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Latest posts by Italophile


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.


Posted: 29/07/2013 at 06:51

Toms in pots do require more water overall than toms in the ground, Fairygirl. Toms in the ground can send their roots in search of moisture. Toms in pots have no such luxury, their roots are trapped inside the pot.

If it's getting so hot inside the greenhouse it's an idea to put the plants outside during the day if you can. Extreme heat does the plants no good at all, regardless of how much water you pour on them.


when do i pick cucumbers

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 15:34

Marketmores aren't a small variety, Girlyfox. How big is the fruit now? Colour and feel are the usual cuke tests. They darken in colour as they mature and should feel nice and firm. Best picked earlier than later, though.


Posted: 28/07/2013 at 14:17

Girlyfox, you're overwatering and overfertilising. Don't water by rote, water when the plants need it - which is to say, when the mix dries out. Toms shouldn't sit in permanently damp mix. They shouldn't need fertilising more than once every three or so weeks.

Toms will produce at their optimum if they're made to struggle a little bit. Toms, like most plants, exist to do one thing - reproduce themselves. Producing fruit is the tom's method of reproducing itself. And plants are most likely to feel the need to reproduce if they feel a bit threatened. A tom plant full of moisture and fertiliser doesn't feel in the slightest bit threatened. Just fat, bloated and comfortable.

Your hanging baskets plants are still very young. Whether they produce fruit before the end of the season depends on the variety. Some varieties produce earlier than others. If it's sunny and warm where they are, leave them where they are.

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