Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sunshine is essential

Peter . I was shocked when I read about denuding Tomato plants. I have always followed Peter Cundall`s advice that heat was the essence of riping not sun directly on the tomato but I can see the logic of the goodness going into the fruit and not the leaves. This year I will try cutting the leaves on the south side of the plant after it reaches 50cms. Have you any advice for Mt. Waverley climate. Laurie

I had previously directed Laurie to this web site with a rather radical suggestion for increasing Tomato yields and flavour.

Ohhh, there’s so much to discuss in this little note. Including disagreeing with the much loved Mr Cundall. Peter did a great job educating and encouraging gardeners of all ages to enjoy vegetable gardening, so I need to take care but I believe many gardeners misunderstand the importance of light as distinct from heat.

Light levels play a critical role in controlling the way a plant grows and stimulating the formation of buds. I received an unrelated but similar enquiry a few weeks back:

I have a young desert rose plant that isn't looking to well. The bottom of the trunk seems to be a little wrinkly and soft some of the leaves are turning yellow. I had been watering it every 2-3 weeks, but have stopped doing that as I thought I maybe over watering. It sits on my coffee table in the lounge but gets the sun. Any advice would be appreciated.

Unfortunately I haven’t seen this plant to comment with authority, but my first thought is It’s just too dark for the plant to grow properly in that environment.

One of the first things I learnt about growing Cyclamen is that once they have germinated (in the dark) it is essential to get the very young plants in to the brightest position available to ensure that flower bud development is stimulated. Of course the trick is to protect these young plants from drying out… without keeping them too wet.

Like everything, balance is needed. There is no doubt that extreme mid Summer sun can be very damaging but as a rule of thumb the more light you can give your flowering/fruiting plants the better.

While I’m thinking of Peter Cundall, don’t forget that The Gardening Australia Expo is on at the Caulfield Race Course over this weekend. Get along and ask John Patrick a few curly questions!

Enough for today, I’ll have to come back to planting tips we still have a few weeks until Cup Day.

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