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?
Tomatoes need a soil pH of 5.8 to 7.0 for maximum production.
what kind of light does his garden get? full
sun is best. if he has more shade use smaller
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
- 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.
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
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
Best: Rent a rototiller. Till the bed to the depth of double spitting.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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