Friday, July 20, 2012

EZ Tomatoes 101

It's an unbelievably hot and sticky week here in the Midwest.  Our meals have dwindled down to sandwiches, salads and an occasional frozen entree.  Even with A/C it's too hot to be in the kitchen very long.  I guess this is because of being drained of energy during the time we have to be outdoors.
My husband is having a love affair with his tomatoes this year and I feel he deserves some kudos for keeping our plants alive during our exceptional weather. 

We live in a non-agricultural area in the foothills of the Ozarks.  When I say non-ag, I mean our bumper crop is rocks.  These rocks don't go away after you slave with picks and shovels until your hands bleed to get them out of the garden ~ they return the following Spring due to the freezing and thawing of the ground.  The only way to have a truly productive full-scale garden that doesn't work you to death is to have a raised bed garden, which is quite pricey once you factor in the foundation/framework, topsoil and other soil amendments.  Not for this old couple anyway!

We decided that we can live from veggies gleaned from produce stands, farmers markets and the local Town & County except for our beloved homegrown tomatoes. Hubby rigged up some 5-gallon buckets by drilling several drainage holes 3 to 4 inches up from the bottom of the buckets.  He t filled the buckets with good quality (Miracle Gro) potting soil and then planted his baby plants that were no taller than a pinkie finger.  Here's what he has now ~

He placed the buckets on the south side of the garage so they can easily be watered.  The bonus to growing tomatoes in containers is that there is little to no weeds to pull and harvesting is so much easier.  Around here it's not wise to be reaching under plants on the ground.  We have a total of 12 plants and these have kept ourselves, our closest neighbors whose plants didn't survive and several of our tenants with fresh tomatoes all summer.

Hubby has been itching to try growing one of those upside-down tomatoes that are sold on TV so he devised his own version, which are working pretty well.  He took an old hanging plastic flower pot and cut out a circle about 2" or so in diameter in the bottom.  While I held the pot he inserted the baby tomato plant into the hole with the roots inside the pot and the green stems facing downward and then gently filled the pot with soil, pressing it down lightly.  He then took the drip saucer from the pot and place it loosely on top of the soil to give the root area a little shade for the roots.  You could also use a coffee can lid or any old plastic lid you might have.  These two hanging pots are doing well, although I fail to see the benefit of having your tomatoes grow in this manner.  It's a novelty for sure!

Sewing...quilting...Not much of that going on here except for working on some group projects.  I have been having trouble with some blocks for a Quilt of Valor project.  Yesterday I thought I had made a block good enough to go into the quilt of a wounded soldier and posted it in our group section online and immediately a major mistake jumped out at of my star points is the wrong color!!!  As ye sew, so shall ye rip!!!

The way this block is constructed (on the diagonal)  it will be easier for me to make a new block than to rip and redo this one!!  Back to the sewing machine for me today!

Peace & Plenty....Barb

1 comment:

  1. So glad your tomatoes are doing well. We got back from vacation and the squirrels had gotten all of ours again. Needless to say DH was very unhappy. 24 plants and haven't gotten a single one yet. Guess I will buying mine from a road side stand or something. Heck, didn't even get any green ones big enough to fry. UGHHH. He is talking about caging in the whole thing next year. I think the squirrels will still figure out a way to get them. What is your secret for keeping the squirrels out of them. Did red pepper and everything. I am for doing them in pots, even if I have to bring them in at night. Very disappointed.