Latest posts by Italophile

Blossom End Rot (Toms)

Posted: 06/08/2013 at 08:09

When you water isn't really a factor, Andrew, it's the watering pattern that's important. And too much can be as frustrating for the plant as too little.

Early morning is probably best because the soil is still cool, the water will penetrate, and any water you get on the leaves will dry out as the day warms up.

Growing toms shouldn't be stressful. In fact, I think people worry about their toms too much. They're very tough, resilient plants and arguably do their best when left to their own devices. Within reason, obviously.


Posted: 06/08/2013 at 07:57

All toms can be classified as either early-season, mid-season or late-season varieties in terms of the time they take from planting out to maturity. With a bit of crossover, obviously. For unheated greenhouses and shorter growing seasons it's best to stick with the early- or mid-season (at latest) varieties.

As a very very very general rule of thumb:

EARLY - up to 60 days from planting out to maturity. You will find some varieties, like Stupice, of Czech origin, that will ripen earlier. The downside is that they have almost no flavour.

MID - 60 to 75 days from planting out to maturity.

LATE - anything from 75 to 90 (or more) days from planting out to maturity. Most of the larger beefsteak varieties fall into this category.

A bit of Googling will usually reveal a variety's category.

san marzano toms

Posted: 06/08/2013 at 06:55

A feed every couple of weeks is enough for toms in containers at the best of times. You can feed on if you want to, mias, but the reality is that the amount of usable fruit you'll get is dictated by your growing season.

I don't know when your viable growing season ends but fruit that isn't already very well developed - getting somewhere close to changing colour - probably won't make the cut this year. Feeding that fruit is a waste of time and money. And fruit that is already changing colour doesn't need the food anyway.


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.

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