Archive for the ‘The Garden’ Category

These past couple of weeks I’ve been getting so many hits from people wanting to know more about the “As Seen On TV” giant tomato trees that I thought I’d put up a page about our experience with them. I mean no ill will towards the company who produces them, but it’s good information to have if you’re considering a purchase.

For those of you who may have clicked through from a feed reader, no, you’re not crazy. I accidentally posted the Tomato Giant story as a regular post instead of a page. Doh!


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Nathan and I were recently at our local grocery store and came across an end cap full of garden starters.  We briefly discussed what to buy; the salsa garden complete with romas and cilantro or the less expensive giant tomatoes.  At $2.99 the tomatoes won out.  Nathan said we can consider them an experiment, one that will allow us to graduate to the salsa garden if it’s successful.

You may recall last year’s tomatoes met an untimely death after a storm.  The rest of our container garden managed to produce a meager crop that wasn’t at all the bounty I had hoped it would be.  In fact, all of the containers are still out on the deck where I left them last fall.

I’ve never had much luck with container gardens and I’m just not optomistic about these tomatoes.  Autumn has already tried to “help” us by watering them from her own private (and thoroughly backwashed) water bottle.

Let’s face it.  Fortune is probably not going to favor the tomatoes this year.

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It is with great sadness that I announce the demise of our Tomato Giant tomato trees:

This is all that remains of the seedlings that had thrilled me to pieces only a few weeks ago. We had put them out on the deck to get some sun and forgot to bring them back in. We hadn’t watered them in a couple of days but we’d had some rain. The soil must have been very dry allowing the containers to be blown off the table during a storm. I guess it just was not meant to be. But who are we kidding anyway? There’s no way in hell we were going to get our winter stores of salsa and pasta sauce out of these puny things. Note to self: no more purchases from flashy “As Seen On TV” commercials.

The rest of our plants are flourishing, mostly because we’ve had about equal parts rain and sun around here recently. Our peppers have started to pop as have our cherry tomatoes.

I’m hoping next year we’ll be able to forgo the containers and actually plant in the ground. The pool should be pulled out of here within the next few weeks, leaving room for a garden and the wooden Fortress of Delight Nathan hopes to erect for our daughter.

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They might be giants

About ten years ago Nathan and I grew some jalapeño peppers on the deck of our apartment. They were a success in that they didn’t die, which was a miracle considering how neglected they were. We didn’t use the deck much and would often forget the plants were out there. Occasionally we’d look outside, see the containers and their withered cargo and be like, “Oh, the peppers!” and finally water them. Luckily they’d perk right up and we wound up harvesting a nice bunch of hot peppers we shared with friends.

When we moved to the duplex, we tried to plant a small garden of cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes and peppers in the patch of dirt that lined the back of our garage. The cherry tomatoes flourished, but the plum tomatoes and the peppers did not. The light just wasn’t very good in that spot and there was also the water issue. Plants need water, at least more than what the overflow from the rain gutters provided.

By now you’ve probably caught on that Nathan and I are lazy gardeners, and since we’ve been in our house we haven’t attempted to grow any more produce. We really don’t have the room anyway since two-thirds of our yard is occupied by the pool and deck. But since everything in the world is going up in price, we figured we’d plant a few things this year and see how it goes.

We wound up ordering something called Tomato Giant tomato trees from one of those “As Seen On TV” commercials. The plants are supposed to produce gargantuan tomatoes, and since the company is from Michigan we thought we’d give it a try. We ordered the plants in early April and eagerly awaited the arrival of our Giant Tomato trees.

Imagine our surprise when a smallish box arrived containing six planting containers, one brick of dehydrated mix-it-yourself soil and two packs of seeds. Seeds? Nathan and I looked at each other as we evaluated our purchase. You mean we’re going to have to grow these things? From scratch? We felt as though we’d been a tad misled. The commercial was all about the tomato TREE and how many pounds each tomato TREE would produce. We couldn’t help but feel as though a crucial bit of information had been left out as Nathan opened up the tiny white envelopes and poured the seeds into his hand. Seeds?

While we had imagined receiving something a little more robust and already grown, Nathan was a trooper and promptly mixed up the soil. He planted seeds in each container; three early plants that are supposed to produce tomatoes by early July and three of their regular stupendous giant trees. I have to admit to being incredulous because I’ve never grown anything from scratch save for the child who grew in my womb as I ate lots of pizza and ice cream. Sadly, you cannot feed pizza and ice cream to tomatoes and expect them to flourish as Autumn did.

Believe it or not, those plants have started to grow. A few days ago Nathan noticed a bit of green poking through the soil of one of the containers. This morning no less than four of the six containers had tiny sprouts poking their way through.

I don’t know what’s up with the ones that haven’t poked through yet, but at this point I don’t care because we have sprouts. We have sprouts! Our seeds have turned into sprouts and some day we might actually get tomatoes out of them. How cool would it be to know our salsa or pasta sauce or the tomatoes on our salad had once been tiny little seeds in a white envelope? I imagine we’ll feel a similar pride the day Autumn goes off to college.

We’re now so in love with our sprouts that we’re going to grow more things. We’ll probably try peppers, cherry tomatoes and jalapeños again. Unfortunately we still don’t have the yard space to accommodate a proper garden so I guess it will all have to be grown in containers. We’ve actually thought about getting some of those Topsy Turvy planters. Does anyone have any experience with those they’d like to share?

I’ll have to post a few updates here as the plants grow. Hopefully they do.

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