Tree symbol in the options above the message box.


Posted: 06/09/2013 at 16:03

jo - I was wondering how you get on! Glad the toms worked for you. The Soldaki's a lovely tom, for sure.

Teresa - you're right, cukes and squash don't cross-pollinate. The interloper might only look like a squash. Those "celebrity-named" varieties are always hybrids. It could be just a gene pool glitch. Any chance of a photo?

Tomato pest

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 14:37

Caterpillars love tomatoes, Clarky, red or green. Unless you want to spray against them you just have to hunt them down, pick them off, and destroy them.

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