It seems like just a few weeks ago I started the peppers then the tomatoes for the garden. Over the last couple of weeks I have been re-potting most of the plants, the peppers twice, because they are growing so quickly. The good thing is, the stems are thick and sturdy, much more so than years past. I have also started the tomatillos and rest of the tomatoes; but, they are still small and inside under lights.
When I re-pot tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant, I add some Epsom salt to the soil mixture to increase magnesium levels for thicker fruit. I also plant the plants at the bottom of the new pot and cover as much of the stem with soil as I can. Because all of the plants are nightshades, they sprout new roots along the whole stem. This year I moved the small plants outside earlier in their life than years past to expose them to cool nights. We have about a 25 – 30 degree intraday temperature swing, and that contrast seems to be working to encourage root growth over plant growth. To further encourage root growth, I have been pinching the blossoms off the peppers for the last few weeks. I have stopped that now as the plants seem to be doing great. Because I used a different soil mixture and did not clone any tomatoes (and maybe because of the addition of legume soil inoculant) this year, I have had almost no plants die yet. This means I have lots of extra little plants to find space for. Luckily, the kids liked digging when we were at the garden and they helped turn over some new areas for plants.
This past weekend I was sorting through packages of flower seeds. Some of the seeds were planted in the garden, others were sent north with my helpers so they can plant some in their garden when the weather is more conducive. To my surprise, I found another tomato seed packet – Cosmonaut Volkov. Cosmonaut Volkov is a determinant heirloom smallish red tomato with green stripes on their shoulders. Because I am already overloaded with tomato plants, I only started a couple of seeds. That was Sunday night. To my surprise, one set of seeds emerged on Tuesday. How is that for determination!