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Latest posts by Italophile

Minibell Tomatoes- Anyone grown them?

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 14:02

Cuttings with growing tips are always a good idea. They're a great head start, taking a month to six weeks off the usual time to maturity.

Tomato Plant

Posted: 03/06/2013 at 07:25

Lu, the temp in the greenhouse sounds fine. It's hard to know about the Moneymaker without seeing a photo.

In your earlier post you say the greenhouse is very small. How small? The varieties you have are all indeterminate varieties. They will grow to around 6' in height. And they will need to be staked in order to support the plants as they grow.

What size pots are they in?

Watering tomatoes

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 07:44
Ben 3 wrote (see)

Remeber that toms grow in hot and dry countries, i tend to soak them say every other day but feed on a regular basis.  Just watch for side shoots.

Toms had their origins in the warmth of mesoamerica growing wild. They were eventually domesticated but would never have been pampered. To this day they remain immensely tough, resilient plants just as they were eons ago. Amazingly so. They thrive on controlled neglect. It's worth a wee experiment to see what effect less water and fertiliser has.

Tomato Plant

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 07:33

Or give them a gentle flick with your fingers or a brush with the palm of your hand. Any sort of contact will give the flower's internal mechanics a wee jolt and help the pollination along.

Watering tomatoes

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 09:21
Nick Winn wrote (see)

Hi Italophile and Verdun,

Are you saying they should be given a really good soak not very often? How will I know when the roots have dried out?

thank you for your advice 

Nick, are you growing in containers or in the ground? In the ground, a good deep soaking infrequently is better than frequent light waterings. The deep soakings encourage the roots deeper into the soil. Mine are outdoors and I only water more than once a week - very deeply - when the temps get into the high-30sC consistently.

In containers, you're more at the mercy of the size of the container and what the container's made of. Smaller ones will dry out quicker than bigger ones in warm weather and terra cotta dries out quicker than plastic because terra cotta "breathes".

One test for moisture is to stick a finger down into the mix as deeply as you can. With the temps the UK seems to be getting at the moment, I'd bet it would take a while for the roots to dry out completely.

Watering tomatoes

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 08:22

The best advice in that link is to allow the mix to dry. Tom roots should never be permanently damp. There are very few plants that like their roots permanently damp and toms certainly aren't one of them. Tomatoes respond best to controlled neglect in terms of both watering and fertilising. Less is better.

Tomato Plant

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 08:15

As steephill says, Alicante would normally grow to at least 6'. It's an indeterminate (cordon) variety. Indeterminates aren't really suited to growing indoors on a window sill. Indeterminates continue to grow and produce fruit on the new growth during the season. Remove all the growing tips, the plant will stop growing and there will be no more fruit.

Lu, can you give us some more information? Varieties? How big/old/mature they are? Current temperatures? A photo would be a help too.


Posted: 30/05/2013 at 17:12

The common ones manifest as spots on the leaves that gradually enlarge. I've got a link on my HD somewhere to a good explanation with photos. I'll find it and post it.


Posted: 30/05/2013 at 16:37

windowgardener, covering them like that is all right on a short-term basis in case of, say, sudden cold snaps. It's not healthy in the longer term for the reason that bothers you. Trapped humid air is the enemy.


Posted: 30/05/2013 at 16:35

BB, not in the slightest. It was a fair point. Not everyone grows in an ideal world. I'm lucky that I've been able to for a long time, first in Oz, now in Italy. The drawback in Sydney was the stinking humidity, fungal heaven; here in Italy it's the uninterrupted fortnights of 40C+. It can fry the flowers on the plants. But I count my tomato blessings.

Spacing is only one of the anti-fungal measures, that's all. Part of the package.

Scrubbing out is always a good idea for a lot of reasons. I think it's your ventilation, though, and the breeze in particular, that helps you. But be vigilant, ever vigilant. As I'm sure you are.

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