Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Tomato Tutorial

Happy Earth Day!  To celebrate, I planted my tomato seeds.  I know it's really late to start them inside, but ya know, sometimes life gets in the way.  Anyway, I decided to try upside down tomato planting this year.

Last year, we planted heirloom tomatoes and they looked gorgeous until late June, then they got a nasty late blight, which I've heard is getting worse along the east coast.  The leaves turned yellow and fell off, and by fall, most of the plants were dead.  We tried Serenade, an organic fungicide, but it didn't seem to help.  The cucumbers and watermelons didn't fare so well either.

Anyway, it was my hope that by planting this year's tomatoes far away from the garden and in the air, maybe they wouldn't get the blight.  After all, summer isn't summer without tomatoes!

To be frank, I couldn't really afford a topsy turvy.  Plus, the reviews on amazon are actually quite horrible. Instead, I made my own upside down planter from a regular old pot.  After I finished planting the seeds, I realized I should have just turned it right side up and had tomato hanging baskets, but I was trying to mimic the upside down topsy turvy.  

1.  First, I found two old planters.  They already had holes in the bottom, but I cut them with scissors and made them a bit larger.

2.  Next, I flipped them upside down and filled them to the top with potting soil.  It's a good idea to leave about a 1/2" of free space at the top.

3.  I covered the planter with a scrap piece of wood.  It's not exactly pretty, but it works.  Once I had the wood on the top of the planter, I flipped the pot back over.

4.  Lastly, I planted the seeds in the top of the container.  I sprinkled about 5 seeds in each hole, covered them with dirt, and lightly packed them down.  Later I'll see which seedlings start out the strongest and pull the others out.

5.  And we've got a taker!  The first little seedling makes an appearance.  Some of the other seeds are starting to sprout too.  Once the plants get around 5"-10" high, I'll flip the planter over so that the plants are growing upside down.  I'll use the hooks from a hanging basket to hang the planter on my porch.

6.  I started some more seeds inside.  I'll probably transplant some to the ground, and the others into planters.  I hope to also have a few tomato plants in hanging baskets (the right way up, not upside down!).

I really hope some of these tomato plants produce.  I'll update this post as the plants progress.  In conclusion, happy Earth Day!  Go plant something!

: )

1 comment:

ElfRenee said...

Your planter looks awesome!! I hope your tomatoes grow!! I planted my garden last weekend. :)