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Latest posts by Italophile

Multiple Headed Sunflowers

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 15:09

I haven't had that many before but sunflowers will produce multiple blooms.


Posted: 29/08/2013 at 10:50

bigolob, I grow heirlooms from a seed collection I've accumulated over the years. The US is the home of heirloom tomatoes in terms of the number of enthusastic - some would say obsessive - growers. One fella I know there grows hundreds of plants a season, dozens of different varieties. Needless to say, he has lots of space.

I've had long-term contact with a number of them and they've very generously helped me out with seeds and advice. I've returned the compliment with seeds, too.

There are some I grow every season: Marianna's Peace, Soldaki, Camp Joy, Pink Gaetano, Cherokee Chocolate, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine OTV, Anna Russian, and Jaune Negib (purely to make sweet tomato pickles).

Others I grow every couple of seasons: Golden Queen, Dr Neal, Jaune Flammée, Kellogg's Breakfast, etc.

Marianna's Peace, Cherokee Purple and Soldaki are my favourites. Marianna's Peace, I think, rivals the famous Brandywine Sudduth, claimed to be the King (or Queen) of tomatoes. Soldaki, a Polish variety, isn't far behind it. Rich complex flavours, like a glass of fine red wine.

Cherokee Purple has an extraordinary, unique flavour. Rich, without the complexity of those above. Just a delicious tom. Its sister variety Cherokee Chocolate - CC arose as the result of a spontaneous mutuation of a colour gene in a CP fruit - isn't far behind it either.


Posted: 29/08/2013 at 08:04

The plum varieties - including San Marzano - are more prone to Blossom End Rot than other shapes. No one quite knows why. Something in their genes. The last time I grew San Marzano the plant was riddled with BER while other varieties, planted three feet away, in identical conditions, were BER-free.

bigolob, San Marzano are the classic sauce tomato. The better quality imported Italian tinned toms are San Marzano. Skin on the thick side, lots of flesh, not a lot of juice, not many seeds. They're not the ideal tom to grow as a straight eating tom.

Rosemary edible?

Posted: 28/08/2013 at 16:19

Rosemary is a Mediterranean native that grows wild in the hottest, roughest conditions. It needs nothing except plenty of sun and very well-drained soil. In a pot, it would need to be exceedingly well drained.


Posted: 27/08/2013 at 16:34

Linny, are there any female flowers? You need both male and female flowers. If you have both, you have a pollination problem. You could try hand pollinating.

Here's something I posted on another thread about hand pollinating squash. The same principles apply.


Posted: 27/08/2013 at 10:59

Colin, I was able to buy it in domestic quantities when I was in Sydney 10 years ago. It's sold in small cartons of sachets of powder. The good Sydney garden centres had it. Try asking at your nearest good garden centre. It's the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis that you need to specify.

You might also try the garden supplies section of Amazon.

Thuricide is another brand name.



Posted: 27/08/2013 at 06:13

Very kind, both of you. I think your first decent summer for a few years might have had a bit more to do with it.


Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:29

Sounds like a lack of pollination.

You can hand pollinate to overcome the problem. Here are the male and female flowers. Probably not of your variety but they're basically the same across the board.

Male on the left. Female on the right on the end of what looks like miniature fruit. It's actually an ovary that, when pollinated, will grow into a fruit.


Both flowers open in the morning and will often close again during the day. Once closed, they don't open again. The female flowers have to be pollinated while open so it can mean getting up early.

Remove a male flower from the vine, stem and all. Carefully remove the yellow petals to expose the stamen inside. It will be coated in pollen.

This is roughly what the female flower will look like inside. That's the stigma in the centre:


Brush the stamen against the stigma to transfer the pollen. Don't be too vigorous. Damage the stigma and odds are you won't get fruit.

It's a pretty simple process and good fun!



Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:12

Never had a wasp problem, Mikew.

All you can probably do is net them with something fine enough to keep the beggars out.

moving fruit trees

Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:09

When they're dormant is best, Eric. Late winter, early spring, or when the soil is diggable.

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