One of the true joys of summer is the abundance of fresh, delicious produce. Crisp snap beans, sweet peas, refreshing melons, buttery lettuce leaves and succulent berries are among the many delicious summer treats that await home gardeners and local farm stand shoppers. Even folks who don’t claim a green thumb or don’t have space for a home garden, enjoy growing peppers and tomatoes. Peppers and tomatoes can be grown in unused corners of flower beds, along an empty garage wall or as container plants on patios, balconies and decks.
America’s two favorite home-grown veggies, peppers and tomatoes are easy to grow and care for. These popular vegetables are a great place to start if you’re new to vegetable gardening.
- Pepper (Pepper), commonly known as Capsicum, thrives in a sunny location that receives full sun for 6 or more hours per day. Plant in fertile, well-drained soil, keeping soil moist and watering freely during dry spells. Fertilize monthly with a plant fertilizer formulated for vegetables. Peppers grow as low bushy plants and do not require staking. Pick peppers as they mature.
- Tomato (Tomato), also known as Lycopersicon, also thrive in sunny locations that receive a minimum of 6 hours of full sun daily. For best fruit, plant tomatoes in rich, organic, well-drained soil. Keep soil moist; watering freely in dry weather. Apply vegetable fertilizer once a month. Tomatoes grow on long, thick branching stalks. Stake or use tomato cages (available at garden centers) to keep fruit off the ground. Pick tomatoes as they reach full ripeness.
There is no better eating than fresh-off-the-vine, home grown tomatoes and peppers. Freshly picked vegetables turn even ordinary meals into gourmet delights. Sandwiches layered with freshly-picked strips of crisp sweet peppers and succulent tomato rounds take bologna sandwiches to epicurean heights. It’s not too late. Visit your garden center today and pick up some pepper and tomato plants.