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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 06/08/2013 at 06:45

You'd need to be careful digging it up. Lavender is notorious for not liking its roots disturbed.

san marzano toms

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 15:27

mias, the fruit in the photos is already changing colour on the way to maturity. The closer they get to maturity, the less they rely on the plant for nutrition, etc. The colour change is down to the fruit itself, an internal chemical process, unrelated to the plant. In short, anything you do to the plant now is going to have little impact on the ripening fruit.


Russian toms

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 15:18

Stacey, there's a lot of confusion with the naming of some of the "black" varieties. There's a Russian Black, a smaller variety, though bigger than a cherry; and Black Russian, a beefsteak size. You can see how easily they could be confused. You've got Black Russian.

Apart from the obvious size difference I mention above, there are many "black" varieties that look and taste much the same but travel under different names. They either have "Black" or "Crimea" (or versions of "Crimea", like "Krim") in their name. Tomato experts tend to think that a number of these almost identical varieties are probably one variety that has been renamed and distributed over the years.

Bamboo Problem

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 15:10

Yep, digging and glyphosate. Cut back, expose the mother plant's roots, dig out as much as you can. It will be hard work. Scrape or cut remaining roots to expose bare wood and paint on glyphosate rather than spray it.

Make sure you stick to the recommended dosage. There's always a temptation to strengthen the mixture on the basis that it will work better. It won't. It will only kill that localised area and not work through the plant's system. You will probably need several glyphosate treatments.

Apart from dealing with the mother plant, you have to deal individually with any outcrops which will have rooted themselves separately from the mother plant.


Posted: 05/08/2013 at 14:53

I like the Italian method. Cut just below the flowers after flowering is over. Leave the plant to overwinter. In spring, just as the plant is coming back to life, cut again down to the first sign of new growth, taking all last year's growth. This prevents floppy, woody plants. Once they get floppy and woody it's hard to resurrect them.

Don't ever cut into old wood.

Blossom End Rot (Toms)

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 07:11

Andrew, BER is the result of plant stress impacting on the plant's ability to distribute calcium to the fruit. It's not necessarily related to watering but it can be. Excessive, prolonged warmth can cause it. Anything that stresses the plant.

I've had BER turn up on a couple of my toms. The temps here are constantly in the high-30sC with not much overnight relief. My BER is heat stress related.

Russian toms

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 07:07

SD, I've tried them. Not my favourites, I have to say. I find the taste a little harsh. The "black" varieties, all mainly from the Crimea region originally, tend to polarise people. They have their fans and their haters. There's usually no half way.


Posted: 04/08/2013 at 15:33

You can freeze them though they can tend to be mushy when thawed. If you want to freeze them, cut them into pieces about an inch long, blanch for about a minute, plunge into icy water to stop them cooking. Dry them thoroughly, put them into freezer bags, suck out as much air as you can from inside the bags, seal the bags and put into the freezer.

I think they're best frozen by turning them into a soup and freezing the soup

Cutting back a cherry tree

Posted: 04/08/2013 at 11:02

Yup. Definitely. Always prune straight after fruiting. Cut out any weak or dodgy branches, branches that are crossing another one, and branches that are growing inwards towards the centre of the tree. Trim for height, too.

san marzano toms

Posted: 04/08/2013 at 10:57

Give them time, mits, they will ripen. Ripening is down to temperature rather than direct sunlight. Optimum temps for ripening are anything above low-20sC. The ones in the photos have already started to change colour so they're on the way.

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