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GARDENING RESOURCES

Growing Tomatoes and Peppers


GARDENING FACT SHEET:

Click to View Printable PDF file: “Growing Tomatoes and Peppers”


Tomatoes and Peppers are warm season vegetables, which means they require warm weather to grow and produce fruit. They will not thrive if nighttime temperatures are below 50 degrees. They also need a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunshine a day and consistently moist, but not soggy, soil.

These all present challenges to the Tri-Lakes gardener. Below are some tips to help overcome these challenges and enjoy a bountiful harvest!

Soil Temperature

Make sure your soil temperature is at least 60 degrees before planting outside. The soil in raised beds or containers will warm up faster than the ground. Covering the soil with plastic for a week or two will help speed up the warming.

We can be well into June before our nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees. Using row covers, frost cloth, or ‘water walls’, which all help retain heat, will allow you to trick your plants into thinking it is warmer than it is, enabling you to set them out earlier. These same structures will also protect young transplants from our high winds.

Choose Varieties with a Short Growing Season

Choosing varieties with shorter days to maturity ranging from 55-75 days will enable an earlier harvest.

There are also several cool-tolerant hybrid and heirloom tomato varieties available including Stupice, Siberian, Oregon Spring, Glacier and Celebrity that are good choices for short growing seasons.

Tips for Planting Tomato and Pepper Seedlings

Prior to planting, remove all flower buds from the plants, and remove the bottom sets of leaves. Plant to the depth of the next set of leaves. This will promote a stronger root system, and thus a healthier plant. Though it is tempting to leave the first buds on the plant, in hopes of an earlier harvest, it actually inhibits overall plant growth.

Watering and Mulching

A consistent water supply is necessary for healthy plants and fruit. Allowing plants to dry out, then soaking them to ‘make up for it’, stresses the plant and can cause fruit to crack. Plants in containers may need to be watered twice a day during the heat of summer.

Mulching your plants, whether in beds or containers, will help retain moisture and reduce evaporation.

Always make sure plants are well watered before applying fertilizers.

Fertilizing for Tomatoes and Peppers

When selecting a fertilizer for your tomatoes and peppers, make sure it contains calcium, which is necessary to help prevent blossom end rot. Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen as that will promote lush growth, but little fruit.

Keep in mind that plants grown in containers have less nutrients available to them from the soil as do plants in the ground, so they will require more from you.

Also, organic fertilizers will feed the soil as well as the plants, while chemical fertilizers feed only the plant.

 

Click to View Printable PDF file: “Growing Tomatoes and Peppers”

McCord's Garden Center

McCord's Garden Center

McCord’s Garden Center and Landscaping is a locally-owned and operated family business located in Monument, CO. We provide year round landscaping design and installation services. Our Garden Center is open seasonally. www.McCordGardens.com

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