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Garden Guru: Planting tomatoes and peppers part 1

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles

It’s about time for tomatoes and peppers.

With these unusually cold nights and warm days those plants don’t know what to do! But they are readily becoming available at your local nurseries in seedling form. If you want to start from seeds, now is the time.

For seed sowing this time of year, it’s a good idea to start them indoors using an old egg carton or singular peat pots that you can plant directly in the soil when you have at least three leaf shoots coming out from the main stem.

If you are diehard on starting the already planted and growing starters you buy, do so either in containers or a protected area away from cold drafts at night.

I just got back from a walk with my Golden Retriever “Danica” and already I can see tomato plants in the neighborhood doing rather well. They will be okay as long as they are covered with an old pillow case or a cut-up bed sheet on cold nights. DO NOT USE PLASTIC! The breathing ability of the fabric is superior to the plastic.

I always recommend an organic fertilizer this time of the season as opposed to the faster acting chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers will promote fast growth, however, they can also damage the new growth and weaken or “toast” the plant’s entire growth system.

By the way, in containers all you need is a premium POTTING SOIL compared to PLANTING COMPOST for the ground and garden bed.

Part 2 next week.

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Emilio “Elmo” Telles is a garden expert at Armstrong Garden Center 5816 San Fernando Road, Glendale  91202.

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