Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Great Upside Down Tomato Experiment

You've seen them, the very American looking tomato planters that hang from a hook (somewhere...) the box has "as seen on TV" written in red and white letters and and impossibly lush tomato bush hangs productively from what is essentially a bag. (If you go to the link read some of the reviews- I wish I had!) I will admit I was taken in by the cheapness (is that a word? Is my English becoming all appalling?) and I was buying some cheap hanging pots at a cheap shop and thought "Oooh I have hooks on my pergola, I bet they would be perfect to hang from said hooks, I shall buy one and compare tomato growth all scientific like by planting a tomato in another pot too."
So I did. I bought two little heirloom tomatoes ( I really would like to grow from seed but it just doesn't seem to work for me!)and one went into the hanging pot and one into the AS SEEN ON TV! Upside down tomato planter. Well I say "went in" as if it was just as simple as popping it in a pot but it wasn't, it was actually pretty tricky, I managed to squeeze the roots of the seedling in through the aperture at the bottom and stuff the circle of foam inside around the stem to stop the soil running out but getting the soil in wasn't easy, I tried hanging it from the hook on the pergola but then it was too high for me to lift the bag of potting mix up and trying to scoop it in ended up with me getting rather a large amount of the soil in my hair and on my face, so next I recruited my eldest son to hold the bag whilst I put the dirt in but he is five and the plant dragged on the ground and every time I put more potting mix in the plant got lower and lower so I had to drag my ever patient husband away from his useful pottering to hold the bag as he had the height and strength required.
Both tomato plants had been soaked overnight in seaweed solution to avoid transplant shock bu I think the poor upside down one needed more than that, maybe a three course meal and some opium.
I watered both containers well and hung them up and then got sea weedy water on my head because I should have watered them once they were in-situ.
 Two weeks later and the plant in the pot has grown about five inches and the upside down one is looking well...poxy is a good and accurate description I feel, the leaves are yellow and spotty and it has been growing up at an alarming angle (not down- UP!). Both plants had the same amount of water and seaweed solution, I even threw them  some blood and bone but the upside down one has been doing the plant equivalent of looking at me hollow eyed, claiming it is alright and then coughing blood into it's hanky before trying to hide it from me (can one go too far when using metaphor to personify plants? This writer says no!).
I couldn't bear it anymore, after checking the healthy plant I noted the roots had rapidly spreading and even she was outgrowing her pot so I grabbed a box we found in the shed and planted them out together so they can be free and grow as they are meant to (see the box? That is a sweet box!).Hopefully the upside down one will straighten and flourish and bear much fruit, we shall see... In the meantime can anyone think of anything useful I can do with the seemingly Useless upside down planter bag?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spring and Boasting Etcetera

An age has passed since I last blogged (sounds like a mildly dirty word actually). And Spring has been busy bursting forth all over the place. We have been exploring our surrounds and enjoying sunshine and eating fresh food and gardening and all the right things one does when one emerges from hibernation.
A stylish way wear one's smoothie
The latest trend to take hold here is the green smoothie which has been started up by request from small people. it is interesting to see our children's tastes develop at their own pace. Our nearly five year old loves avocado and strawberries on his weetbix at the moment and raw vegies with dips are very popular too, so if the measure of a mother is (as many seem to think) how many vegetables her children eat I feel like Super Mum at present!
Actually I am bursting with pride as my little folk scramble about on rocks and up fences and ask for vegetables and help each other and ask inquisitive questions. They are most devoted to the chickens and the garden and carefully watering and feeding. the raised bed has been planted with lettuce and tagetes marigolds and basil and a variety of greens and it was done by the boys. they come out in the morning and collect greens from the garden for their alarming looking smoothies. Three year old Lincoln thanks the chickens sweetly when he collect the eggs and I have the overwhelming feeling that this style of child raising is right. I have to be firm with them and I do find if I am not taking care of my own stress that my tolerance of their sometime too vigorous shenanigans is greatly minimised but we are all learning together!
I wonder what other people's children are doing that make their parents beam with pride? It seems that sharing joy in your children (which I think is warranted after the tough first couple of years they put you through and should be welcomed) is seen as boasting and skiting  and should be avoided. Well don't avoid it, share your joy here and I promise you you don't run the risk of boring me with their antics!