Planting Peppers and Potted Plants

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    Planting Vegetables in your garden is really easy to do and will give you months of enjoyment and food. 

    All vegetables are started by seed but as a home gardener you can take advantage of potted plants to reduce your germination and grow time.  Plants are available in early spring right after the last frost. Most Home Stores and Garden Centers carry a good selection but you can also purchase your plants at major retail chains.

    To start you should prepare your garden soil early in the spring as soon as you can turn the soil. This means even before the last frost happens. Adding products like pelletized fertilizer and peet moss or mulch will add life and nitrogen to your soil. If you need to you can take soil samples to your local garden center and they will test the soil for PH level and quality. They may suggest different methods of amending your soil so you get the best harvest.

    Once you have mixed your soil in your garden you should wet it down or wait until after a rain to plant. The soil should not be too moist to work with but you need to give freshly tilled soil time to settle before you do your planting.

    Since we will be planting about 25 potted tomatoes and peppers and later on planting a large number of annuals in our flower bed we purchased a hand soil plug maker. They cost under $10 and will give uniform results.  You could also just use your fingers or a small garden shovel to dig the holes in the soft soil.

    First make the plug hole and drop the whole plant with container still left on into the hole to check the height of the soil.

    You want the level of the soil in the container to match the level of the soil in your garden.

    To remove the plant from the pot gently squeeze the container to loosen the soil from the edges.

    If there are roots coming out of the bottom of the container you should be careful as you remove the plant. You can cut the container if necessary and cutting the roots will probably not damage the plant but it will take time for the roots to grow back so try to limit any cutting of the roots.

    When pulling the plant out of the container grab hold of the stem of the plant where it meets the soil. Turn the container upside down and the plant should pop out in your hand or come out with only very slight pressure.

    If you have to tug at it then you will probably be better off cutting away the plastic container or at least slicing it down one side.

    Damaging the roots will hurt the plant and you never want to expose the roots by removing the soil around them. 

    Place the plant into the hole and check that the height of the plant soil matches the level of the garden.

    To finish the job you should give a good watering enough to soak the soil but use a gentle spray to not damage the plants or erode the soil.

    Well thats about it your new plants will take a week or so before you see any change in their height. They will use that time to grow longer roots and get use to their new home.

    Q:what size pre-potted plant is the best to buy?
    A: The larger the plant the more it will cost so you want to limit the size of the plant to the smallest one that will work for that plant type. The larger the plant the shorter your wait for fruit to be produced but you should really never pay more then $1 or $2 for a tomato, pepper or other vegetable. Six Pack containers are also a great value and won’t take more then 10 days to reach the same size as a larger 3″ pot.

    Q:When should you start fertilizing?
    A:You should add pelletized long lasting slow release Fertilizer and Lime to your soil about a month before you plant but once the plants have grown in the soil for about 3 weeks you can begin using liquid fertilizers to enhance growth. Until that time water every day in the morning if you can.

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