The packages say to plant tomatoes and peppers indoors 6 weeks before the last frost date. Fridley’s average last frost date is about May 21st, so I’m late this year. Better late than never though, and I’m happy to say that my tomatoes and peppers are finally planted. They’ll have about 4.5 weeks inside before transplanting this year instead of the 6, but maybe we’ll get a warm fall that will still give them the needed time to mature.
Planting Tomatoes and Peppers
I picked up a bag of dirt from Home Depot. This year it was Scotts Moisture Advantage. I don’t have a favorite, this one was just one of the cheaper ones in the size I wanted.
A few years ago I read on a blog about mixing the dirt with water in a bucket and filling the pots with already damp soil. It seemed like a good idea and so I’ve been using it. The soil being damp makes this less of a messy project for the kids (no dusty dirt on the table) and means I don’t have to water 36 little pots full of water.
The trick is to get the dirt wet enough that it stick together, but not so wet that it drips out the bottom of the pot when you fill it up.
I used to use the black plastic multi-cell planter pots, but they were pretty flimsy, tore easily and my plants always grew out of the small ones. It was much cheaper to just buy a big pack of party cups and drill a hole through the bottom of them. You can wash and re-use the cups. They’re not black, so it’s easier to write on them with a sharpie, and they’re a good size for 6-week old tomato and pepper plants.
This year we’re doing more beets, peas and basil, and less tomatoes and peppers. We planted 9 Sweet Million tomatoes, 9 Beefsteak tomatoes, 6 Sweet Banana Peppers, 6 Hot Peppers and 6 California Wonder bell peppers.
The carrots are coming up.
Lettuce Lane is our name for the path that goes between the garden and the trees, up to the spigot. On either side we’ve got a 6-8 inch strip of dirt where we fill with lettuce. Here it is popping up already.
The Rhubarb and Chives have awoken from their winter slumber. Hopefully this will be the year I get my strawberry rhubarb pie.
Lastly, the cherry blossoms have started cracking open. I would love to get cherries this year, but I know it’ll take a few years before this tree really kicks it into gear.