Thursday, June 5, 2008

the great tomato experiment of '08

i am generally the cautious, logical type. but that doesn't prevent me getting a wild hair every once in a while. and growing tomatoes upside down? doesn't get much wilder than that. for me, anyway. (note: this is a lie. i am always coming up with one scheme or another. ideas just come to me. sometimes in the shower. frequently in a dream. more on this at a later date. just know for now that i really am a cautious, logical person, but creativity occasionally explodes directly from my brain and right onto tim's to-do list.)

my mom grew a garden every year when i was a kid. tim's mom, too. they enjoyed the whole "working the earth" thing, sure, but their gardens' primary purpose was to feed their families. fresh produce during the summer and monster canning sessions to "put up" peas, tomatoes, green beans, etc. for the winter.

i, however, do not till the earth. i do not toil under the summer sun. i am quite certain i could operate a lawnmower, but i am just as certain that i would not. (this is not to say i never go outside. i spend the majority of my day outside. but only because timmy is an outside kind of guy.)

i did try to grow tomatoes and peppers in decorative barrels last year. actually, no. i didn't try. i grew. but the harvest was paltry due to the scarcity of direct sunlight in our yard. delicious but paltry. and i tried to grow an herb garden in my kitchen this winter and spring. i lavished love and attention and an appropriate daily amount of grow light upon my seeds until they became spindly adolescents who never, ever matured until i eventually lost interest after months of care and passive aggressively forgot to water them so they wilted and then dried up and so they remain to this day, a sad, crispy testament to my gardening skills.

monday during naptime, i read blogs. i came upon oh my stinkin heck's upside down tomatoes post. i was smitten. i vowed that i, too, would grow tomatoes upside down.

the abridged version (as if brevity is my forte) is this: i bought metal hanging planters (learned from others' mistakes and ascertained there was a hole in the center bottom) with coconut fiber liners . i cut a slit in the bottom of each liner large enough to easily pass my tomato plant's root ball through, from under the bottom of the planter to the inside of the liner. then i pulled the coconut fibers around the slit to kind of mesh it all back together around the stem of the tomato plant so no soil would fall through. filled the planter with potting soil and planted herbs in the top of the basket. then i hung them on hooks on my front porch, watered them and took some pictures.

pretty girl tomato & delicious herbs

see how the tomato plant is poking through the bottom of the planter? upside down? see how the basket is not hanging in a strictly vertical orientation? it was really, really, windy! so windy that at one point, timmy (who, with ethan, was working alongside me with the plastic herb pots and some driveway gravel, planting a bindweed vine and another weed i'd pulled from the shrubs in front of the porch) screamed out, "oh, no! i have soil in my eyes! call the fire department and the garbage men!"

loves me some rosemary & chives

see the pretty rosemary and those sassy chives? this one's got an "early girl" tomato plant. i used two early girls and one "tumbling tom." up top, we've got the rosemary and chives. another has oregano and chives and the third (the first picture above) has flat leaf parsley, sweet basil and cilantro. yumster!


see my sleepy husband? he works nights. but that didn't stop me from waking him up so he could marvel at my mad gardening skilz. hmm, now that i really look, he doesn't seem as in awe as i thought he'd be. in fact, he seems a bit puzzled, no?

*edited to add: whoowee! i didn't realize i could click on tim's picture above and up would pop the original size photo. i can see my reflection in his eyes! how cool is that?! note to self: next time, photoshop about 30lbs off my reflection.

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