Garden adventures and advice…

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Upside Down Tomato Planters

Have you ever tried those upside down tomato planters? I grew tomatoes in a couple last year for the first time and was quite impressed with how well they worked. We had an outstanding “upside down” tomato crop . I can’t help but think that the heat that built up in the bag contributed to the abundance of large, heathly tomatoes that grew. Tomatoes love the summer sun – and heat. However, with being in the bag, they do need water every day during the summer; the soil will dry out quickly.

These planters are great. You can hang them on a wall, fence, post, true plant hanger…anywhere that has good support (they get heavy) and plenty of sun. Upside down planters are also perfect for balcony gardens or anywhere that space is limited – or if using a Sheppard’s hook type of plant hanger, they will fit in any garden bed you have and not interfere with the plants growing down below.

I’ve picked up a few more and now have six for the upcoming tomato season. The tomato of choice for them this year? Tumbling Tom. It just seemed to make sense.

Tumbling Tom is recommended for hanging baskets and I believe it will be a top performer in an upside down planter. It has a compact, trailing growth habit that develops waves of sweet, juicy, bright red (or yellow) cherry tomatoes that keep coming all summer long. If you prefer growing tomatoes in containers, Tumbling Tom will work perfectly.

As of right now I have two flats of 1″ Tumbling Tom sprouts (just came up this week) growing in the greenhouse that I expect will look like the pictures at the bottom by August!  Stay tuned…..


TOm 4tom 3

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Tomato Harvest



I had an exceptional tomato season this year. All grown from seed, I tried a few new ones and stuck with some old favorites. The winners? Juane Flamme – this one is my favorite. It’s a non-stop producer with fabulous flavor. Grew two beefsteaks this year – Big Beef (outstanding!) and Black Krim (I was told by someone it’s the best tomato they’ve had). 

The cherry’s didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I may have had them too crowded. However, there was still plenty to go around. 

The picture above is from an evening veggie harvest – there’s nothing quite like walking around the garden at the end of the day collecting dinner.

The tomatoes were started in the greenhouse the first week of April and went into the garden the first week of June. Planting was later than usual this year due to a very (very!) long winter and late start to spring. 

Overall the vegetable gardens did quite well, but as always, the tomatoes are my pride and joy. 


Here’s a list of what was grown this year and their features:

Big Beef – Large/Beefsteak

An All-America Selections Winner, Big Beef is often considered the finest all-around tomato for the vegetable garden. It’s extra meaty with a true homegrown flavor and just the right balance of sugars and acids. Big Beef produces extra large, “beefy” fruit and these large, vigorous plants are quite manageable when staked or grown in large cages. These tomatoes need plenty of water, and prefer six hours or more of direct sun each day.


Black Krim – Large Beefsteak

One of the best black tomatoes. Rich, sweet complex taste with a hint of saltiness. These beefsteak tomatoes are mahogany coloured with green shoulders and green gel around the seeds. The slices are beautiful in a tomato salad. Yield is high. Water evenly to reduce concentric cracking.


Japanese Black Trifele – Large-Medium Pear Shape

Pear-shaped fruit has green-streaked shoulders, deepening to a burnished mahogany and finally to a darkened, nearly black base. The meaty interior has similar, opulent shades and an incomparable, almost indescribably complex and rich flavor to match. The fruit reach 2 1/2-3 inches long and wide and are very crack-resistant. Despite the name, this tomato has its origins in Russia. This one didn’t work well for me, only ended up with a few.


Juane Flamme – Medium (A larger cherry size)

A French Heirloom salad tomato with persimmon orange skin and flesh. They almost look like an apricot. Plants are incredibly productive and early, and the flavour of Jaune Flamme is amazing. It’s full bodied with a hint of citrus. My favorite.


Container Bush – Cherry

This scrumptious hybrid is specially bred for high yields of heavy fruits with juicy-sweet, rich tomato flavor on space-saving 3 foot plants. Perfect for pots and patio containers. However, this plant is determinate (fruits appear once throughout the season) vs. indeterminate (produce fruit throughout the season).


Black Cherry – Cherry

Heirloom cherry tomato with a rich mahogany-purple color and sweetly complex flavor. The round, 1-inch fruits grow in abundant heavy clusters on vigorous, fast growing indeterminate plants.


Isis Candy – Cherry

Bicolor rose-red fruits with yellow-gold marbling have delicious flavor that is wonderfully rich and fruity, not just sugary sweet. Strong, productive vines. I’ve read it’s a consistent top cherry winner at heirloom tomato tastings.