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Latest posts by Italophile

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 01/08/2013 at 16:30

My butternuts did something very unusual this year. Produced female flowers first. Never seen it before. Probably never see it again.


Posted: 01/08/2013 at 07:45

Andrew, it's worth looking at why the extensive foliage. Are you feeding the plants? If you are, and with a nitrogen-rich fertiliser, you'd be encouraging leaf growth at the expense of fruit.

Tomato leaf spots

Posted: 01/08/2013 at 07:36

It doesn't look fungal, Mike. Even if it were, with only 6 weeks left, it's not worth worrying about. With 6 weeks left, any toms that are going to ripen for you will be far enough advanced not to be compromised.


Posted: 31/07/2013 at 14:00

Daisy, curling leaves are very very common on toms. Usually nothing to worry about. What are your temps like? And how often are you watering?

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 31/07/2013 at 13:58

nickharr, male flowers always appear before the females. You just have to be patient. And, given that they're in a polytunnel, it's likely you mightn't get the amount of insect life you'll need for pollination. You could need to hand pollinate to guarantee fruit.

Tomato leaf spots

Posted: 31/07/2013 at 13:55

Yes, try again, Mike. If the spots have a "bullseye" centre to them, it's likely to be a fungal problem. But we'll have to wait to see the photo.

Butternut squash

Posted: 31/07/2013 at 13:52

You can nip off the growing tips when the vines start to escape their space. It should encourage more side shoots, which, some pumpkin lore says, will encourage more female flowers. There's a lot of pumpkin lore about ways to produce more female flowers, usually the pumpkin grower's biggest problem.

The female flowers open in the morning, often early. That's the best time to check them. They rarely stay open all day. You can hand pollinate if you like but it means getting up early.


Posted: 29/07/2013 at 14:09

Nitrogen promotes leaf growth, JTL, that's all. Toms need a minimum of nitrogen. That's why I'd favour the comfrey. Nettles would be a treat for the leafy veg.


Posted: 29/07/2013 at 12:04

JTL, comfrey is loaded with potassium, good for fruit production. I'd watch the nettle ratio, though. Nettles are stacked with nitrogen.

Tomato plants in greenhouse

Posted: 29/07/2013 at 11:59

bigolob, there is always new research popping up on these sorts of things.

The science is that the plant needs foliage for photosynthesis in order to develop, but the foliage also serves another purpose, particularly in hot, sunny climates. It protects the fruit from exposure to hot, direct sun that can result in sunburn (sun scald), nasty leathery patches on the fruit.

If your climate isn't likely to bring about sunburn, trim away. Here, where the plants are currently baking in close to 40C all day, I actually tuck exposed fruit behind foliage.

What's more, as I posted somewhere here t'other day, the closer the fruit gets to maturity, the less it draws from the plant. By the time it's changing colour, the fruit is drawing next to nothing from the plant.

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