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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 17/09/2015 at 07:07

Stored properly - sealed, dry environment, moderate temperature - tom seeds will remain viable for 10 years and more. I'm still using seeds I saved in 1995. 

The best reason to ferment tomato seeds during the seed-saving process is that it removes the green/yellow gel around the seed, a natural germination inhibitor. It stops the seed germinating inside the tom. Fermenting can also remove nasties.

Late blight tomatoes, remove what I can now?

Posted: 13/09/2015 at 09:06

Liz, if it's Late Blight, the spores live on in the soil. Or on top of the soil, anyway. That's where the spores finish up after dropping from the foliage. Freezing doesn't kill them. You can turn over the soil, burying the top soil (and the spores) deeply. The spores can't do any further damage from underground. The risk they can pose, lying on the surface, is being splashed up onto foliage next season when watering.

Whether it's Late Blight is another matter. But the above applies to most fungal spores anyway.

terracotta pots

Posted: 10/09/2015 at 15:19

You can get terra cotta pots that are - so to speak - resistant to freezing. We use them here. Cost a bit more but worth it.

Olive tree

Posted: 10/09/2015 at 13:02

Spring is usually best. Don't over-pot it - ie, don't repot into a container a lot larger than before. 

terracotta pots

Posted: 10/09/2015 at 12:52

The advantage with terra cotta is that, unlike plastic, it "breathes" which both helps keep soil (and roots) healthy and works against waterlogging. I wouldn't be doing anything to undermine that. If it means a bit more water, I water a bit more. 

Late blight tomatoes, remove what I can now?

Posted: 09/09/2015 at 13:29

If it's Late Blight, it will finish up wiping out the fruit too. Can't tell from the photo whether it's LB or not, but, to be on the safe side, I'd take off all the fruit. The fruit in the photo is well on its way to maturity anyway.

pear tree

Posted: 07/09/2015 at 08:55

You too!  

pear tree

Posted: 07/09/2015 at 07:45

Agree. Some are self-pollinating, many are not. Even self-pollinators do better with another one around to help out.

Shoots from bay tree roots

Posted: 05/09/2015 at 08:48

Bays are just about indestructible in my experience, particularly mature ones. I've dug 'em up, used glysophate on root systems, everything. They keep coming back.

Something is eating my tomatoes!

Posted: 05/09/2015 at 08:42

Sounds like caterpillars. Bob's right, they're nocturnal. Go out at night with a torch and examine all over the plant, especially underneath the leaves. Pick them off and squish 'em. An excellent organic spray against caterpillars and their ilk is DiPel, derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally-occurring soil bacteria. You just have to remember to spray both sides of the leaves.

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