Latest posts by Italophile

Chillies again!

Posted: 04/09/2013 at 11:42

Some chilli varieties ripen to what looks like black, finty. Try one and see what it's like. The plant is from last season? Was it overwintered?

how to freez onions

Posted: 04/09/2013 at 11:38

Yes, you can freeze them but, thawed, they will be mushy because of their high water content. They won't fry to crispness, for example, but they're fine added during cooking.

Peel them, chop them. Then you have two options.

1. Spread them out on a tray on some baking paper, put the tray into the freezer till they're frozen, then transfer them, frozen, into freezer bags. Extract as much air from the bags as possible, tie them up tightly, label them and put them in the freezer. This method avoids ending up with one big lump of frozen onions.

2. Put the chopped onion straight into freezer bags, extract as much air as possible, tie them up tightly, etc, put them in the freezer. But they will freeze in one lump.

Hot Peppers

Posted: 04/09/2013 at 11:23

Japaholic, with those temps you might have some trouble with fruit setting, particularly if there is humidity too. Here in Central Italy I get temps into the 40s in summer and, if prolonged, the flowers just fry on the plant.

Not much to be done about it except, once you're more familiar with the weather patterns, plant to try to avoid the worst of the heat. Eg, plant out as early as possible to get in before the worst of the heat, and, if you get good warm autumns, think about planting some later to grow through the autumn.

That's what I used to do in Sydney with tomato varieties - like Brandywine Sudduth - that just wouldn't set fruit in hot, humid weather. Perfect for autumn, though.

Hot Peppers

Posted: 04/09/2013 at 06:33

Sounds like you're well set up, Japaholic. Chillies, like tomatoes, are self-pollinating but they can sometimes need a bit of assistance.

Outdoors, foraging insects poking around in the flowers can help trigger the internal mechanics that cause pollination. Bagged, the flowers won't get the insect help. You can achieve the same thing by giving the flower a light flick with your fingers. With my toms, I slip the bag off every couple of days, check for fruit, and give the flowers a flick if there isn't any.

Growing in poly tunnels can also inhibit insect access so the finger flick's a good idea, too.

If you're short on insect life, you can apply the finger flick across the entire crop. I inspect my toms every day and give 'em a flick for luck.

What sort of summer high temps do you get? Prolonged bouts of very hot weather can and will work against pollination.

Chilli problem

Posted: 03/09/2013 at 13:52

There are different Phostrogen products on the market but the all-purpose product's NPK is 14:10:27. The N stands for nitrogen and 14 is a very high figure. Chilli Focus's NPK is much more suitable.

Chilli problem

Posted: 03/09/2013 at 10:29

The necrotic area looks like it rings the fruit, a bit too extensive for scorching.

Chilli problem

Posted: 03/09/2013 at 10:11

Have you been fertilising? What with? Excessive nitrogen can produce that result.

Tumbling tomato blues

Posted: 03/09/2013 at 10:05

The leaves turned blue? Is it too late to post a photo?

Black Spot on Roses - New Gardener

Posted: 03/09/2013 at 10:03

There's not much you can do at this point in the season, Gemma. You certainly can't treat the problem. If you're going to spray against black spot it has to be on a preventive basis, very early in the season, before the fungal spores arrive on the leaves.

You might as well take off all the affected leaves and destroy them. Most importantly, collect any affected leaves already on the ground - from all the plants - and destroy them too. Bin them or burn them. A lot of black spot problems arise from diseased leaves left on the ground.

The plant should come back next spring. And, if you want to spray against the disease, do it early.

Hot Peppers

Posted: 03/09/2013 at 09:30

Stacey, if you've got insects around, and plants in close proximity, the odds of cross-pollination are high. The same applies to chillies and toms.

The only way to guarantee purity of heirloom (pure) seed is to "bag" the flowers prior to them opening. Same procedure with both chillies and toms.

You can make your own bags out of tulle or fine curtain netting with a sewn-in drawstring. My wife used to for me. These days I just cut the foot ends out of those short stocking things and use them. Just make sure the stocking is as light a colour as possible.

When a flower appears, but before it opens, slip the bag over the flower and tie it securely but not too tightly. Let the flower open first and it's vulnerable to insects. Here's a bag in place on a Cherokee Purple tomato plant that I'm using for saving seeds. In this case, I've bagged a cluster of flowers:


Just keep checking inside the bag to see whether fruit has set. As soon as the fruit has set you can remove the bag. There's no more possibility of cross-pollination. If fruit doesn't set for whatever reason, move the bag on to another flower. But don't move the bag between varieties for obvious reasons.

Make sure you identify the fruit that you know is pure. As the plant grows, the pure fruit will change position and it's too easy to forget which one you bagged. I tie something next to the pure fruit to identify it as pure.


One thing. Hotter varieties of chillies don't need any different treatment to mild or even sweet varieties. The heat is in the variety's genes.


Discussions started by Italophile

Italophile has not started any discussions