Summer-like heat has descended on my area much sooner than anyone anticipated, like mother nature decided to just fast-forward through spring. This after record level cold weather lingered longer than normal into April. As a result, I had to wait (read: chose to wait, being a super-cautious gardener at times) longer than I wanted to before getting my seeds started, and now am having to hurry up and get the garden tilled and ready for planting. So…we’ll see what happens.
I’m growing some new tomatoes this year; I wanted to really focus on disease resistance and heat/humidity tolerance. So I ordered ‘Peron’, ‘Tropic VFN’, and ‘Legend’ from my usual favorite seed catalogs: Territorial Seed, Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and Rare Seeds. Two of these are determinate and two are indeterminate, though I can’t recall which ones are which. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash will be growing where I had red clover growing since last fall as a cover crop to replenish nitrogen. I’m looking forward to seeing what difference this will make for this year’s crops.
I also have to give a “shout out” plug for Neptune’s Harvest fertilizer (not a paid endorsement; I don’t normally discuss specific brands unless the product works very well for me). I’ve been using this natural fish emulsion/seaweed concentrate for a few years now with pretty awesome results. My vegetables, herbs, annuals and perennials get through the hottest, driest period of summer much better than before I started using Neptune’s Harvest. The plants stay healthier, and the flowers/fruits more abundant. And, their fertilizer seems to get to work pretty quickly. Just days after the second application, my tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers looked noticeably further along and quite vigorous.
They make several different formulations. I recommend feeding your vegetable seedlings with their Tomato & Vegetable fertilizer for a few weeks, to help them beef up with lush, leafy growth. Then, when you start seeing flower buds setting, switch to their Rose & Flower version to help them produce more and larger flowers and fruit! You do have to apply it more frequently than granular fertilizer, but the risk of burning the roots is much less.