Need some advise

My Brother has had problems growing tomatoes and peppers............he has clay soil, poor drainage and just had soil tested and came back with ph 7.7. Location is Central Michigan. What can he do to get decent tomato/pepper crop this year?
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snipped-for-privacy@theShire.org wrote:

Tomatoes need a soil pH of 5.8 to 7.0 for maximum production.
http://www.extension.org/pages/13046/raising-soil-ph-and-soil-acidificati on#Soil_Acidification
file:///Volumes/ExternalOne/Gardening%20%C6%92/Soil%20%C6%92/Soil_pH.html #Altering_soil_pH
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snipped-for-privacy@theShire.org wrote:

what kind of light does his garden get? full sun is best. if he has more shade use smaller patio varieties.
we use raised beds to keep conditions from being too soggy for long periods of time. in clay it is a bit of work to get set up decently, but as you do it this allows you to dig in plenty of organic matter. as this consumes some soil nutrients it is best done in the fall so that by spring most of it is rotted. turned again in the spring before planting.
we're also in mid-michigan and have been growing tomatoes and green peppers without much trouble. in comparison the gardeners around us with sandier soils have had a lot more trouble with the heat and periods of drought.
some extra tips:
- for tomatoes pick the tallest starts and bury them deeply, the stems will send out more roots at the leaf nodes and that will give your tomatoes a lot more tolerance for drought, but will also give the plant a much more extensive root system. we do this for the beefsteak tomatoes. cherry tomatoes are so productive we don't bother with this for them.
- both peppers and tomatoes like warm soil (which clay in too much shade might not get very warm at all). don't mulch heavily until after the plants are in and the soil is warmed up.
songbird
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On 5/29/12 8:21 PM, snipped-for-privacy@theShire.org wrote:

Before planting, broadcast a generous amount of gypsum over the bed. Lightly water it. After 2-4 days, water it again. Repeat the watering until the gypsum has mostly disolved and rinsed into the soil.
Allow the soil to dry until it is only slightly moist. Spread organic matter and superphosphate (or bone meal) over the bed. Dig it in to the depth of the tines of a spading fork (which is definitely NOT a pitchfork).
Better: Dig out a wide trench the depth of the tines, piling the dirt to one side. Dig out that trench again so that it is as twice as deep, piling the dirt separately. Parallel to that trench, dig another trench, piling the top dirt into the bottom of the first trench and the bottom dirt onto the top of the first trench; there should be no walls of dirt separating the trenches. Repeat across the bed, filling the last trench with the dirt from the first trench. The length of the tines of a spading fork is called a "spit"; this digging is thus "double spitting".
Best: Rent a rototiller. Till the bed to the depth of double spitting.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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