Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Planting Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant and Other Garden Preparations

Saturday was a hubbub of activity in the garden. We went from 50˚F days early in the week to 80˚F days by the weekend. I don't mind summer weather, but the extreme temperature change along with high humidity is not easy to adjust to and made Friday difficult to work outside. On Saturday however, the sky was overcast and the temperatures were comfortable. Since the humid temperatures were expected to return soon, I took full advantage.

It was foggy and the grass was still wet with dew early Saturday morning. I planted some peppers and eggplants into the previously prepared garden beds. The soaker hose was turned on and allowed to water the bed thoroughly.

Marconi Rosso Pepper


Top Row: Eggplant   Bottom Row: Peppers

I pulled out all the self-watering containers, cleaned them out, refilled them with soil, added fertilizer, filled them with water, and planted the Roma Tomatoes. There are five in all holding two Roma tomato plants each:

Roma Tomato in Self Watering Container

Roma Tomatoes in Self Watering Containers

K joined me later in the afternoon to help me prep the second in-ground bed now that the soil was dried out enough to work. It was tilled and raked smooth. Planting beds were plotted out along with walking paths in between. This bed is where we planted the Dark Red Norland Potatoes.

To the north of the potato bed is the pole bean plot. Two double rows were plotted for the pole beans and a soaker hose was laid:

Pole Bean Beds

The area to the south of the potato bed was planned for some summer and winter squash. But this has changed with the new garden expansion. The squash will be moved to the new garden bed and the quantity increased. This area will now be the tomato overflow bed:

Tomato Overflow Bed

We then moved on to finish up preparing the new garden bed. I worked on shaking the soil out from most of the sod on Friday. While I was laying out the soaker hose on the other bed, K finished up shaking the sod and tilled the new bed.

I worked in some compost and raked the soil smooth, while K extended the fence to enclose the new bed:

I just need to pick up another soaker hose, lay it out and cover the soil with solar mulch and it will be ready for planting. The squash seedlings are more than ready to go:

It was an exhausting but very productive Saturday. I have time off from work this week and am looking forward to finishing up the garden planting.


  1. Just look at all those swc's with tomatoes planted inside....I always enjoy seeing them. :)

  2. The pictures of your tomato tubs have me contemplating trying to find new ways to fit even more tomato plants into the garden. I've already gotten 14 in (running the northern length of two of the raised beds) - and I'm sure I've planted them too close to each other, but I want MORE MORE MORE! I've started contemplating planting tomatoes in the blueberry bed, since the blueberry plants are still real small....just where I could put them on the north side of the blueberries....so that'd only be another three tomato plants I think?

    Yay - it's finally feeling like a true gardening season!

  3. Your garden is looking good! I have never used the plastic mulch in the garden. I'm wondering if I should use some at the plots.

  4. EG: They are a marvel, aren't they :)

    Jeph: The cool thing about Self Watering Containers (SWC) is they don't require garden space or weeding. If you have a sunny area, these will work. EG of Our Engineered Garden has a whole garden of SWCs growing tomatoes and corn. Be sure to check out his sidebar for the "how to" building posts. I have used SWC to grow broccoli, celery, peppers, and tomatoes with great success.

    Robin: Plastic/Solar Mulch has really improved my garden success. The garden plot was over run with grass and weeds. It was so difficult to keep up with weeding and the plants suffered. Now I lay soaker hoses and solar mulch on top and don't have to deal with weeds. In addition, the solar mulch helps to heat up the soil and conserve moisture.

  5. I'll say it was a productive day! You got a tremendous amount done and must have been worn out by the end of the day. The garden expansion is giving you a lot of really good new space to plant in.

  6. Laura: I was worn out, but it was a satisfied worn out. I still have about half the new garden bed empty. I need to decide what to plant there soon.

  7. I planted jalapeno peppers and eggplants from seed, but they have not germinated. I wonder if I planted them too deep, or if it is too hot for them to germinate. How long does it normally take eggplant and peppers to germinate?

  8. Kris: Peppers and Eggplant seem to take forever to germinate...sometimes as long as two weeks. I presprouted mine this year then planted the sprouted seed into soil blocks under lights and let them grow that way for 6-8 weeks before it was warm enough to plant out in the garden. Still, some seeds never sprouted and I ended up with less peppers than planned. I still may purchase some transplants from a nearby garden center.