Saturday, May 29, 2010

Down and Out

My back deck has always been, shall we say, a little inhospitable to growing vegetables.

Anything that needs full sun will not find it there. Partial sun, yes. Shade, there's plenty. But sunbeams that cast a warm glow all day long, not happening.

Lately this has made me sad. Joining the CSA made me realize how good fresh-harvested veggies taste, and I have begun to wish that I had some green space to grow my own. Container gardening is popular in the city, but without much sunlight, I have always thought it would be a futile effort.

Well a few weeks ago, Ryan came home with Topsy Turvy (As Seen On TV!), a long hanging container that grows tomato plants upside down. Dubbed a new gardening trend by the New York Times, there are several purported benefits of growing tomatoes this way: less pests, fewer weeds, easier watering system, to name a few.

I admit, I was skeptical. First of all, he bought it at a 7-Eleven. Now I don't know a whole lot about gardening, but I know enough that 7-Eleven isn't typically the place to go to buy such supplies.

The thing looked pretty tacky, too, with it's shiny, plastic-like material, leafy pattern, and green plastic scalloped-edged lid with a hole in the middle for watering.

But after reading the Times article and taking my annual early-summer visit to the local plant and garden center--where I gamely select marigolds and the like for container boxes that hang over the side into enough sunlight to keep them perky for most of the summer--I decided to throw caution to the wind. I tucked in a sun gold tomato plant with my flowers and feeling uber impetuous, grabbed basil and sage plants too.

Aided by the sunnier space between the railing and roof of my deck and the nutrient rich worm compost that Ryan has managed throughout the winter, I think the tomatoes might have a fighting chance.

We put the plant through the hole at the bottom and used a circle of styrofoam with a slit cut to the center to secure it in place. Then we carefully scooped a few inches of potting soil around the plant, added a few inches of compost, and topped off with more soil.

I am supposed to water daily. Within a few weeks, I think I'll be able to tell whether I can add cherry tomatoes into my salads. Stay tuned.

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