How to plant tomato and pepper transplants

When purchasing transplants, always make sure to water them immediately when you arrive home. If it is too early to plant them outdoors, keep them in a sunny protected
area until you are ready to plant.

Two of the most popular transplants are peppers and tomatoes. These tips will help ensure that you have healthy, growing plants.

PEPPERS
Peppers prefer good drainage, plenty of sun, and hot weather. Space plants 18-24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. When the plants flower, side-dress them with compost. Add mulch around the peppers to keep weeds down and to retain moisture.

Plant on a cloudy day if possible, after the last chance of frost has passed. Make planting holes larger than needed for each plant. Put some sifted compost mixed with bone meal (or an organic, well-balanced fertilizer) into each hole. Set the plant so the lowest leaves are at the level of the soil. Press the soil down well, but firmly, to remove air pockets. Plants which are taller and spindly can be planted in a trench or at a diagonal, laying the whole stem leaving only the top leaves above the soil. (Remove any leaves from the stem part in the soil.)

TOMATOES
Determinate tomato cultivars grow to a certain height and then stop, putting all their energy
into producing fruit heavily over a 4-6 week span. Indeterminate cultivars grow all season and continue to produce fruit until frost. They will require trellising or can be allowed to sprawl on the ground.

Tomatoes prefer full sun and plenty of space to grow. Deep soil with plenty of organic matter is ideal, with moderate levels of nitrogen and phosphorus and moderate to high levels of potassium and calcium. Keep soil moist, but not soggy and do not allow plants to dry out. Water plants at the base and avoid getting the leaves wet.

Plant on a cloudy day if possible, after the last chance of frost has passed. Make planting holes larger than needed for each plant. Put some sifted compost mixed with bone meal (or an organic, well-balanced fertilizer) into each hole. Set the plant so the lowest leaves are at the level of the soil. Press the soil down well, but firmly to remove air pockets. Plants which are taller and spindly can be planted in a trench or at a diagonal, laying the whole stem leaving only the top leaves above the soil. (Remove any leaves from the stem part in the soil.)

Plant 2-3 feet apart, trellising or staking as needed.

Cultivate to keep weeds down until the soil is warm, then lay down a deep mulch to smother weeds and conserve moisture. Water about 1 inch of water per week; deep soaking is better than several light watering. A weekly dose of liquid seaweed will increase fruit production. When plants flower, side-dress with compost.

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Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit organization located in Decorah, Iowa, with a mission to conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.