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Latest posts by Italophile

Chilli peppers!!!

Posted: 06/07/2013 at 09:56

lee, is it developing a bushy structure or growing straight up? I suspect the latter. In which case it is probably going to grow to 4 feet or more. It needs a bigger pot - as the roots growing out the bottom indicate. What size is the current pot?

Once a week is too much fertiliser. It could explain the flowers dropping. Cut it back to once a month. Chillies - and tomatoes - thrive on "controlled neglect".

flowers failing to open

Posted: 06/07/2013 at 09:24

scent of flowers, having them in a polytunel can make it difficult for insect life to get in and pollinate the female flowers. Try following Zoomer's advice and pollinate by hand. It's very easy. Just brush the male flower's stamen lightly across the female flower's stigma. Don't be too vigorous, you don't want to damage the stigma.

my herbs

Posted: 06/07/2013 at 09:17

Agree with all of the above. Rocket, especially, needs plenty of water in warm weather to prevent too much bitterness in the leaves.

Unless the salad leaves have gone seriously to seed there should still be plenty to pick and eat.

Talkback: How to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 21:27

Pinching out side shoots applies to indeterminate varieties - aka cordon varieties, varieties that aren't bush varieties - in general. The type of fruit - cherry, beefsteak, whatever - doesn't matter. GD is an indeterminate variety so it's best to pinch out the side shoots.

Pinching out - or not pinching out - side shoots has no impact on the size of the fruit you get. Size is determined by genetics and, to an extent, growing conditions. The reason you pinch out side shoots is to control the size of the plant and the number of growing tips. Most side shoots will develop into a growing tip. The rule of thumb is that indeterminate toms do best with two growing tips.

sam marzano toms -bush or tall ?

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 12:02

They mainly are, Welshonion. The original heirloom and subsequent hybrids are. I have seen hybrid SMs being sold as semi-indeterminates growing to about 4 feet. Someone has obviously been doing some cross-breeding.

sam marzano toms -bush or tall ?

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 11:48

They're no harder to grow than any other tom. They just have a genetic predisposition to BER, that's all. And not just San Marzanos but most plum-shaped varieties. One day science will tell us why.

Blossom End Rot is a physiological condition related to the plant's inability to distribute calcium to the fruit via its internal system. There can be plenty of calcium available to the plants' roots, the internal system just can't distribute it.

It starts out as a pale, leathery blemish on the bottom end of the fruit and gradually darkens into a sunken patch.

There's no saving the fruit by cutting out the affected area unfortunately. It goes on the compost heap. It's not a fungal problem so it won't infect the compost heap.

Chilli peppers!!!

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 11:20

Is it getting enough sunlight? And how often are you watering and fertilising? Too much water and fertiliser can cause the flowers to drop.

At the same time, flowers will also drop if they haven't been pollinated. Outdoors, insect activity can help the pollination process. Not that chillies need cross pollination, they're self-pollinating, but the insects foraging in the flowers can stimulate the flowers' internal mechanisms.

Inside, you can emulate that activity by either brushing the flowers with your hand or giving them a gentle flick with your fingers.


Posted: 04/07/2013 at 11:15

If the mature was nitrogen-rich it would produce your problem, but if the manure was aged and matured it shouldn't have had too much nitrogen.

sam marzano toms -bush or tall ?

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 11:12

San Marzano are usually indeterminates rather than a bush variety. They're the classic Italian plum-shaped tom that you get in good quality imported tinned toms. They're better for sauces than, say, salads because of the high ratio of flesh to juice.

Yes, nip off the little sucker growths from around the base of the plant. And it's a good idea to keep a gap of around at least a foot between the soil and the lowest foliage. Fungal spores can and will fall from the foliage to the soil and can be splashed back up again when watering. The gap helps guard against this.

SM, like a lot of plum varieties, are prone to Blossom End Rot. I've had it on SM plants planted immediately beside other varieties that haven't been affected. BER is associated with plant stress, but, for some reason, plum varieties are also genetically prone to it. No one knows why.

Less is better with both water and fertiliser with toms. Certainly don't feed them before the first fruit appears.

These are some of my toms in the ground after 12 weeks. I planted them with a handful of pelleted chook poo and they haven't had any fertiliser since. The temps here are in the low-30s and I water them once a week but very deeply. They're loaded with fruit.

 As I say, for toms, less is better with food and water.

Tomato lost its head

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 10:42

Panoply, it's good advice from figrat. It will develop a new growing tip from a side shoot in no time at all.

Your toms don't food of any kind until the first fruit sets. Let them get there under their own steam. Less is always better in terms of feeding toms.

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