Monday, September 28, 2015

Upside Down Tomato Plants

This a repost of a story I wrote a few years ago.  It relates well to my most recent one about the Miracle Garden.

My wife, who has a partial green thumb, became enamored with the Topsey Turvey Upside Down Tomato grower.  You know, As Seen On TV. A word of advice, if you are contemplating purchasing anything As Seen On TV, DON’T.  This is because whatever you think it will do—it WON’T!  Besides, I have enough trouble growing anything right side up.

I was very skeptical, because for the life of me I can’t think of anything that grows better, up side down.  I don’t.  You don’t.  My cat certainly doesn’t, in fact she gets real pissed off and scratches and hisses when I hold her upside down. 

My wife persisted, wore me down actually, so being a smart husband I agreed.  We went to Home Depot and bought the kit.  It came with a plastic basket, a wire harness, and a plan for building an elaborate trellis system. All this for only $9.99.  We buy three!  Then we had to get the dirt because even though the plant is growing upside down, it has to grow in something.  That was $24.  Next we bought the plants. That was $2 a pop.  I’m not done.  Since the plants will be growing upside down, they have to be attached to something.  Alas, they don’t just hang there in mid air.  So we had to get three shepherd hooks.  They were $15 each.  I’m into this thing for over a hundred dollars and haven’t seen one tomato. 

We get everything set up and hang the plants from the hooks.  They immediately begin to sag a bit.  This is not looking good.  We then water the plants.  The shepherd hooks bend so far over that the plants start to touch the ground.  I had to rig a rope from my fence to the hooks to keep everything off the ground. I look at the plans for the trellis and begin to understand why it calls for 4x4s and 2x4s, and a suggestion that I get a building permit.  These things weigh eight tons a piece. 

According to the geniuses at Topsey Turvey, gravity will force nutrients into the plants that will result in volleyball-sized tomatoes.  I’m not a botanist, but I always thought that roots are supposed to do that.  And speaking of gravity, you have to water these things two to three times a DAY because, yep, you guessed it, gravity also forces the water to run out the other end.

Another problem is, just like you and I don’t like to be upside down, neither do the tomato plants.  Yes, they do grow down for a while, but once they discover the sun, they reverse course and begin to grown right side up.  Normally you stake the plant to support the tomatoes.  However, with the upside down grower you cannot.  This results in tomatoes being ripped off the branches and being forced by our old friend gravity to fall to the ground.

Final tally—ten tomatoes.  That’s not a misprint, ten tomatoes.  Well, actually two had some funky holes in them so we’ll say eight.  That comes out to roughly $13 per tomato, not counting the three-hundred gallons of water.  This year I will be going to a farm stand.  Let me leave you with a word of advice.  If you are thinking, even remotely, about the upside down tomato plant grower...

No comments:

Post a Comment