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Thursday, May 26, 2016

GREETINGS FROM THE GARDEN STATE


GREETINGS FROM THE GARDEN STATE

I know people associate New Jersey with Turnpike exits, oil refineries and a nasal accent, but we are more, much more.  We have diners and we have the shore…Ok, so not MUCH more, also we are known as the Garden State.

I’m not sure why we are the Garden State.  There are people that say “You cannot beat Jersey corn or Jersey tomatoes.”  These people are all from New Jersey.  Truth is our tomatoes and corn is no better than anyone’s tomatoes and corn, but during two weeks of the summer, Jersey tomatoes and corn is fresher than anyone else’s…assuming you live in New Jersey.

Still, we are the Garden State, and I feel compelled to live up to that Garden State tradition.  I love tomatoes, but Mrs. Cranky does not.  I use maybe two or three tomatoes a week to make my tuna or chicken salad.  Tomatoes do not last that long off the vine so I make several trips a week to the store just for tomatoes.  Mrs. C suggested I grow my own this summer.

Great idea!

I have never had any luck growing tomatoes in the past, and tomatoes are probably the easiest vegetable there is to grow.  (I know, it’s a fruit…frig, if conversate is now a word, a tomato is a vegetable!) Mrs. C bought me a “Topsy Turvy,” a system for growing tomatoes upside down.  Easy to water, easy to pick, grow anywhere and away from predators.

We will see.

So far, it cost me $2 for one scrawny plant (I named him Ralph), three fights with Mrs. C over how to place, feed and water the plant into the Topsy Turvy container, and a battle to find a suitable place to hang the plant.

We have no overhang to attach the Topsy Turvy.  I found an old iron plant hanger that sticks in the ground to hang Ralph.  This worked great until I started to fill the Topsy Turvy with dirt.  It holds a lot of dirt and starts to get heavy.  When I added water it got really heavy and with a strong breeze the iron plant hanger started to bend. 

I found another iron plant hanger and angled it into Ralph’s hanger to prop it against the weight and the wind.  I then had to apply duck tape to keep the two from sliding.

Currently all seems to be holding.  Hopefully Ralph will flourish without hitting the ground…I may have to find a way to raise him higher.

Stay tuned.

23 comments:

  1. No need to raise Ralph, just trim the longest hanging branch, this will encourage more shoots near the base of the plant, any that get too long again, just trim them off. But don't trim the flowers off. Or you could lift the stems and tie them up, instead of trimming.

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  2. Good luck with Ralph - I always grow my own tomatoes and you really can't beat a freshly picked one still warm from the sun.

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  3. i have tried every tomato planting system that has come along and finally just decided I was better off supporting my local farmers' market.

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  4. That sounds like our house. I don't like tomatoes and Jim loves them. He even loves tomato and mayo sandwiches. He tried one of those Ralph things. Hope you have better luck.

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  5. I've always wondered about that system (iPad keeps correcting the name). We grow lots of different kinds of tomatoes in pots on our deck.

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  6. Good luck with Ralph! I got my mother one of those a few years ago and by the end of the summer she had more tomatoes than she could eat.

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  7. Zucchini are easier than tomatoes
    That is not a good thing, unless youre a hummingbird

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  8. I've never tried to grow tomatoes... but then I am lazy and worthless when it comes to growing foodstuff.

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  9. Ralph is going to be fun isn't he? Yes I do believe he is going to be most entertaining.

    I'd just go to the store and buy tomatoes, but that's me.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  10. Gardening is fun. Many years ago I planted a garden...tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, peppers, etc. It was great. I had a great salad every week from my very own garden. Then the next year it was scorching hot and my garden burned up. The next year it was record-setting wet and my garden drowned. Then I discovered Central Market. Screw farming. ;)

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  11. Why do you think God invented markets?

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  12. Been meaning to ask about this "garden" state thing, especially after visiting NJ a couple times last year. I'm sure there are lovely gardens there somewhere. Just not where I was.

    Also, my daughter-in-law grew tomatoes like this once. It was pretty neat. Just has to have enough sun and water and fertilizer.

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  13. MY WIFE, who despairs at the things I have attempted to grow (a grapefruit tree, which is five years old now and will soon outgrow the house, not a good thing in the Northeast; catnip, because I wanted to see how many cats would congregate in our yard) has been after me to grow something I'll actually eat. She suggests tomatoes, most times. Keep me updated on your success rate, please!

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  14. Good luck growing with that contraption! My mother-in-law, who had a very green thumb, and a thriving garden up until the summer she died, decided to try a couple of those topsy-turvy planters one year. To say she hated it would be an understatement.

    We grow tomatoes every year, but we STILL think Maryland tomatoes and corn were better. Something about the soil...

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  15. Since i have no luck with growing anything but crabgrass and weeds, i will wish you good luck, and not even pretend to give any advice.

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  16. Sounds like results are mixed with the upside-down tomato grower device. SWMBO tried one a few years ago and it was a dismal failure. Keep us posted on yours and, if successful, a picture or two, maybe?

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  17. Is that the same Ralph that shriveled, died and blew away from our placed some years ago? He was hanging upside down, too, and died tomatoeless.

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  18. Good luck with Ralph. I have always wondered about those things so hope you will let us know how it turns out.

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  19. I have often wished for a Topsy Turvy, but I figured that the birds would pick my Ralph's stems clean. We had a garden ONE year, and between the birds and the TOMATO HORNWORMS, my dream barely bore (edible) fruit.

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  20. I tried one of those Ralph thingies a few years ago. I found vegetables are a lot easier to pick at the grocery store or farm stand. Good luck and keep us posted!

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  21. Poor Ralph. I've never tried a Topsy Turvy, and you're not making me want to. We don't really have a good place for hanging plants either, but have really good luck growing tomatoes in raised beds.

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