Monday, July 13, 2009

Upside Down and Growing

Here on the facility, we don't have much room to garden. There isn't a back yard that's just ours, we just have this little patio area for privacy. In front of the office there's a little area we took nasty overgrown sticker bushes out of and put in some rose bushes and an awning that we've hung some baskets on. That's it. The rest of the facility we've just got to keep from overgrowing. That in itself is a lot of work. Blackberry bushes are the jungle that we try to keep at bay here.

So, we like vegetables and had seen the planter advertised everywhere for growing tomatoes upside down. When I looked into it, I saw that it doesn't come with a plant or seedling or even a seed. I was going to have to do some homework and pick out something. To make matters worse, I also see that not only can you grow tomatoes upside down in this overpriced plastic bag but other vegetables like peppers and cucumbers.

I look around on the internet to see if anybody has posted anything about the planters and how they worked out. I found has postings about her gardening including the planters. Then, there were some truly innovative people who made their own upside down planters out of various things like shopping bags and 5-gallon buckets. We liked that idea better so we tried it out.

I picked up a 2-gallon bucket and brought it home. Superman cut a hole in the bottom with a power tool, either a drill or saw and we put the little tomato through. Now, I picked the healthiest plant I could find, when really I should have gotten the smallest because we really butchered the poor thing getting it into the bottom. Also, I picked up a Roma but it turns out someone has mislabeled or switched tags because these look more like an Early Girl. But as you can see it's clearly surviving my lack of green thumb just fine. We lined the bottom of the bucket with coconut husk stuff in the garden department, seems to be used for lining shelf or window boxes but very little dirt has fallen out, perhaps a little dust sediment the first few weeks.

We planted this in early May and now we have some color showing.

We also got two pepper plants, a red and a yellow. We love cooking and eating these because they are sweeter tasting but in the stores here we find they are four and five times the price of green peppers. We wonder what color they will end up being since the tomato is not a Roma.

We were hanging them on the cyclone fence but almost immediately we could see that the fence would not handle the weight for long. We put hooks on the wall on the opposite side of the patio and we were moving them from one to the other as the sun moved so that they would have a full day's exposure. Superman started thinking about a hanger of some kind that could be wheeled around the patio when the plants started getting bigger and we could lift them anymore. He put this together.

He used 2 x 6's (I think, it may have been 2 x 8's) and put swivel wheels underneath that supported 300 lbs each.

So, far we seem to be successful. I worried at one point that bees wouldn't be able to find the blossoms and polinate the plants but they apparently did, the tomato has about a dozen fruits on it and the peppers both have 6 or 8 on them each. We wheel it around slowly on a daily basis and have good stretching to water it in the morning, once a week we put a weed and feed on them.

We feel proud of our unique container garden.

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