Last year I started the pepper and tomato plants I needed for the 2015 gardens from seeds at the beginning of March. By May all the plants were big enough to harden off and begin planting in the gardens. At the end of the season I had picked more than 1,000 peppers and enough tomatoes to can everything I wanted and freeze some for winter canning projects.
This year I am hopeful that we will have another banner year even though there are going to be some changes in the types of peppers I plant this year. I harvested and canned so many Romanian, szegedi, and white cloud sweet peppers last year, that this year I do not plan on planting more than a few Romanian sweet peppers for eating raw. This year I plan on planting Anaheim, poblano, jalapeno, yellow banana (hot and sweet), and yellow bell peppers. My hope is to harvest enough of each of these to can/freeze for the next two years. This way I can concentrate on Romanian and szegedi peppers in 2017.
As for the tomatoes, well my plan is to expand this section of the garden. Although I harvested enough for what I wanted to can last year, I have since come up with additional projects I need fresh tomatoes for and hope to be able to fulfill my tomato needs by doubling the amount of plants. Last year I had just 15 canning tomato plants, which yielded more than 250 tomatoes. The area I have designated this year for will hold 28 canning tomato plants, 2 cherry tomato plants for eating and 2 regular eating tomato plants.
To get things rolling, I spent the afternoon preparing soil for planting seeds, filling seed trays with soil, planting the seeds, watering, labeling, and covering all the flats of pepper and tomato seeds.
And so it begins — spring planting 2016, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.