Sweet and Simple Magazine: Food & Drink * How to Grow Tomatoes and Peppers

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Food & Drink * How to Grow Tomatoes and Peppers

"Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes... only two things that money can't buy and that's true love and home grown tomatoes!" John Denver

Everything from a fresh tomato and mayonnaise sandwich to fresh pico de gallo, summer is time for eating sweet tomatoes and tangy peppers from the garden. There are a few tricks to an abundant harvest of tomatoes and peppers.
Both tomatoes and peppers are in the same plant family, which means the tips we are giving you apply to growing both.

  • Prepare the Soil
Start with the right soil. Tomatoes and peppers like soil that is well drained. Check your soil. Tomatoes and peppers like soil that is neutral to slightly acidic. If the soil is too acidic add some lime. The soil must be full of rich nutrients and loose. Add a good aged compost. If your soil has a lot of clay add some sand to loosen it up a bit along with your compost.

  • Transplanting Starts
Before transplanting your seedlings give them a good watering. Dig a hole deep enough to bury the plants roots and also the first couple of layers of the bottom leaves. Water your hole before placing the seeding in the ground. This gives the soil below the plants a good watering and helps the roots anchor deep.  Gently loosen the roots after removing the pant from the container. Fill the soil around the plant being sure to cover the bottom couple of layers of leaves. Water seedlings.

  • Mulching
Mulching is important in the garden. It keeps the weeds down and the soil moist. With tomatoes and peppers it is best to wait until your plants are around 1-2 feet before mulching. This will prevent the lower leaves from rotting. Once they are tall enough mulch away. We like grass clippings they are abundant. Be sure to turn your mulch to prevent mold. 

  • Watering
Tomatoes and peppers like to be watered regularly but not too much. Once they are established  you will want to let the soil dry out at bit. Not too much so the plants are wilting and distressed but enough they are not too moist. 

  • Pruning
Pinching back the small leaves or suckers that grown in the crook of the stems with force more energy to the tomatoes and peppers. 

  • Staking 
It's important to stake tomatoes and peppers when they are small. Placing a bamboo stick in the ground next to the plant and tying the plant with gardening twine to bamboo stick will hold up the plant as it grows. You can also buy tomato cages. The tomatoes and peppers will be heavy. 

A little bit of care will bring big beautiful pepper and tomatoes for your Summer meals.

recipe & photos by April A. founder & editor-in-chief