If you're planning to try your hand at preserving this summer, but still shopping the grocery store aisles until then, consider choosing products that come in glass canning jars. These jars have threads that will accommodate canning lids and rings so that rather than simply recycling the glass, the jars can be added to your collection. I have quite a few of these kinds of jars. The only drawback is that the labels leave a sticky residue, but that's a small price to pay for being able to use the jar over and over again. Both Classico and Barilla pasta sauces come in canning-type jars (Classico has a few organic options, too) as do certain brands of fruits. I'm sure selection varies by region, but look for glass jars that have raised measurement markings on the outside.
While much of our steep lot is shady, we have plenty of sunshine on our driveway. My husband, however, is steadfast in his refusal to rip up the concrete to put in a garden. Not to be dissuaded, I came up with an alternative plan to utilize the space: upside down tomatoes. You’ve seen those Topsy Turvy contraptions, right? I decided to create one of my own with a bucket I had on hand to see how well it works. It took about two hours, including paint drying time. If you’re not painting, you’re looking at 20 minutes or so.
Click through for my step-by-step photos if you’d like to give it a try, too.
Drill a hole in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. I used a 1.5″ or so hole saw. I also opted to paint the bucket so it wasn’t so glaringly white.
Set the bucket up on blocks of some sort.
Cut a piece of scrap fabric roughly the size of the base of the bucket. Cut a slit to the center of the fabric. This will help hold the soil and tomato seedling in place until it gets rooted in.
Put tomato in hole, with the greens hanging below the bucket. My poor little seedling lost all of its surrounding soil. Pull the edges of the fabric slit together, snug around the stem.
Gently add soil around tomato roots.
Add soil until bucket is nearly full. I used a mixture of roughly 2 parts potting soil, 2 parts peat moss, and 1 part perlite for a lighter mix.
See the little planted tomato hanging there between the blocks?
Here’s the tomato bucket hanging from the outside of the carport.
The hardest part of having this hanging where it’s at will be remembering to water it. It’s not near my other plants – though maybe the trick is to add even more plants to this area! I’ll post an update in a month or two, so you can see how it’s doing. That should give those of you in cooler climates a chance to put one together in time for spring planting if you want to give it a try.
Click 'subscribe' once, then check your email for a confirmation message.
Search the Site
It’s one thing to think, “Hey, I’d love to be more self-sufficient!” and quite another to implement a lifestyle change that might require learning some new skills.
Attainable Sustainable is about bridging the gap between wanting change and making it happen without becoming overwhelmed. Nobody’s saying you have to go get a tractor and a cow. Attainable Sustainable is about discovering – one step at a time – how to make changes in your life to support a sustainable lifestyle.
Kris Bordessa has been gardening for most of her life. She's been authoring books and writing features for the past ten years or so. It's about time she combined the two, don't you think? [More about the author]