id-May, now it’s time to start planting those seedlings. As you know mid-May and/or Mothers’ Day it’s about as safe as it can be to avoid a frost or light freeze in this area. Of course there are exceptions like this season; as these last few days have given you a good reason why I always stress this point after those frosty nights we’ve had. Hopefully if you did plant some plants earlier that you got them covered.
While there is no sure-fire way to cure plant transplant shock, there are things you can do to minimize the transplant shock in plants. Believe it or not, studies have shown that a weak sugar and water solution made with plain sugar given to a plant after transplanting can help recovery time for transplant shock in plants. It can also be used as a transplant shock preventer if applied at the time of transplanting. It only helps with some plants but as this will not harm the plant, it is worth a try. Keep the soil well watered, but make sure that the plant has good drainage and is not in standing water. Wait patiently; sometimes a plant just needs a few days to recover from transplant shock. Give it some time and care for it as you normally would and it should come back on its own.
Here are two of the most popular vegetable plants people grow in there vegetable gardens. Peppers and tomatoes; although a tomato is a fruit; I just thought I would throw that in. I will be writing more about how best to grow these plants and how to take care of them in later columns. There is a little more than just buying some plants and sticking them in the ground. Remember thorough soil preparation is vital. Soil preparation may not be the most glamorous part of gardening, but the effort and time devoted to improving the soil is critical for healthy plants and abundant harvests.
Before you start digging a new garden, become familiar with the basic soil on your property. Know how better to use your time to make the soil as good as it can be. There are a lot of varieties of both peppers and tomatoes to pick from. Another important factor to consider is the rate of plant growth. Tomatoes’ calcium and water requirements increase as the weather warms up and growth rate increases.
Tomatoes: The tomato is everyone’s favorite summer fruit. You can eat them raw, on a sandwich, or in a salad, etc. Tomatoes are a great source of arytenoids, particularly lycopene, which neutralizes free radicals before they can cause damage, therefore, staving off heart attacks. Studies indicate that lycopene has twice the anti-carcinogenic punch of beta-carotene. In addition, tomatoes contain some iron and are high in vitamin C. Protect the prostate, scientists have known for years that regularly eating tomato-based foods can reduce a man’s risk for prostate cancer by up to 35 percent. Studies have shown people eating one serving of pasta with tomato sauce a day for three weeks, the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood dropped by nearly 20 percent. (PSA) is a measure of prostate-cancer cell activity, so the lower the level, the less active the cancer cells. The likely active ingredient in tomatoes is lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is thought to also be protective against lung and stomach cancer.
Planting and growing: Before planting use pulverized limestone to adjust the pH of the soil to 6.8 to 7.2. Most garden soils benefit from the application of at least 5 pounds of pulverized limestone to100 square every three years. Mix the lime thoroughly throughout the top 8 to 10 inches of soil. Lime is best applied in the fall. Use only moderate amounts of additional fertilizer materials enough to keep the tomato plants normally green and vigorous but not luxuriant. About 1.5 pounds of 10-20-10 per 100 square feet mixed into the topsoil just before planting usually is enough. Too much nitrogen will reduce yields. Make sure you plant your tomatoes in an area with good drainage. Where water accumulates, roots are killed or rendered inactive. Tomatoes also need full sun. Apply a thick organic mulch a month or so after transplanting. Tomatoes thrive in a moist soil that is kept free of weeds.
Bell Peppers: Are so great in so many ways, raw, cooked, grilled, etc. Peppers are packed with vitamin C, which helps to fight almost every aspect of aging process, including deterioration of the skin structure and damage to the arteries. Vitamin C is said to quash carcinogenic free radicals, and to protect against memory problems and eye disease. It is a potent immunity booster. Red bell pepper is rich source of lycopene, another renowned anti-carcinogenic nutrient. If you would like to know more about natural foods and their nutritional value; you can find in my book “An-Apple-A-DAY”. www. iuniverse.com
Planting and growing: You can plant your pepper seedlings now that the weather has warmed up. Be sure you have prepared the soil with compost or other organic matter well before planting. Place seedlings about 15″ to 18″ inches apart and in rows 24″ to 36″ inches apart. Soil should be 60 to 70 degrees before planting. Keep the peppers watered and mulch to keep soil moist and weed down. If your pepper plants don’t get enough water they will acquire a bitter taste. Harvest peppers once they reach an edible size. Most bell peppers are green when immature, but can be harvested at that time; most peppers mature will turn red, orange, purple, green and yellow depending on the variety. Harvest peppers by clipping them off, don’t pull fruit off can damage plant. Peppers will produce until fall frost.
Did you know? Strawberries are not berries, but watermelons and bananas are!
If you are just a beginner or have been gardening for a while and would like to know little more, you can get all this information about gardening in my book (THE BLUE BARN) just Google george edward weigel book Blue Barn.You can purchase my books (The Blue Barn) and/or (An-Apple-A-Day) google (www.iUniverse publishing. com) Books, Author: george edward weigel
FOOTNOTE: George Weigel, a Platte County resident, is the founder of Cedar Creek Research, and a freelance writer and a published author specializing in nutrition and organic garden strategies. He is a member of the National Home Gardening Club; member and supporter of Arbor Day Foundation, National Wildlife Federation.