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tomato talk

This evening we loaded up, oh, 35 or so baby tomato plants into the trunk of the car and drove off to try and find a place to dump them. Oh wait, not really: we actually had a couple of folks willing to take some of them off our hands. The dumping isn't for a few more weeks. Anyways, it's pretty cool to have moved to the distribution phase in my farming career, even if I haven't yet managed to grow a surplus of actual plants. It turns out there's also a demand for organic and probably blight-free tomato seedlings! Act now if you still want some: there are only three or four dozen remaining!

In other tomato-related news, the upside-down planter fad has made the New York Times. The article is mostly enthusiastic, and it does point out the effect that upside-down growing would have on reducing the ravages of cutworms, that most annoying of early-season garden scourges. But when you get right down to it, there's only one thing you need to know about trying to fight gravity:

Regardless, Mr. Nolan said, "The upside-down planters tend to dry out really fast, so I have to water a lot probably once a day in the heat of the summer."... Many gardeners reported that the thinner, breathable plastic Topsy Turvy planters ($9.99) dried out so quickly that watering even once a day was not enough to prevent desiccated plants.

The result of that thirstiness, around here at least, is that I have never seen an upside-down planter containing a live tomato plant by August. Late summer, when you should be harvesting, it's pretty much all dead sticks all the time. Admittedly, the problem isn't unique to upside-down planters: any container-grown plants will need a whole lot more water than those planted in the ground. But at least when your pots are on the ground you can just spray the lot of them with a hose and feel like you're doing something, and you aren't distracted by believing you've bought an "ingenious tomato planter" that gives you a crop that's "bigger, better tasting, healthier, and easier to grow than ever before."

In short, don't do it. At least, not with my seedlings. If you want any, you're going to have to put them in the good old-fashioned ground.

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Since we've received some inquiries: yes, there are still tomatoes available. And yes, we will allow them to be planted upside-down, despite my curmudgeonly rhetoric above. There is no EULA to these tomatoes: once you have them, they're yours to dispose of as you will!

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