Growing tomatoes and peppers may sound daunting, but with a few steps and pointers, it becomes easy and a lot of fun. It’s not just a treat to harvest your own home-grown food, it’s also an opportunity to spice things up in the kitchen. Don’t get nervous. We’ll walk you every step of the way.
Starting Seeds in Peat Pellets
It’s usually suggested to start growing your seeds indoors. The safe environment gives seedlings a strong foundation, which is the best chance of surviving in the garden. This goes for both in-ground and container plants.
Buying peat pellets is a great way to get started. Peat pellets are small compounds of soil that are made of peat moss. Peat moss is great for fertilizing while retaining water and nutrients. This helps the little seedlings germinate (aka sprout).
Pre-grown sprouts can be picked up just about anywhere, from Walmart and Amazon to your local nurseries. The same goes for seeds. Growing your own sprouts from seeds has a lot of advantages. For example, there are many seed varieties and special breeds that aren’t available in most stores pre-grown.
The key to planting seedlings in peat pellets is to create an environment that encourages the seedlings to sprout.
First, it’s important to place the peat pellets in a plastic tray and make sure they are spread apart from each other. Fill the tray with water until the peat pellets have expanded in size and absorbed the moisture. This could take up to 30 minutes depending on the size of the peat pellets.
For tomatoes and peppers, most peat pellet sizes will work. Once the peat pellets have expanded, it’s time to get planting. Pour out any excess water, as leftover water can lead to root rot.
It’s time to get out your seedlings! It’s as easy as grabbing a pencil or pen and poking a little, seed-sized hole in the peat pellet to drop your seeds.
Helping Your Seeds Germinate
For tomatoes and peppers, it’s generally a good rule of green thumb to plant 1-3 seedlings per peat pellet, just in case some don’t germinate.
It can feel like striking gold when all three plants sprout, but it actually means you have to pull two out. One peat pellet generally only has room for one plant to grow.
Tomato seeds generally take 5-10 days to germinate, while peppers sprout in about a week at a temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some breeds vary, so there is no need to be alarmed if some seedlings take a little longer.
When it comes to watering seedlings in the peat pellets, it’s vital to water from the bottom and not the top. This means gardeners should avoid pouring water directly on the plant. Instead, aim directly for their roots.
Splashing water on the leaves of the plant can spread disease that will quickly kill off plants, which is why root watering is essential.
Transplanting and Harvesting For Dinner
Tomatoes are ready to be transplanted to the outside garden when seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall. Be sure your nighttime temperatures stay above 50 degrees. Peppers seedlings are ready for planting at about 7–8 weeks old. They should be about 6–8 inches tall and ready for transplanting.
Don’t forget, when you see either of those plants beginning to flower, it’s time to prepare your first harvest.
There are few things more rewarding than harvesting home-grown crops and eating them off the vine!
Here are keto friendly recipes that will be extra delicious once you add your own fresh garden ingredients.
To get the best results, grow Roma tomatoes and Jalapeno peppers.
To get the best results, grow Green and Red bell peppers and use a cast iron skillet.