Vegetable Planting Basics

Vegetable Planting Basics

Part of Ep. 602 Back to Basics

Plant eggplant, tomato, and pepper with UW Horticulturist Dr. Astrid Newenhouse.

Premiere date: May 31, 1998

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
I'm with university of Wisconsin horticulturist, Dr. Astrid Newenhouse. Astrid is also the co-author of these extension publications which are a great vegetable planting guide for Wisconsin. Astrid every time I see you, you're digging.

Astrid:
I like digging, Shelley.

Shelley:
Well, what are you digging for today? What are you planting?

Astrid:
We're planting tender vegetables and that would be egg plant, tomato, and pepper. And they're tender because they can't take less than forty degrees. In fact, it's better to wait until it's fifty degrees to plant these outside.

Shelley:
And that is if you want some fruit set.

Astrid:
Right.

Shelley:
well, I usually water them before I bring them out, but I've noticed that you brought a bucket along.

Astrid:
yeah, I like to soak the whole plant so that the entire root bulb gets wet. This pepper is in a peat pot and with a peat pot you can plant the entire container, but what you want to be sure to do is rip off the paper in the top ??? All the way around so that when you plant it, the paper doesn't act as a wick and draw moisture away from the soil.

Shelley:
Which would just dry it out immediately. I see a lot of vegetables sold in these cell? Packs. How do you handle taking the plants out of these?

Astrid:
We have to be really gentle with transplants. What you'd never want to do is pull it up by the stems. Instead, just cradle the plant like that, loosen the root ball, turn it upside down.

Shelley:
No yanking.

Astrid:
And there's your plant.

Shelley:
Now frequently, if I get it late in the season in particular, the roots have circled in on themselves and it has circled root bound.

Astrid:
right.

Shelley:
Do you recommend cutting the root or actually pulling them apart?

Astrid:
I would very gently pull those apart a little bit. So I'm going to dig my hole. And I'm going to dig it a little bit wider than the root ball is, but no deeper because this is an egg plant. With egg plant and pepper, you want to be sure that you plant it just as deep as it was in the container.

Shelley:
No special treatment for a plant in a peat pot, same depth.

Astrid:
Same depth, yeah. So it's a little wider, just as deep, some nice loose dirt around it. Tamp??? It in and we're done

Shelley:
You know, Astrid, in my garden I have a plant stake that's exactly a foot long and I use that when measuring between my plants. What do you use?

Astrid:
I use my trowel because that's also a foot long.

Shelley:
Good idea.

Astrid:
And we'll be eighteen inches away from this egg plant so that's one and a half trowel distances for our tomato.

Shelley:
For our next plant. Now let's talk about planting the tomato because these can be planted a lot differently than the eggplants and peppers.

Astrid:
That's right, a tomato forms adventitious roots, roots in unexpected places all the way up and down this stem. So even though this is a leggy plant, we can plant it this deep and it would form roots all the way up and down.

Shelley:
So I can do some bargain shopping and get the leggy tomatoes.

Astrid:
That's right.

Shelley:
Now I've seen people do it in deep holes or in trenches. Do you prefer one or the other?

Astrid:
With a leggy plant, I like to trench it because you could dig a hole this deep, but that's hard to do and it's also--\e

Shelley:
It's a deep hole.

Astrid:
Yeah, it's also, the soil is colder that far down, so what I like to do is dig a trench and lay the plant in it so that it forms its roots all the way up and down the stem.

Shelley:
And how much of the plant would you leave exposed at the top?

Astrid:
I would leave about two inches, where the first two good leaves are.

Shelley:
And then so we'd be covering the rest up.

Astrid:
Let me get this hole a little deeper. So cover up the roots, cover up the stem and in a couple of days the top part will ride itself up to the sun. It'll have roots up and down the stem there.

Shelley:
A real strong root system. Let's talk about caging. Unlike peppers and eggplants, tomatoes really need the support of a cage.

Astrid:
right, and I like to do that right away now because it's easier when the plant's little than when it's grown all big and floppy.

Shelley:
Sure, why struggle later.

Astrid:
Yeah.

Shelley:
Okay, That's a great idea. Thanks, Astrid. And don't forget to water your young transplants right away.

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