Archive for May, 2012
Peppers are Very Easy to Grow…basically plant and watch grow. There are a few tips though that can help the process.
Water in moderation.
enough moisture to keep the plants in production. To maintain a proper balance, before transplanting, work some organic matter into the soil to enhance moisture retention. Use mulch to prevent excessive evaporation from the soil during the dry summer months.
To get an early start with your peppers, particularly in the North, cover the prepared bed with a dark colored polyethylene mulch at least a week before transplanting. This will heat the soil beneath and provide a better growing condition for young pepper plants. The mulch will also help the soil retain moisture throughout the season as the plants grow.
Tomatoes are commonly classified as Determinate or Indeterminate. What’s the difference?
Determinate Tomatoes, or “bush” tomatoes, are varieties that grow to a compact height (generally 3 – 4′). Determinates stop growing when fruit sets on the top bud. All the tomatoes from the plant ripen at approximately the same time (usually over period of 1- 2 weeks). They require a limited amount of staking for support and are perfectly suited for container planting. Examples are: Rutgers, Roma, Celebrity (called a semi-determinate by some), and Marglobe.
Indeterminate Tomatoes will grow into vines and produce fruit until killed by frost. They can reach heights of up to 12 feet although 6 feet is normal. Indeterminates will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit all at the same time throughout the season. They require substantial staking for support.
So what is your choice? The answer to that is why do you grow tomatoes? If you can tomatoes, or makes sauces and salsa’s then Determinate tomatoes are probably your best choice because you will have a good quantity all at the same time. If you like to have tomatoes to eat throughout the whole summer season right up until frost then indeterminate is probably your best choice. Examples are: Big Boy, most “cherry” types, Early Girl, and most heirloom varieties.
Or simply plant a supply of both.
1. Tomatoes like a nice warm area in full sun, and need at least 8 hours of sunlight a day, or they get spindly and produce little mature fruit.
2. They like soil that has a pH of 5.5 – 6.8, is fertile, deep, well-drained, and that is rich in organic matter. If the soil stays soggy where you want to plant, build a raised bed.
3. You want soil that will hold water as evenly as possible because uneven uptake of water can cause all kinds of problems with tomatoes including: flower drop, fruit splitting and blossom-end rot.
4. To help give your tomatoes the best-suited environment you can, till in a good amount of compost or organic matter. A general guide would be 3 inches of organic matter into the top 6 inches of soil.
5. Use a small amount of balanced organic fertilizer such as a 5-5-5 and work in right before planting to give plants a healthy start. Don’t fertilize again until the plant is well established and begin to flower. Otherwise, because of the nitrogen, you will have lots of foliage and not a lot of fruit. Spraying your plants with a kelp solution or compost tea two or three times a season boosts vigor, which helps the vines fend off diseases.
6. Always plant tomatoes deep, and/or on their sides. Dig out a shallow trench. Remove the lower stems and branches off the tomatoes, leaving only the upper most top leaves. Lay the entire plant down a trench on its side and cover with soil. Leave only the top leaves showing. The entire stem that is now buried will form roots, giving the plant the best foundation possible and allowing the plant a greater ability to absorb nutrients and water. Plus a larger root system near the soil surface will mean that more heat will be available to the plant, producing earlier tomatoes. Don’t worry if the foliage is pointing to the side, the sun will right itself and grow upright in a few days.
7. If cutworms are a problem in your garden, protect the stem of your plant by using an empty paper roll.
8. Mulch after the ground has had a chance to warm up. Mulching does conserve water and prevents the soil and soil born diseases from splashing up on the plants, but if you put it down too early it will also shade and therefore cool the soil. Try using plastic mulch for heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers.
9. Once the tomato plants are about 3′ tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1′ of stem. These are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems. They get the least amount of sun and soil born pathogens can be unintentionally splashed up onto them.
10. Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. But go easy on pruning the rest of the plant. You can thin leaves to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit, but it’s the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavor to your tomatoes
11. Water deeply and regularly while the plants are developing. Irregular watering, (missing a week and trying to make up for it), leads to blossom end rot and cracking. Once the fruit begins to ripen, lessening the water will coax the plant into concentrating its sugars. Don’t withhold water so much that the plants wilt and become stressed or they will drop their blossoms and possibly their fruit.
Credits: weekendgardener.net and gardening.about.com
2013 Greenhouse Hours
Latest Mile Tree News