Latest posts by Italophile


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.


Posted: 24/08/2013 at 07:51

There's a school of thought that you shouldn't grow spuds and toms together on the basis that they're the same family. The reality is that you can.

About the only downside might be doubling your chances of blight infections, but if the fungal spores are around and the conditions are sympathetic to the spores, you're going to get infections regardless.

Planting crops from the same family in the same soil in successive years can be another matter because of the risk of soil-borne diseases. I've done it, but only after refreshing the soil thoroughly.

Talkback: Tomato blight

Posted: 24/08/2013 at 06:35

peter, Dove's right. That's too much water, but it's not going to cause a fungal problem if what you actually have is a fungal problem. It's hard to identify the problem without seeing it. Can you post photos?


Posted: 23/08/2013 at 14:57

Granny, there's no point fertilising for fruit that has already developed. That's the fruit that will ripen for you if it stays warm long enough.

How many branches did you take off the Ailsa Craig?


Posted: 23/08/2013 at 06:12
Busy-Lizzie wrote (see)

Perhaps I haven't watered enough, but I've grown tomatoes for years. It has been hot this year in the late 20s and early 30s, need rain badly. I live in Dordogne, France.

Lizzie, it's been very high-30s for about a month now here in central Italy. If your plants are in the ground, all you can do is water very very deeply, driving the roots way underground where it's cooler and the moisture survives. I do mine about every three days.

Paula - Well done. Sounds like you lot had a decent summer for the first time in ages.


Posted: 23/08/2013 at 06:07
Fairygirl wrote (see)

That sounds like a nice 'poor man's' bruschetta Italophile! Do you pop a little basil on as well? 

No, just the sliced tomato and P&S. It captures all the flavour of the tomato with no other additions. I save basil for things like bruschetta where you're adding extra flavour - garlic, oil, etc.

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