Latest posts by Italophile

Femspot Cucumbers

Posted: 10/07/2013 at 09:00

Janice, I've never grown that variety so I don't know its traits. You can get genetic glitches from time to time in any plant. Wait and see what develops. If you get two cukes, and the plant is supporting them both, you've doubled your production. If one is compromising the other, you might need to sacrifice one.

Leaf changes

Posted: 10/07/2013 at 08:54

Lindsay, I'd suggest that you're both overwatering and overfeeding the toms, especially if they're in large pots. It's preferable to water as required rather than by rote. Let the mix dry out between waterings. They also shouldn't need fertilising more than once a month. Toms perform at their best when left to struggle a little. It's a fine line, obviously, but "controlled neglect" is the way to go.

jasmine not flowering

Posted: 08/07/2013 at 12:13

They can take a while to get going, Michele, but three years is stretching things. How big is the pot? What is the feeding and watering regime?

Chilli peppers!!!

Posted: 08/07/2013 at 10:29

min, chillies can take a while to germinate, longer than tomatoes. Give them as much sunlight and warmth as you can.

In the meantime, here's a photo of what you can expect:


Tomatoe plant leaves

Posted: 07/07/2013 at 13:09
Jazzy2 wrote (see)


do I remove any leaves to allow more light to speed up ripening or do I just leave all the leaves on the plant, there appears to be too much foliage which restricts the light.





To answer your first question, it's temperature that ripens toms, not light. It's why toms will ripen inside on the kitchen bench. Optimum temps for ripening are from the low-20s upwards.

You can remove side shoots, and it's a good idea to keep a gap of 12-18" between the soil and the lowest foliage purely for housekeeping purposes. Fungal spores can and will fall from the foliage to the soil beneath and can be splashed back up again during watering. The gap helps against that.

For the same housekeeping reasons, it's also a good idea to avoid clumps of impenetrable foliage. Air circulation is a big help against fungal problems and impenetrable clumps hinder air circulation. You have to be judicious, though. The plant needs foliage for photosynthesis to keep growing and developing.

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.

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