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What the heck do I do with these vegetable plants?

525 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  medeanj
I have looked online and in some vegetable gardening books and I can't seem to get answers that are basic enough for me, a complete and absolute newbie to gardening.

I would really like to grow some stuff this year and I bought two Celebrity tomato plants and a bell pepper plant. I have no idea what to do with them!

I don't really know what I need to do to the soil first, if it's ok to go ahead and plant, whether I need fertilizer or not (the books talk about compost, but I ain't got no compost!), how to make sure they're healthy and all of that.

I am totally new to this. I'm in zone 6 if that helps any, it's supposed to be in the 80's for the next several days.

I bought these plants from a gentlemen who wasn't entirely helpful... wish I'd just gone to a nursery now!

TIA for any really basic info you can give me!! I would really like to learn but it is all totally new to me.
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Hi - First make sure that you are at least 2 weeks past your last frost date. Then, assuming you have a spot (with full sun) for the plants - go to Lowes, Home Depot, or a garden supply place and get 2 -40 pound bags of composted cow manure or composted peat moss. It is about $1.00 - $1.25ish a bag. Mix the compost into the dirt where you plan to put the plants.

The tomatoes can get quite large, so you'll want to stake them or use heavy tomato cages. Celebrity are determinate tomatoes, I think, meaning they will get quite large across but not very tall. I had some last year and they ended up about 3; in diameter. If you plan to stake dig a deep hole and sink a 6' or so stake in the ground for a good 12-18". Pack the dirt back in firmly around the stake. Then... stick your plants in the ground with well loosened soil and water reguarly until they are established (2 weeks or so). Then water as needed. All the plants should be about 2' across from each other.

Before planting the plants cover the ground with 6-8 pages of newspaper and a heavy mulch of straw, hay, etc. - this will help keep the weeds down. If you don' t have hay just use the newspaper by itself. Just cut holes it in to stick the plants in.

A gardening supply place should have organic fetalizer available - like Hasta Gro - which you can apply every 2-3 weeks through the growing season.

Also - if you can get to the library or otherwise get a copy of The Vegetable Gardener's Bible you'll get tons of good information.

Sorry to be long winded. I hope this helps.
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Well, I am going to take a crack at this.

Home Depot does carry in stock organic have to ask for it specifically. Then see if they have something called, Garden-Tone 4-6-6 by Espoma (if HD does not have it, a good reputable nursery will). Get a 5lb bag (smallest available), which will last a real long time. It is organic ferilizer.

I do not know if you are planning on container gardening or not, so I will venture the amount of soil needed based on a 12" diameter terra cotta pot that could hold one tomato plant comfortably.

Fill the pot with the top soil and mix about 1/4 cup of the ferilizer. Make sure you mix very well since I seem to recall it could 'burn' the plant (gardeners, please correct me if I am wrong). Dig your hole to fit the entire contents of the tomato or pepper plant.

Very carefully position the stalk in the gap between your middle and ring fingers, gently but firmly grasp the sides of the small pot and caging the top. Gently turn the plant over and press the plastic sides to wriggle the plant and soil loose. Take your time, the less jolstling and movement will be better for the plant. Once the pot is removed hold the dirt mound and slowly bring it up right and place it in the pot. By placing it, do it in a way like you are holding a baby's tuckus and setting him/her on the floor. Cover the remainder of the hole with topsoil. Give it a very good watering, as it will help with the transplant shock.

In fertilizing your plants, you need only do this once every 4 weeks. Take a handful (no more than 1/4 cup) and make narrow band around the plant stem no more than 3 inches from the stem itself. Water as usual. When you do your first ring, wait about 2 weeks after transplanting before you do it.

Regarding watering, it is best to hand water your plants rather than giving it the spray hose. By spray hosing you may subjugate it to fungus, bacteria, or other sort of plant diseases. Make sure your soil is consistently moist but not soaking. With your tomatoes, you should also be on the look out for something called Tomato/tobacco hornworms. They look pretty, they are huge (largest one I picked so far was 3") and they will devour your plant if you do not pick right away.

As the previous pp'er said, make sure it is staked well, and mulch.

Hope this info helps. Let us know how it goes.
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