Growing Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

Now is the time to get serious about growing your own seedlings of these three popular and delicious plants.

There are lots of reasons for growing your own seedlings, but it does take some doing to have success.

All three, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant require about 8 weeks growing in a protected environment before putting them into the garden.

First, determine your average day of last frost (ADLF) and count back 8 weeks for the date you want to get them planted. And plan ahead for some protection in the garden as well until there is no danger of frost, because cold weather (even without frost) can set these tender plants back.

Determine how many plants you want/need, and plant a few more as seeds cost very little, and time is dear, and can't be replaced.

We prepare a soil mixture of sawdust and sand, with a small amount of calcium, etc. included. The seeds have sufficient nutrition to get them up out of the ground, and so normal feeding only starts after emergence. Putting other nutrition into the soil with seeds risks burning the seeds.

A whole post is needed for seedling production, but do remember that temperatures between 75 & 85 F are ideal for germinating these seeds.

No light is needed until seedlings emerge from the soil surface, and then maximum light immediately is important. Be very careful to NOT increase temperatures with the lights you choose. The plants need light, but they do NOT need heat, and people often kill their new seedlings with heat, and then they think the light killed them.

Water with plain water, preferably thru burlap to avoid moving the seeds, until emergence and then remove the burlap immediately. After emergence water with a dilute fertilizer solution. In the Mittleider Method we call it the "constant feed solution"

Best of success!

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