Tag Archives: topsy-turvey

It’s a Red-Tomato Day

It has happened:

July 15, 2009, yesterday, there they were: two small, red, Oregon Spring tomatoes.  I was feeding the straw bales and they just appeared.

I wasn’t expecting anything from that tomato plant because it seems to have stayed so small, stocky, but compact.  However, upon re-reading the tag that came with it this morning, I see that it is quite determinate and needs no staking, but produces mature fruit within 60 days (it has been in the straw bale for about 6 weeks, so, of course).  So heads up for you patio gardeners: Oregon Spring= good choice.

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But anyway, my point?  I have bacon in the fridge and two lovely tomatoes on my counter.  It is a sign from God that I can go on.

In other tomato news:

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The upside-down tomato thing/project/experiment I am trying is going ok, I think.  The plant is definitely growing and seems, actually to be thriving in its’ protected locale.  Pictured above: the night it was first placed and then the two-week picture from last week (today would be three weeks, no picture yet).  I noticed yesterday it has a good little bunch of flowers, aka future tomatoes, on it.  I just have to remember to water it.  Geesh. (That is a Roma and a tomatillo residing below in straw)

Misc. Garden Updates:

Some nasty worms have descended upon and are chowing down on all my petunia buds leaving quite the trail of poo-poo behind, yet I cannot find and destroy them.  Grrrrrr…..And the sugar snaps are keeping me snacking daily for the past two weeks.  Not enough to share yet. ; )

Playing in dirt is good for the soul…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Check the carrots and discipline the cukes.


Yes, that’s right.  It is June 25 and I am just now getting my fake-tomato-topsy-turvey-thing-a-ma-jig done.  I would recommend you do it earlier than this. 

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I bought a new 5-gallon paint bucket, some potting soil, and a Mountain Pride Tomato.  I don’t even know if it is determinate or indeterminate.  Guess I should read the little marker.

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We drilled a hole in the bottom of the bucket (about 2″).  We drilled a series of holes in the lid (I will water and feed through these holes).

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I removed almost all of the branches so the tomato plant could be “planted deeply” (is it still “deep” if it is upside down?).  Dave held the bucket and the suspended tomato root ball while I filled in with soil and vermiculite.  I sprinkled some granular fertilizer on top, which will work its’ way down through as I water.

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If I’d started with a smaller plant or not worried about going “deep,” I could have used less soil.  It is pretty heavy, so a strong hanger is in order. 

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Popped the lid on (it will even recieve rain!), and hung it about 6 1/2 feet up on the southeast corner of the house where it will get lots of hot sun.  It is almost directly above the tomatillo in the straw bale.  I surrounded it with some leftover bamboo shade I had hanging around for aesthetics.

I am truly afraid to face my neighbors. ;]

I would not expect to be eating fruit from this plant until mid-September at this late date.  But that is OK.  All the tomatoes in the straw bales are producing already and may need a break by then!

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Cost: bucket, $3.50; bracket for hanging, $6.99; tomato, $3.50 (could have gotten that cheaper at a local center); 3 gallons of potting soil (practically free from a Lowe’s clearance), $1.00…so since you can buy an “authentic” topsy-turvey for about $10, no $$ savings, BUT mine will withstand micro-bursts and looks better.  And that makes me happy enough.

I’ll try to give you updates.  We’ll see…


I have determined my gardening style to be “experimental.” 

I don’t like doing the same thing twice.  I like to grow things in unexpected places.  I like French intensive gardeing, square foot gardening and am really in to this  straw bale gardening right now.   I’d even like to try hydroponic gardening sometime, despite the fact that I have grave doubts about the quality and flavor of things grown in water (I believe in soil).

I have to admit, I rolled my eyes a lot when I first started seeing these upside-down gardens on TV.  I checked out their website and good grief: people are really doing this thing!

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Therefore, I am going to have make my very own topsy-turvy-upside-down tomato grower.  Why?   Because that is the experiment part.  I don’t want to buy “their” cheap-looking plastic aparatus.  I want to make my own ghetto version…from a big, plastic paint can. Yes, I do.

I’ll post pictures.  I think it is going to be pretty cool!  It’ll be like tomatoes raining down on me from heaven above!


pictured: people’s purchased topsy-turvey planters