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Latest posts by Italophile

outdoor tomato planting

Posted: 14/05/2013 at 10:02

Verdun, spring has taken its time here but it seems to have settled in. Daytime temps are 20-25C, overnight still gets down to 10C, but it's warm enough during the day for it not to impact too much on their development.

Bf, toms only really need two transplants - from where they germinate into little pots, then to their final destinations. The main benefit of transplanting is to give the root systems a wee shock. It stimulates them. I'd keep them in their small pots. Being a bit pot-bound doesn't hurt them in the slightest. In fact it probably does them more good than any root stimulation an extra transplant would achieve.

outdoor tomato planting

Posted: 14/05/2013 at 07:25

I planted out the first of my lot nearly four weeks ago. Great daytime temps, overnight is still fluctuating.

Anna Russian:

Brandywine OTV (with its Potato Leaves):

Camp Joy (the cherry):

A couple of days ago I planted out a Doctor Neal - a large red beefsteak - in the back right corner, with 3 sweet chillies and two hot chillies:

And here's evidence that toms will live happily in small containers till they're ready to be planted out. I started these for a friend down in Umbria, they'll be planted out towards the end of this week:


outdoor tomato planting

Posted: 14/05/2013 at 06:34
Bf206 wrote (see)

thanks bob, yeah think I will just hold on a bit longer. there are signs (famous last words!) of warmer weather from next week  i just want to make sure they're not 'held bck' by being in small pots but guess so long as watered enough should be ok? until mrs bf really has enough of plants taking over the house  

Bf, keeping them in smaller pots won't hold them back in the slightest. Toms are perfectly happy with their roots a bit restricted early on.

Nah, Dove, I think he's doing a tortiose-crawl through France and nothern Italy on the way home. Which ones did you end up starting? 

outdoor tomato planting

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 20:03

Cripes, Dove, they get better care than the OH.

Leggy mint - help!

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 14:35

Mizzli, those instructions are just irresponsible.

Dove and Lizzie are right, usually you can't kill mint with an axe. In the ground, it can be an invasive pest.

Leggy mint - help!

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 10:24

Blueboots, the supermarket herbs are hot-house grown and forced as well as over-sown. They will live on if you repot them early and treat with some TLC till they establish themselves.

Leggy mint - help!

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 10:03

Lizzie, I don't know what variety they are but even the size of the leaves seems to indicate they're not determinates (bush variety). Imagine the plant(s) standing upright rather than flopped over and you'll get a better idea of their size.

It sounds like Mizzli has been seriously led astray with some of those instructions that came with the packages.

Temp of greenhouse

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 07:55

That's on the hot side for seedlings, flowergirl. Leave it open on sunny days. You might even find you need to move things outside. Even ventilated the plastic traps and intensifies the heat.

Leggy mint - help!

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 07:05

Mizzli, separate the tomato plants into different pots. I found a way to magnify the photo so I've had a closer look at them now. They're definitely going to outgrow that greenhouse so they will have to end up outside.

If the instructions told you to plant all the tomato seeds in one pot they're insane.

They're floppy and the stems are weak (and pale-looking from what I can see) for two reasons: the plants' roots competing with each other for space and nutrients in the one pot, and probably a lack of light earlier in their lives.

Here's what I'd do. For however many tom plants there are, buy pots of at least 30cm diameter. Fill them with top quality potting mix. Take the plants out of the current pot and separate the roots. You don't have to do it surgically, just try not to break too many of them.

Then use a pair of scissors to remove all the branches and foliage from the bottom to at least two-thirds of the way up the plants. Nip them off close to the stem. Effectively leave only the canopy at the top.

We don't know the variety but they sure as heck look like an indeterminate to me, meaning they could grow to 5' or more. Get some tomato stakes from your garden centre and, one per pot, push them down into the mix in the new pots until you hit the bottom.

Create deep holes in the mix adjacent to the stakes and bury the plants as deeply as you can. The canopies should be virtually sitting on top of the mix. All of the stem that is buried in the mix will turn into root structure. Pack the mix down very well around the plants and the stakes. And water.

Leave them outside during the day in a place where they will get as much sun as possible. This is the most important thing. Even if it means moving the pots around a bit during the day to maximise the sun exposure.

They're not going to fit back into the greenhouse and you can't take them back inside at night. If the overnight temps stay around 7-10C, get some garden fleece from your garden centre and double-wrap the plants in late-afternoon or early evening as the temp starts to drop. Once the overnight temps get into comfortable double figures you can do away with the fleece.

Don't overwater them. Permanently wet roots will damage a tomato plant. Let the mix dry out to a large extent before watering again. And don't overfertilise them. A feed of commercial tomato fertiliser every 10 days or so will suffice.

Sorry about the long post! Let's know how you go.


Leggy mint - help!

Posted: 12/05/2013 at 18:34

The tom looks healthy. Is that one plant in the pot or more than one? And what's the variety? It looks like an indeterminate, one that will grow a lot taller than the greenhouse will allow.

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