Laura’s Growing Tips
In my opinion, no garden—not even a container garden is complete without tomatoes, peppers, and, if there’s enough room, eggplant. They’re all easy to grow, nutritious, and have a zillion culinary uses, especially when paired with your favorite Regusci Wine. Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant are also all in the same Nightshade Family. Nightshade vegetables tend to share the same kinds of growing preferences, pests, and diseases. Enjoy some of our growing tips below!
Tomatoes: We like to plant our tomato plants 24″ apart and approximately 8” deep in full sun. The goal is to always plant deeper than they grew in their container, so bury them deeply, all the way up to their first leaves. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and like a fertile, deep, well-drained soil with plenty of phosphorus and calcium. We like to amend the soil with a scoop of crushed oyster shells in each hole when planting to provide the plants with calcium. Tomatoes need support when growing, whether its staking or caging. We use redwood stakes at planting time. Every gardener seems to have a favorite method of watering tomatoes, but two rules are inflexible: (1) Don’t overhead-water tomatoes. (2) Tomatoes don’t like soils that alternate between wet and dry, so keep them evenly watered. Generally speaking, tomatoes mature 70-80 days planting.
Eggplant: We plant our eggplant 18-24″ apart and 6” deep in full sun. Plant slightly deeper than they grew in their container. Once planted, keep the plants watered regularly. The fruit can dry out and become bitter if allowed to dry out, so mulch, water often, and add organic amendments such as crushed oyster shells. It is important to be mindful of over-fertility. Too much nitrogen can result in large, bushy plants that produce only one small set of fruit. We like to use redwood stakes to help keep the plant sturdy. Generally speaking, eggplants mature 70-80 days after planting.
Peppers: Peppers can be planted 12”-18” apart and 6” deep in full sun. Plant slightly deeper than they were growing in their container. Peppers thrive in well-drained, fertile soil. Organic sources of Phosphorus and Calcium are suggested for best results. We like to use redwood stakes to help keep our pepper plants sturdy. Generally speaking, peppers mature 70-80 days after being planted.