chal-lenge: noun a calling to account or into question

Follow along as I challenge the tricks, tips, clever craft and decorating ideas and "simple" recipes that we clip, bookmark, and "pin" for trial at a later date.

Are they really worth the effort? Time (and I) will tell!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hanging Tomato Plant

All danger of frost has passed in the Finger Lakes! How we wait to reach that landmark time of year Now it's time to plant a garden. Last year I decided to convert my never-very-successful deck landscaping into a vegetable garden. The garden was a moderate success producing a few meals of beans (yellow, green and purple), plenty of zucchini, a few green peppers and some cherry tomatoes. Not really much of a crop to claim, but I loved the idea of a garden nonetheless. For at least a little while I could pretend that organic really meant something to me!

Last year, I started my seeds inside. I planted much more than I needed and transplanted much more than I needed, as well. I think one of the reasons for my small crop was that I overplanted the garden. I just couldn’t bear to “destroy” my little seedlings. By the end of the season I realized that I hadn’t done myself any favors because the plants were too crowded to produce. This year I decided to let someone else do the seedling nurturing thing. Maybe if I don’t become so attached, I won’t have any trouble thinning plants out when needed.

It was the perfect week-end for planting so I headed up to my favorite farm market. It was an absolute feast for the eyes. I tried to keep myself focused on vegetables but got a little distracted with the hanging baskets. Oh well, I did need those, too! I brought home zucchini, a roma tomato, a grape tomato, yellow and red peppers and cubanelle peppers. On second thought, I returned to the store the next day and bought some eggplant and a variety of herbs.

My experiment this year is to plant tomatoes and peppers upside down. You may have seen the topsy turvy tomato planter. This planter claims that water and nutrients move directly from the root to the fruit increasing production. I don’t know anyone who actually had any success with this planter, but a friend of mine claimed great success with planting in five-gallon buckets. His claim is that the larger sized bucket and the heavier planter protect the plant roots resulting in a no-fail crop.

Up for the challenge, I decided to give it a try. I planted my two tomato and three pepper plants in their own buckets. Tom acted as my technical director and the process went very smoothly. It's been about six hours and the plants have not fallen out of the holes. I have high hopes for success. Planting in the buckets did free up a little bit of space in my small garden and I am looking forward to a full “30 pounds of fruit” (according to topsy turvy) from my planters. I’m also hoping that my pesky woodchuck foe will not be able to reach my new plants. I’m not sure how much wood a woodchuck can chuck but I do know how many zucchini he can eat!

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