13 March 2010

Saturday Supplement Special: Week One

Welcome to the Saturday Supplement Special where we track the success or failure of Billy Tomato who lives in the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter.

So recently I was at Ace Hardware during one of my lunch breaks. I get an hour for lunch and even after getting something to eat and getting the mandatory decaf iced coffee from the Coffee Bean, I tend to have 10-15 minutes left to spare on my lunch hour. Sometimes I go back early (dork!), but sometimes I wander through the stores “looking at stuff”. Seeing as there’s a Walgreen’s, Ace Hardware, and Office Depot there, I tend not to buy anything except pens and lip balm. However, it’s spring (or near enough) and Ace Hardware has all its plants out on display now.

At first I just stood outside looking at all the cute little plants. There were bell peppers and cucumbers and strawberries. Then the tomatoes caught my eye. I might have gotten a bit wistful. I love tomatoes and have tried on more than one occasion to grow them. The first try I not only didn’t cage them properly, but I was also bad on watering. The last time I tried, it was going really well until my poor plant got attacked by Tomato Hornworm caterpillars. I really do love gardening but I’m really crap at it. I haven’t bothered trying growing anything in the last two years and had no intention of trying this year until I wandered in the bowels of Ace Hardware and found the Topsy Turvy Tomato Grower (on sale!). I realized then and there that the Topsy Turvy Tomato Grower was a Must Have.

I purchased the Topsy Turvy Tomato Grower, a bag of Miracle Grow soil, gardening gloves and the cutest tomato plant whose variety I have already forgotten. I then got back to work and looked up the best way to plant the Topsy Turvy Tomato Grower.

Those not familiar with the Topsy Turvy Tomato Grower please go here and watch their infomercial so I don’t have to explain that it’s a planter that you hang from a hook and that your plant grows upside down to avoid the possible pests and that the planter acts like a greenhouse on the soil helping it grow better. Oh wait, I just saved you 10 minutes.

The first thing you learn about the planter is that once it’s filled with dirt and water, the planter becomes incredibly heavy. Every review I read started with “it’s really heavy”. Thankfully one of the reviewers mentioned that using moss layered with the dirt helps reduce the weight. While a great suggestion, my first thought was, “great, now I have to go back to Ace to get moss.”

The second thing you learn is that because the plant is hanging upside down, it loses a lot of water – therefore, you have to water it at least once a day if not twice a day if it’s really hot.

On Wednesday, Andy helped put up the hook in the backyard and I fumbled with assembling the planter. This little video makes the process look easy. I’m clumsy and typically use the force method for all assembly related things and managed to tear off 3 arms of leaves on the tomato plant and tore the spongy bit that goes around the plant in half. I can pour in dirt properly and within 15 minutes, Billy the Tomato Plant was up.

Yes, its name is Billy and for once, I wasn’t responsible for the name. When I first came home with the little tomato plant, Andy looked up from his spot on the couch and said, “I see you have Billy.” “Billy?” “Yeah, Billy Tomato” Billy it is.

 Billy begins his life by chilling upside down. 


  1. those things really work well. I have had a couple friends grow some.
    we have dill and cilantro and marjoram going inside. soon to be
    outside! good luck with the tomatoes. We'll have some as well,
    thinking beefsteak!

  2. So it's a Protestant tomato then. (Ask Andy!)


  3. Cilantro is nasty and I will not let it anywhere in my garden much less my house! But good to know the planter works OK. I've heard nothing but mixed reviews.

    And a protestant tomato, huh? I'll have to research this!

  4. King Billy is William of Orange. The Orange parades by the proddies in Norn Ireland are celebrating his victory over the left-footers at the Battle of Boyne, ending the reign of the last Catholic monarch in Britain and Ireland.

    Hence why orange is not a color beloved of the catholics who prefer green unripe tomatoes.