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Memorial Day weekend is upon us and as everyone will tell you this is the time to plant your tomato and other vegetable seedlings. There are several important items to remember when planting tomatoes as well as other fruiting vegetables.

  1. Always plant into warmed soils. Turn the soil a day or two before planting to aerate and warm it in sunlight. Tomatoes, peppers, and most fruiting summer vegetables require warm soil and Full Sun; to assure optimal growth and fruit production. If you are warned about a potential night-time frost, cover your plants with a light weight frost blanket to protect tender seedlings until the danger has passed. Do not use sheet plastic that touches the plant as the cold will pass right through it and cause damage.
  1. When planting, add some good quality compost to the soil plus an organic fertilizer to assure each plant has sufficient calcium to prevent “blossom end rot.” I recommend Van Putte’s own Port Bay Gold and Espoma Garden Tone or our Organic Gardener 5-10-5 fertilizer. You can also spray seedlings with a liquid calcium spray to supply extra calcium for gardens that have had issues with blossom end rot in the past.
  1. Spray newly planted seedlings with a new product (Revitalize Biofungicide) to protect against Early Blight Alternaria solani. This triggers an immune response within the plant, working on a preventative basis, protecting vegetables against a wide spectrum of diseases and encouraging extra strength and vigor in plants which are treated. Flowers will have more blooms and vegetables will produce more fruit. Reapply on a 7 to 10 day basis to protect plants all season long.
  1. Be sure to stake or trellis vertically growing vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, green beans, peas and eggplant to keep their fruit off the ground and provide support once they are laden with fruit.
  1. Mulch your vegetable garden with shredded hardwood mulch, straw, shredded newspaper or cardboard. Spray down the newspaper or cardboard with water to moisten and ballast to keep in place. Mulch helps maintain even soil moisture levels, keeps roots cool, and discourages weeds from establishing a foothold.
  1. If rabbits, squirrels, deer and other critters are a problem, apply an animal repellent (Bonide Go Away Deer & Rabbit Repellent or Bonide Hot Pepper Wax Animal Repellent) containing capsaicin, the active ingredient that makes Chili Peppers hot. This will discourage critters from grazing on your vegetable plants.

Stop in anytime and one of our Green Thumb Specialists will help you select whatever items you’ll need for a super successful garden this year. Remember that “the early bird gets the worm” so get out there and plant your gardens now!


Written by Rick Stecher, Garden Center Manager

Success with your gardening Naturally!

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