Last year they got rid of the taps on our allotment, meaning all our water now has to come from a tank and we can no longer use the hose pipe. This has made The Man and I much more mindful of the amount of water we use, mainly because we now have to carry it and I decided to have a go at alternative ways of planting to reduce how much water we need to use and carry, good for us and a little better for the environment. So take selection of household items,
and you too can make one of these;
an upside down tomato planter.
It was quite easy to make and time will tell how well it works, but it should reduce the amount of water needed to feed the plant and would be a great space saver.
To make one you will need; 1 large plastic bottle, duct tape, a chopstick, string, scissors and compost. Be warned it is a bit fiddly!
Cut the bottom off the bottle and poke some small holes in it, you will need this later. Next make holes in the side of the bottle to pass the chopstick through, this will be what you attach the string to hang it up with. Then, VERY GENTLY feed the tomato plant through the neck of the bottle, use some rolled up news paper to help stop the plant falling through. Hang the bottle up in your chosen spot and fill with compost and wedge the inverted bottom back in the body of the bottle; it will act as a drip feeder. Lastly wrap the whole lot with the tape to hold it all together and protect the roots from the light. Feed and water regularly and keep your fingers crossed!
I’ve already mentioned that previously courgettes have grown very well for us, we now have an ever-growing list of recipes for using them up; from courgette bread to courgette jam to go on it and all sorts in between. This year, in an attempt to achieve a mixture of flavours we are growing a green variety, yellow, the amusingly shaped tromba d’albenga and
butternut squashes (last chance saloon for these as they didn’t do well last year). This year, to try to make finding the fruit less of a challenge and for a bit of crowd control in the planting we have tried a more structured way of planting, rather than just chucking the seed in the ground and crossing our fingers!
It might not look like it but there is a plan at work here…honest. Each half bottle sits on top of a mound of soil, compost and manure and has two seeds planted under it. It should act like a mini green house helping the seeds germinate faster and helping keep them warm if the temperature dips. That’s the theory. They might need it as I have a sneaky feeling we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by the recent lovely weather but fingers crossed the seedlings should stay warm in their little domes and we will have another bumper crop.
The days are getting longer and warmer and it feels like it’s very nearly beer garden weather so that must mean it’s time to get planting seeds like chillies and tomatoes.
These little beauties are a mixture of Scotch Bonnet, Habanero and Cayenne chillies so won’t be for the faint hearted when they are ripe. We will have to wait until then to work out which is which as I didn’t label them straight away and now can’t remember which is which. We are going to have a go at growing them inside this year as our green house wasn’t quite hot enough for the normal peppers last year and these will definitely need a bit more heat, they also look quite pretty.
If all twelve plants make it we could have an awful lot so if you have any recipes to share please let me know, I’d love to hear them and will post about them here.