Starting Your Tomato and Pepper Transplants

If you were planning to start your own pepper and tomato plants this year now is the time to get started.

Peppers and tomato’s require 6-8 weeks to grow from seed to transplant size so getting started now will have them ready for early June hardening off and planting. Our last anticipated frost date this year is the full moon of June 2nd.

I like to start my transplants in 3” pots with ample space for vigorous root growth so the plants get a strong start when introduced to the garden. To encourage this I give the seedlings a boost of plant starter or root booster fertilizer (NPK 5-15-5) when the first true leaves appear, usually about 3 weeks from seed planting. A second application at the 6-7 week period should result in sturdy plants roaring to go.

A note of caution when growing peppers. It has been our experience that large green bell peppers generally do not fare well in our cool coastal climate, the result often being a scant harvest of misshapen fruit. If you have your heart set on bell peppers I would suggest planting them in pots or containers so they can be moved to the hottest micro – climates as the season progresses.

On the other hand we have had great success here at Home Harvest with the hot chili peppers. Following harvest we dry them in the sun, run them through a spice grinder and voila! Blistering hot, pungent chilli powder for months if not years to come.
Seed Time

If June seems a long way off do not despair, we have plenty of cool season crops that are raring to go. Last year we direct seeded spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula, green onions and peas on April 23rd, this year might be a week or so later.
Good luck and happy gardening.
Pete LaPierre

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