It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Upsy Downsy Thank You

Tipper, the gracious hostess at Blind Pig & The Acorn, sent me a present for just being me.
Nah, really I think she holds monthly drawings using the names of the people who comment during that month, wow, I find all that extremely admirable. Anywho, I have had the present, an Upsy Downsy tomato pot, and recently got it potted up with tomato plants from my neighbor and tomato plant lady, Laurie Miller.
I told Laurie what I was after and she suggested the variety, Celebrity. She said Celebrity didn't mind being in a rather smallish pot and was a determinate type tomato. So I loaded up with four and some other selections.
I had just come from Lacamas Community's Saturday Market, where along with chatting for a while to Kathy and Jim, I picked up four or so Roma tomatoes, so at Laurie's I went for some fancied up version of a paste tom, a cherry and Bet picked up an impossible to grow gynormous beefsteak tom, (a slight paraphrasing of Laurie's words perhaps).
Ahh Bet, always picking up the hard to train and live with companions, but she has just the personality for it. If left up to the rest of us her dog would have been living permanently in a kennel, her horse shipped to the glue factory, and this tomato would still be at Laurie's waiting for some other person wanting to take on a trial of patience and tender yet stern constant care.
By the way, her dog, Martin, is now a dear and we love to spend time with him, well all of us except Terry, and we all have high hopes for her stubborn willful horse, Ivan, whom everyone can see is really a dear underneath it all but just can't seem to help himself and is always being naughty. But if anyone can get through to him and sweet talk him into doing things right it will be Bet for sure who does it.

Oops, back to the tomatoes. The pot Tipper sent me is the lovely beige one. When I took it out of the package I recognized the bottom as looking a lot like the bottom of my fuchsia pots. And as I love to do different things and only love it better when I can dive in a pool of different I decided to do more than just one Upsy Downsy. That is why I bought four Celebrity tomatoes at Laurie's instead of just one.
I have lots of spare fuchsia pots this year as I am on a fuchsia growing strike right now so I clipped out the center of three of my spare pots.
I noticed that I had four Celebs and an unmarked tomato that looked a lot like the other four, but I was sure that I bought four not five. Not sure why I wanted to do four upside down tomatoes and the experimenter tester in me was squirming around I decided to do a Celeb in a big upright pot, that way it could give Bet's tomato some company on the Laundry House porch.
Her tomato can't experience any rain in August and we always have one week of rain usually right after the third of August, so Bet and I decided to put her Porterhouse in a pot under the protection of the Laundry House porch.
Porter and the control Celebrity (are any celebrities controlled?) have been joined by Jolly Elf, a promising cherry, actually grape, tomato with a brix level of up to 10%, that's a sugar count Dirt will explain in his wine making post during raspberry season. I let him baffle you with mumbo jumbo about brix and all that. But an average tomato has a level of 6% and average watermelon 12% and an average apple 10%, so I'd say that a 10 brix tomato must be pretty sweet and mouth popping!
I still had an extra clipped out fuchsia pot and the whole scene would look much more balanced if there were just one green pot on either side of the beige pot but I tossed the unmarked tomato in the spare pot any way. It seems kind of silly because it could be a Celebrity and therefore could have been a control planted in the ground. But it may not be a Celeb, Laurie was tossing Bet and I some freebies to take home with us, and therefore would be no more of a ground planted control, 'ground control to Major Tom', sorry, just a little music interlude to go with all my other interruptions, than one of the paste toms that will go out to the garden.
And because I'm not sure if it is different or what it is if it is then it isn't really like trying a different variety in the Upsy Downsy (UD) pot to see if a different variety is better suited. And it's not like I couldn't have just nonchalantly tossed the clipped pot in the heap of unused pots, trust me it wouldn't have made much of an impact either way, being there or not being there. But there you have it. And I didn't even mark which was which in the UD pots like I did in the regular pots, oh brother welcome to my brain. Is it any wonder I'm fifty and only have four half raised, uneducated daughters to show for all my random unorganized efforts?
But you gotta check this one out, I'm not the only one that isn't sure which way to grow!

Celebrity tomatoes may not care if they are in a smallish pot but they certainly have a strong sense of geotropism.
Most roots usually are under the positive influence of gravity and grow downward, and stems are usually under the negative influence of gravity and grow upward, all that to say, geotropism.
Makes me wonder if I should not have put the root ball at the top of the pot instead of letting it rest on the bottom as I filled the remainder of the pot with dirt. The roots may not take complete advantage of what little room they do have if they are as strongly influenced as their counterpart the main stem.
I left the top of the pot empty, I even changed my mind from putting some little prettys in the top. The directions and seeds provided indicated that the company that sells these pots thinks that you can plant a beef steak type out the bottom and some cherry types or peppers on the top, three of them! All in about three quarts of soil. That is just about one step away from hydroponics.
If I had my dream of automatic water-ers for all my pots, hanging and otherwise, I would be down, 'upside down', with trying it, although along with constant water I'm sure it would need near constant feeding also.
But because I didn't put anything in the top of the pot I may go out and see if I can lift the root ball farther up into the pot. But then again when I get outside finally today I may find I have a few more pressing items to take care of. Maybe I'll just do one and see if it make a difference.


Amber Star said...

My friend, PJ, tried the upside down planter thing and declared it not worth anything....however, I did notice a bag of fertilizer in the picture that was for grass. She needed one with a high middle number for fruit.

It had been such a long time since I've come by, I just thought I would this afternoon. Your blog is looking great and you seem much more comfortable just being you and talking.

KathyB. said...

I actually followed you inside out, upside down and topsy turvy! It will be interesting to see your tomato harvest!Maybe sample the toms in a salad or sauce along with some of Bet's delicious home made bread and Dirts ' nectar of the gods, wine!

We too got some of Laurie's tomatoes, but have been very, very conventional about boring!

p.s. my word verification for this is 'bloppers',I think this must be a word woth an interesting meaning...maybe, "upside down, inside out tomatoes!"

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

My neighbor just told me he's growing his tomatoes upside down. I'll be interested to see how yours turn out. Looks like you'll have lots of tomatoes!

LindaSueBuhl said...

My SIL bought two of those upside down fancy schmancy hanger tomato thingies - plus the soil and plants and special something else - figures she'll need to harvest something in the neighborhood of $50 worth of maters to make it even start to break even! Very interesting posting and unlike KathyB - I couldn't follow it all but that is me today and not you . My word verification is sednes - which is actually sendes spelled backwards - on that cheery note - see you later cultivator!(I am So struggling with garden envy)

Mildred said...

This will be fun to follow your progress Lanny.

fishing guy said...

Lanny: A gift from one of my favorite spots turns into a big tomatoe project. Well, you can never have too many tomatoes.

Tipper said...

Lanny-so glad you're enjoying the basket! Funny we planted Celebrity in ours too : ) It is neat how the plant grows "up". I hope yours all do wonderfully and mine too!

(isn't Fishing Guy the sweetest!)

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

well aren't you just the smart one? great idea! i bet i could even do that on my balcony in florida! thanks...

smiles, bee

Far Side of Fifty said...

Far Guy did a Celebrity in a five gallon bucket one year, with a hole in the bottom of the pail, the poor thing just struggled and then got black spot..and only a couple of tomatoes, it sure tried to grow up also..we found that they dried out really fast on windy days too. ..I hope you have better luck than he did:)

Daisy said...

Good luck with your tomatoes, Lanny. I hope they do well. My neighbor has an upside down planter thing he has tomatoes in too. Too early to tell if it is going to work or not.