Latest posts by Italophile

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.

Strange branches on tomato plant

Posted: 02/07/2013 at 20:19

bigolob, there is a lot of mixing up of names with Black Russian toms. There's also a Russian Black. Seeds and plants for one are often distributed as the other. How big was the fruit on your BR?

All of the "black" varieties - and there are many of them - tend to polarise people. Some  love them, a lot hate them. I think they're an acquired taste. There are plenty of other toms I'd grow in front of them.

Strange branches on tomato plant

Posted: 01/07/2013 at 19:49

nin, any chance of a photo? I can't quite follow what you're seeing.


Posted: 01/07/2013 at 11:16

The time to full maturity depends on the variety. Earlier varieties - like Amsterdam Forcing, which I grow - are ready inside three months.

You also don't have to wait till carrots are fully mature. Harvesting them earlier will give you delicious young carrots.

Yellowing courgettes

Posted: 01/07/2013 at 08:02

That two are fine and two have yellow leaves suggests there's nothing particularly wrong with the soil. Try giving them a feed with a tomato fertiliser. It will provide enough nitrogen to lift the foliage without giving them too much which would lead to foliage growth in lieu of fruit.


Posted: 30/06/2013 at 16:04

nikki, how close together are they? Overcrowding can end up with your result. It could also be a fertiliser problem. Have you fertilised them? Particularly with nitrogen? Or was there fresh nitrogen in the soil? Either can also end up with your result.

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