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Latest posts by Italophile

Sugar snaps are ready, but the beds are not!

Posted: 09/05/2013 at 16:39

I've had dwarf varieties grow to 4' or more so that explains the lankiness. They'll be shallow-rooted so you could put them in containers. But they'll need support.

Sugar snaps are ready, but the beds are not!

Posted: 09/05/2013 at 15:42

lindsay, are they a dwarf variety or climbers?

advice: tomato leaf spots

Posted: 09/05/2013 at 15:39

Heather, there seems to be a problem with the size of photos uploaded to this site. Can you take much closer shots of those leaves? From what I can see, it looks like a fungal disease problem.

Leggy mint - help!

Posted: 09/05/2013 at 14:42

Mizzli, it's good advice about the warmth rising. Temps in the mid-20sC outside can translate to high-30sC inside those plastic greenhouses even well ventilated.


Posted: 09/05/2013 at 14:39

Put it this way, toms will grow outdoors with daytime temps of roughly 17C+ in full sun for at least 6-8 hours a day. They will still survive happily outdoors at lower daytime temps but will take a lot longer. The ideal is mid-20sC and higher. Again, in full sun for at least 6-8 hours a day. Overnight temps for outdoor toms need to be at least 15C to develop properly. Toms actually do a lot of their growing overnight. Again, they will cope with less, but take a lot longer.

I don't know when you're going away but, till you do, leave them out all day (protected if there's rain.) Barring any sudden massive drops in temperature, every couple of days add a couple of hours to their stay outside. It's called "hardening off", getting them gradually acclimatised to the new conditions.

Potatoes? Some English friends brought me over two first early varieties and a second early variety. We've had rain and warmth and the plants are climbing out of the ground.


Posted: 08/05/2013 at 18:39

Okay. Check the forecast ahead. Unless they're absolute babies, they will cope down to 6C overnight as long as it's not every night. They would handle 10C overnight comfortably. Put them somewhere protected from the rain. If the forecast ahead looks reasonable, I'd start leaving them outside before you go - a bit later every day - in order to get them acclimatised to the change of conditions.

Leggy mint - help!

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 11:57

Mizzli, everything needs light/sunlight to grow. I'd get them all outside into decent light if you can. What sort of overnight temps are you getting?

Of the things you've listed:

Chives, strawbs and raspberries all overwinter happily without any protection. I've had mine buried under a foot of snow and they come back. Parsley will come back, too, but I always replant every season because, I find, regrowth tends to bolt.

Mint needs some protection as I've said before.

Toms are treated as annuals. Toss them at the end of the season and start again next year. I treat basil the same way. It's so easy to grow. Ditto rocket.

Those plastic greenhouses are fine. Just bear in mind that they can generate some real heat inside in summer if kept closed.


Posted: 08/05/2013 at 11:47

The temps are the important thing, forgetmenot. If they're indoors in a sunny window, say, they will dry out quicker because they will get pretty warm from both the sun and the room itself. Any temps of double figures outside during the day would be fine. What sort of overnight lows are you getting?

Tomatoe leave have grey marks on them

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 10:34

No probs. There is no escaping fungal spores. They're airborne, they're everywhere, and invisible to the naked eye. Greenhouses don't even provide protection. In fact, there are fungal diseases that are peculiar to greenhouses, that you never see on outdoor-grown toms. All you can do is take as many preventive measures as you can to minimise the spores' impact.

Tomatoe leave have grey marks on them

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 10:23

Nicholas, I'd like a closer look but those darker "bullseyes" inside the necrotic (lighter) patches look like the early stages of a fungal problem.

"Blight" has become a generic term for any fungal problem. The most common fungal problems in the home garden are Early Blight and Septoria Leaf Spot. Neither will kill a tomato plant providing basic care is taken - nipping off the worst-affected leaves, etc. Without denuding the plant of foliage, obviously.

Unless you want to spray against fungal problems, you have to be rigorous with your preventive measures. Never ever water the foliage, keep sufficient distance - at least 3' - between plants to allow plenty of air circulation, and nip off excess branches and foliage (even healthy stuff) to avoid great clumps of foliage that work against air circulation through the foliage.

Clear air circulation is the bottom line. Still air, particularly if it's humid, and clumps of impenetrable foliage, are heaven for fungal spores. That's why I'd get them out from under the cloche.

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