Latest posts by Italophile

Parsnips in France

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 07:16

Parsnips are unknown here in Italy. Strange, because in Roman times they were immensely popular. For some reason, they disappeared from the diet. There's a word for parsnip in Italian - pastinaca - but none of the locals have heard of it. I showed a neighbour the photo on a seed packet. She had never seen or heard of it. I gather they are grown in the north, around Parma, to feed to the pigs. I have to import seeds from the UK.

I plant in April-May, keep well watered during the hot summers, and don't start to harvest before December, by which time the frosts have added some lovely sweetness.

Jerusalem artichokes

Posted: 22/10/2015 at 10:33

Which should be outlawed too in terms of what they end up producing.

Jerusalem artichokes

Posted: 22/10/2015 at 10:21

I knew there was another reason why I don't like them. They produce children.

Jerusalem artichokes

Posted: 22/10/2015 at 10:18

Just to stress the need to harvest all tubers. Each tuber unharvested will likely develop into a new plant, and each plant can go on to produce dozens of tubers. You can end up with hundreds of the dang things.

Jerusalem artichokes

Posted: 22/10/2015 at 09:10

Mine get to about 10'. I stake them and tie them up very securely. They're the easiest things to grow but you need to be careful they don't take over. Unharvested tubers mean more plants next season. Dig up all the tubers and replant only as many as you need to.

Tomato Seeds from this years fruit

Posted: 01/10/2015 at 16:15

Good stuff, RAS, that's pretty much my procedure. I keep the fermenting seeds out of direct sunlight, just a warm place will do. Some people stir, some people don't. I've witnessed some healthy debate over the stirring question. I don't stir. The best tip is the coffee filter paper. It's the best surface in terms of the seeds not sticking while drying. Some will, a bit, but they're easily removed. The worst materials to use are tissue paper, kitchen paper, and even paper plates. They stick like glue.

Tomato Seeds from this years fruit

Posted: 29/09/2015 at 09:44

Botrytis would be a problem, for sure, but it's pretty unusual in a home garden. I wouldn't mind seeing a photo of one of the problem toms.

Tomato Seeds from this years fruit

Posted: 29/09/2015 at 08:51

As Hostafan says, it depends whether the original toms are hybrid varieties or not. Seeds from hybrids won't produce true to type. What are the varieties, GG?

You don't need a perfect specimen in order to save seeds but the fruit should be basically healthy. Again, it depends on what's wrong with the fruit. Things like Blossom End Rot don't impact on the seeds inside, nor do the common fungal problems. Viruses can be transmitted via seeds. One of the reasons for fermenting seeds during the seed-saving process is to kill off various possible nasties.

Pumpkin flowers

Posted: 25/09/2015 at 08:15

Pumpkins, depending on variety, need about 3 months. Any fruit setting now has zero chance of ripening.


Posted: 25/09/2015 at 08:13

Let the ferns "die off" - turn brown - before you cut them back. It usually takes some properly cold weather to turn them brown. Cut them down to a couple of inches, remove every weed you can find, mulch well with organic material. I also incorporate some chook-poo pellets or similar.


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