23 October 2010

Tomato hangover...

Last year I planted three cherry tomato plants and we ended up eating cherry tomatoes all fall and winter and spring until we had cherry tomatoes coming out of our ears. My wife Gina finally ripped them out because they were getting quite scraggly looking and she was tired of them. I think that cherry tomatoes might be one of the most prolific plants on Earth. I have read that after a nuclear war the only animal life that might survive would be the cockroaches, scorpions, mice, rats, horseflies, yellow jackets, and mosquitoes. On the plant side I think it would probably be crabgrass, thistles, dandelions, and cherry tomatoes. All you need to do is plant cherry tomatoes once and they will come up year after year from the seeds of fallen tomatoes.

One day I was cleaning out the vegetable bin of our refrigerator and I came across a dried up cherry tomato. I figured "What the heck!" and I took out the seeds and sprouted them and planted them in some 1-1/2 and 2 liter plastic Coke bottles. I then hung them on the garden wall from whatever was handy. I even planted one upside down to see what would happen. You guessed it! It wasn't long before we had cherry tomatoes again. The plant that I planted upside down with the roots above and the green part hanging down doesn't seem to mind at all as you can see in the photos below. About the only problem is the fact that I need to water them every day or they begin to wilt. That's why the 2 liter bottles work better than the 1-1/2. I also give them a shot of Miracle Grow once in awhile. I poked some holes with a hot wire about three inches from the bottom of the bottles for drainage but perhaps that isn't necessary. I wrapped a bit of paper towel around the tomato stem in the neck of the upside down bottle to keep the dirt in until the roots took over.

As you can see in the pictures I wrapped some aluminum foil around the bottles to keep the light away from the roots and perhaps keep them cool but I don't know if that is necessary. It is just the "mad scientist" in me that made me do that. I might even try growing other things in the sky...like pumpkins maybe. You better keep your eyes on the horizon!

Click on images to enlarge.


GlorV1 said...

Wow, what a great idea. If the bottle are upside down, doesn't the soil fall out?? They look great and I think the foil is a also a good idea. Nice job.

Dan in NC said...

Since I just pulled the LAST of my tomatoes (cherry & plum) out today, and have the green ones ready for tomorrows breakfast: your pictures of the new plants growing made me rather envious! Seems weird that your growing season starts when ours ends! Love the 2 ltr btl idea! Will give it a go next year!
Thanks for the photos!
Dan in NC

Don Cuevas said...

Very nice. We can't seem to grow tomatoes here. It may be the colder temperatures at this elevation of 6800 feet above sea level.

I'll show this to my wife and maybe she'll try it. (She's the gardener and I'm the cook.)

The method you describe may be good for warding off the hordes of grasshoppers that often consume our garden; although this year they haven't been bad. Our neighbor's garden is infested, however.)

Don Cuevas

Alice said...

lovely plants. last week, i bought a pint of cherry tomatoes for $20 pesos! if they're so easy to grow, i might try it out.

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

i tried planting tomatoes here but they never grew. I think that it was my soil too. When should you plant them. My son loves tomatoes- he eats them like apples.

bordersaside said...

Oh I love them and they are so expensive here, I agree with Alice I may need to give this a try if it wont be to hard to keep them alive. Should I buy seeds or do you think I could just get some fresh ones and use the seeds from them?

Bob Mrotek said...


You can scrape the seeds out of fresh tomatoes and let them dry out before you plant them but if they are hybrid seeds you might get throwback tomatoes which are a little larger and not quite as sweet. You are probably better off to buy the seeds if you can find them. Use a two (or even 3) liter bottle if possible. Also you can grow a heck of a lot of tomatoes year around in a flower pot the size of a five gallon bucket or just use a five gallon plastic bucket with some holes in the bottom for drainage. Good luck and have fun :)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.