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Grow-How

Top 5 Planting Mistakes, and how to avoid them

Temperature

Most plant when night temperatures are still too cold. Night temps, not day temps. Any time in the 40s is detrimental.

Plant when night temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees. Night temps.

60 degrees better for habaneros, SuperHots, and eggplants. 50 degrees ok for tomatoes, but better at 55 degrees.

Planting early with cold and/or wet conditions will stress young plants, which makes them susceptible to disease.

If plants get chilled, stunting may occur, which is when plants don't die but they don't grow. Only warm days/nights and fertilizer will help pull a plant out of a stunt. Best way to avoid? Don't plant early.

To get a jump on the season and/or while wating for night temps to stabalize, up-pot your plants.


Preparation

Most forget to add organic matter to their soil every year.

Add lots of organic matter to your garden beds every year.

Organic matter includes your own/municipal compost, shredded dried leaves, peat moss and animal manures. Allow fresh manures to cool before using. Don't skimp on the organic matter. Add 1-2 times what you took out of the garden. Essential. Every year. A good mix to refresh the soil.

For a new garden, dig at least 9 inches deep and add LOTS of organic matter. Raise the height of the growing beds as much as possible, with pathways lower, to allow rains to drain off.

For existing gardens, do not plant peppers (and/or tomatoes or eggplants) in the same spot more than once every 3 years. This lessens the chance of your plants becoming susceptible to disease. If planting in the same location every year, add even more organic matter to your garden, at least 3 times the amount of production from the garden the year before. Don't skimp on organic matter.

Extremely helpful is our Granular Organic fertilizer, which will add essential nutrients to your garden and make up for any soil deficiencies. Production is fabulous with this product. Worms love it, we love it. You will too.

Healthy plants need healthy soil, to keep nutrition levels up and diseases down.


Mulch

Most plant into bare ground, with no mulch.

To have a happy and abundant garden, use a thick 5 inch layer of a grass-type mulch.

Mulch keeps the ground cool and moist and protects it from the hot and drying sun. If you use mulch, watering is eliminated!

We prefer grass-type mulches like straw or hay. Wood mulches steal nitrogen from the plants, and is not recommended.
Hay = dried weeds, so put down sections of newspapers first (8-10 pages thick) and cover with 5 inches of hay. The thick paper stops the the weed seeds from hitting the soil and germinating. Straw usually has no weed seed.

Leave a little breathing room around the stems of plants, don't smother or cover the plant.

Re-train yourself about watering. To check soil moisture, lift up mulch and dig down 6 inches. If moist leave it alone. If dry, water but do not saturate. Don't judge watering in the hot sun; when it is hot, plants may wilt, which is normal.

We use a 5 inch layer of hay mulch technique and do not water all summer. We call it lazy gardening, and we love it.


Water

Most problems with plants is due to overwatering. Almost all Tomato problems. Do not water our plants upon receipt!

Allow plants in small pots to dry between waterings.

After planting, use a grass-type mulch and water as little as possible. We don't water all summer.

Water is the enemy of plants, and the friend of disease. Tomatoes especially.
Use a 5 inch layer of a grass-type mulch like straw or hay and don't water.

If you must water, keep it on the ground. Never wet foliage as this can start disease splashing around.

Sprinklers are the worst. Never wet foliage, only the soil.
Drip can be effective, but most run it too long or too often, which becomes problematic.

Baby plants need more attention to watering than older plants, but always let plants dry before watering again.
Plant roots need both air and water. Keeping plants constantly wet kills plants, by drowning.


Fertilizer

Most plant in the same spot every year, and don't use fertilizer.

For an abundant harvest, you must fertilize. Without fertilizer, plants are hungry, and don't produce.

Granular Organic fertilizer is best for peppers and eggplants, and for incredible production on everything. The best!
Fish and Kelp is fish emulsion, best for baby plants, and soaking prior to transplanting.
Kelp and Fish #3 is kelp (seaweed) and is best especially for tomatoes, and ALL plants, to keep healthy.

Granular Organic fertilizer is a dry product that offers longer term nutrition.
Fish and Kelp is high in nitrogen and promotes strong growth and good deep green leaf color.
Kelp and Fish #3 is is a multi-vitamin for plants, and keeps them healthy. Seaweed is full of many micronutrients that help plants combat stress, such as heat, drought, and insect attack.

We up-pot plants from a 2.5 to 4 to 6 inch pot, to get larger before planting out, using fertilizer every step of the up-potting.
By early-mid June plants are 15 inches tall, and are planted in the fields with more Granular Organic fertilizer, when the ground and night air is warm. We begin harvesting in late August, until frost, which arrives in early-mid Oct. Happy harvesting!

The key factor for an abundant harvest is proper fertilization.

Next: Growing Peppers Successfully

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