August 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
Finally, the topsy turvy tomato planters yielded edible fruit! I had grown something that I could consume! Day One Hundred Twenty-Nine was certainly an exciting moment in my life. I picked the ripe red fruit and made a meal of them.
Some of the tomatoes turned out better than others. After some intensive internet research looking at photographs of distorted fruit (like WEbMD for gardening) I found an image that matched the discoloration of my Mountain Pride strain, and the diagnosis was Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. Damn you, TSWV! It could also be stink bugs, from another source, but based on the fact that that plant has YET to recover (four weeks later), I’m going with the former. There was also some growth cracking, where it goes from dry to very wet weather, causing, well, a growth spurt of the fruit, and then a crack. I love the self-explanatory names. At least the Better Boys were doing better.
To utilize this fresh organic (no pesticides) home grown source I wanted to make an easy dish, that really took advantage of the flavor of the fruit of my labor (pun intended). I decided to do a caprese salad, garnished with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. A tasty treat without a lot of fuss (call me Martha Stewart).
And the tomatoes didn’t disappoint. While they probably tasted similar to most tomatoes I could have bought in the grocery store, to my palate they were perfect. I’m sure I could taste the influence of all the hard work I put in planting, fertilizing, and watering those beasts. If I had sung to them they would have tasted musical.
I gobbled up the dish, sharing with Patrick of course. For the next few days I made plenty of tomato-mozzarella-basil salad along with a large portion of bruschetta, but still we have tomatoes in the fridge.
And while the Mountain Pride plant has withered away to nearly nothing, the Better Boy has new fruit. Come two weeks from this posting, I may be throwing tomatoes like the Spanish Tomatina. Ole!
May 26, 2011 § 1 Comment
On Day Fifty-Three I put my Woot! purchase to use. I planted tomatoes in the Topsy Turvy tomato planter.
I went to Lowe’s after work to pick out some tomatoes to plant, not knowing anything about tomato plants. I chose Better Boy because the woman next to me asked one of the gardeners which was the best and it was his recommendation, and Mountain Pride because I liked the description and it said it was Heirloom. I’m not even sure I know what “heirloom tomato” means, but it’s what all the salads are made of in the fancy restaurants, so it sounded good to me.
I got home with my purchases and set about deciding where I would hang these lovely upside down tomato trees. I figured the easiest place would be in the corner of the front porch since I could attach the hooks to the beams under the roof and it seemed like that spot would get enough sun. I mean, the heat comes streaming into the house late afternoon. But then I reconsidered. It really wasn’t all that sunny there, with the giant oak tree in our front yard obstructing the light most of the time. On the instructions, it was made very clear that tomatoes need a lot of sunlight.
So I did what I always do when I have some sort of household question and phoned my parents. My dad told me that he had bought some six foot hooks you put in the ground for his upside down tomato plant. At Lowes. Where I had just come from. And which was a terrible trafficy mess to drive to and from. I figured I could wait until the next day and instead make the trash can compost pile I had picked up material to make for Day Fifty-Four. Except that I was missing an arbor for the drill bit. Which could be found at Lowes. Doh.
In the end, I opted to hang the plants in their original intended location and then I could make a return trip to the hardware store the next day to pick up the six foot hooks and drill part to complete my weekend activities.
I followed the instructions to a T, only breaking off one limb of one of the tomatoes. I’m sorry, Mountain Pride. And although I purchased and installed the shepherd’s hook into the ground, the weight of the plants toppled the darn thing over. So in the end (and after several trips to the hardware store), I hung them over the sunny side of the back porch. And because I am a bit behind in posting these daily blogs, I can also show you how well they have flourished.
I can’t wait to eat my heirloom tomatoes.
April 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
I don’t know what new activity I am going to do every day. Some days, I plan ahead, but for the most part I have a back up list of ideas and suggestions and friends who will add to it at any time. Sometimes, a randomly great thing comes along. On Day Thirty-Five I had actually planned a new experience. A Zumba class. Alas, still waging a fight in the last battles of a cold, I decided that burning a purported 800 calories an hour wasn’t the best idea for my weakened immune system.
I had first heard of woot! from a coworker of mine, and throughout the last couple of years had randomly checked the site to see if they were featuring a daily deal I might be interested in. I had heard of some really cool specials, and with the couponing bug in my system, I was all about saving money. Well, on Day Thirty-Five, I found my item. A Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter! A pack of two! I could grow something and eat it!
I’ve always fancied myself as having a green thumb, despite growing evidence to the contrary. My parents have a flourishing garden, so it must not be hereditary. Last year I started my own herb garden from seed. I was thrilled when the little buds popped out of the soil starter kit. No more pricey fresh basil and rosemary. Between the time I took the babies from under their protective plastic greenhouse to mature outdoors and before I could move them to their own individual pots they had all withered. Pouring rains and blistering suns didn’t help. I also planted wildflower seeds in the front yard. But they never bloomed either.
So I am mostly super excited about the possibility of growing upside down tomatoes. I fully plan on nourishing this backwards garden and cannot wait to eat the fruit of my labor.
Because, with three hundred sixty-five new things to do this year, eating something I’ve grown would be pretty amazing.