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Italophile


Latest posts by Italophile

best flavoured tomatoes

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 16:12

jo, Soldacki and Marianna's Peace are both pink beefsteaks, both Potato Leaf plants, so very similar to Pink Brandywine in many ways. Just less cranky and temperamental. If you can grow PB, you can grow either of these.

There's another one, too, called Brandywine OTV, which is an excellent tomato. It's a pure variety that came about after an accidental cross between a Pink Brandywine and an unknown yellow. A couple of US tom experts saved the seeds, grew them out over five years, and stabilised the variety. So it's a Son (or Daughter) of Pink Brandywine. It's a red beefsteak with orangey shoulders and another Potato Leaf plant.

Here's the only photo I have of a Soldacki. On the kitchen bench, sliced for action:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/11242.jpg?width=480&height=350&mode=max

Delicious meaty tomato with tons of flavour.

You can have seeds for all three if you like.

best flavoured tomatoes

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 14:42

Yes, the authentic Pink Brandywine is a temperamental beast. I don't find them more susceptible to disease but production can be low. They also won't set fruit in any sort of ongoing heat or humidity. I had to grow them as an autumn crop when I was back in Sydney.

Soldacki, a Polish variety, is a rival for PB in terms of taste, as is Marianna's Peace, originally from Bohemia, now the Czech Republic. Soldacki being the more reliable producer of these two but neither as temperamental as PB. PM me if you want seeds for either or both.

New site - bugs

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 10:55

Ha ha, indeed. They all turned up in the inbox today. Dozens and dozens in one hit. Hopefully it means the service has been fixed. Or, as last time, fixed for a day or so then on the blink again, with another avalanche of notifications further down the track.

nectarines

Posted: 27/08/2012 at 17:11

Ah well, enough reason to live here. They're big and fat and juicy. It runs down your chin. Sluuurrrrrrp.

nectarines

Posted: 27/08/2012 at 16:11

The shops are full of them!

New site - bugs

Posted: 27/08/2012 at 11:24

I'm dreading receiving the email backlog in one hit. There will be hundreds of the beggars.

Fig crop drop

Posted: 27/08/2012 at 09:31

Figs in containers are usually fairly easy given some basics.

(1) Keep the roots well contained. Mine, now five years old, grown from a cutting, spent its first couple of years in a 25cm pot. It's now had three years in a 40cm pot and produces happily every year. I might step it up one size next year.

(2) It needs a very sunny spot in summer with protection from strong winds if they're around. Water daily if need be in hot weather. With our temps constantly in the high-30sC this summer I've been watering twice daily.

(3) If you get cold winters, it needs protection. I wrap the container in a couple of layers or bubble wrap, the tree itself in a couple of layers of heavy-duty fleece, and park it against a protected wall under the pergola on the terrace. Otherwise, indoors with plenty of light - and protection if need be - will do the job. The key is to monitor the moisture levels over winter. Mine gets at least a couple of good drinks of lukewarm water over the winter period.

(4) They're not big feeders even in containers. I give mine a dose of balanced fertiliser in spring and that's it.

(5) Once they're established in their final container home, give them a root prune every couple of years in spring. The pruning sounds brutal but it's (a) necessary and (b) the tree thrives afterwards. Remove the tree from its container - which can be hard work in itself - and use a sharp handsaw to cut wedges from the root ball as you would slices from a pie. It can be hard work, too, because the root ball is pretty solid. I usually take out about three good wedges. Return the tree to the container, filling in the newly-created space with whatever medium you're using. Pack the medium down well to get rid of any air pockets and water.

Easy-peasy!

Fig crop drop

Posted: 26/08/2012 at 13:42

Sorry, I've got a fine crop. You've nailed a couple of good possibilities with non-pollination and temperature fluctuations. Lack of water in warm weather or irregular watering are usually the other culprits. How does your watering compare with your FIL's?

advise

Posted: 25/08/2012 at 17:37

lynne, you need warmth for them to ripen, not necessarily direct sunlight. Anything above low-20sC is optimum. The lower you go, the longer they will take.

Talkback: How to grow sweet peppers

Posted: 25/08/2012 at 17:31

Well, there you go. Peppers - or toms, for that matter - in containers just don't need daily watering unless they're in full sun all day and it's about 35C. With feeding in containers, you only have to allow for the fact that watering will gradually leach out the nutrients you add when you feed. It doesn't happen overnight, though. It might barely happen within a week with daily watering. Even if it does, the plants need a break from nutrients. They need to cope for themselves. And they will.

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