Latest posts by Italophile


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.


Posted: 08/05/2013 at 10:10

forgetmenot, you'll do more harm than good leaving them sitting in water. What are your daytime temps like? If they're only moderate, water them before you leave and they will cope for a week in a shaded spot.

Tomatoe leave have grey marks on them

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 07:19

Outstanding, Fairygirl. Congratulations. Which variety is it? When will you be planting it out?

Little elf chillies

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 07:06

15cm is on the small side. You need to give the roots room.

Tomatoe leave have grey marks on them

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 06:54

Pity the photo's not a bit bigger, but I can see little "bullseye" spots inside those necrotic patches particularly towards the bottom end of the leaf. Usually an indicator of a fungal problem, possibly Early Blight.

I'd get them out from under the cloche and get some fresh air circulating.



Tomatoe leave have grey marks on them

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 08:52

It is the answer, Fairygirl. And, as the plants grow to their full size, take off the lower branches and foliage to keep a gap of 12-18" between the soil and the lowest foliage. Fungal spores can and will fall down onto the soil beneath the plant. The gap helps guard against splashing the spores back up onto the plant during watering.

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