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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:05

It needs to be a naturally large variety - eg, Atlantic Giant - in order to produce a huge pumpkin by restricting the number of pumpkins on the vine. Otherwise, removing pumpkins from the vine only reduces your crop.

Pumpkins that don't develop in size and drop off are the result of the female flowers not being pollinated, either properly or at all.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 17:07

You could easily take out those overgrown suckers without any problems, Briggsy.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 15:48

David, a couple of things. If they're in a greenhouse, you probably need to give them a hand with pollination. Toms are self-pollinating but the pollination process is helped along outdoors by insects and even the breeze. Any movement of the flowers can help trigger the internal mechanics that bring about pollination. Indoors, you can help out by giving the flowers a gentle flick with your fingers.

I think you're also overfeeding them. Toms aren't big feeders and will produce better if left more to their own devices. Toms exist to reproduce themselves - by producing fruit - and they're more likely to feel the need to reproduce if they feel a bit threatened. Cut back on the watering and stop feeding them. See what happens.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 14:12

DJ, it's my dear departed and much missed Old English Sheepdog, Dermott, eating. Here it is in full size:

He'd just had a haircut. Apart from his head.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 09:45

Keeping the bed weed-free is the key I've found. Weeds compete with the roots for nutrition. I also give the older plants a good feed of balanced fertiliser in spring and again in late autumn with a decent top dressing of compost after I've cut back the ferns.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 09:36

Could be a fungus, might be something like mealy bug which create a white cotton wool-like substance. Any chance of a photo?


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 09:31

Late spring's best for pruning a tree. If you're looking to remove a substantial amount, best to do it over a couple of seasons. They grow like weeds here and are just about impossible to destroy when very young. Later, though, with some size, they don't react well to heavy pruning in one hit.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 09:22

Granny, by side shoots do you mean branches? Or the suckers that grow at the intersections of the main stem and branches?

This is a sucker growing at a branch intersection:



Posted: 24/08/2013 at 11:39

Caterpillars. Bug Clear is a contact spray. You'd have to hit the pests to kill them. It has no residual effects.

You've got two options. Either check for them, best at night with a torch, looking on both sides of the leaves and around the stems, or spray with something like DiPel. DiPel - that's only one of the brand names - is an organic spray with Bacillus thuringiensis, bacteria derived from soil, as its active ingredient. It's harmless to everything except caterpillars and has residual properties, meaning it remains active after spraying. You need to spray both sides of the leaves.

It's also the best anti-caterpillar spray for tomatoes.


Posted: 24/08/2013 at 07:56
PeterE17 wrote (see)

Someone please tell me ... don't squashes, marrows and pumpkins hybridize like crazy if they are grown too close together?

Could this unknown fellow be utterly unique?

They can cross-pollinate but the resultant hybrid fruit will only manifest in the next generation. That is, if you save seed from the cross-pollinated fruit and sow it next year. In the season that it's grown, cross-pollinated fruit will be exactly what you planted.

I've had problems for a couple of seasons with crossed melon seeds from bought packets of seeds. The seed company, or their supplier, has been less than thorough in their safeguards.

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