Topsy turvy

Last year’s tomatoes were a disaster. I knew they would probably suck because, with only two raised beds in full sun, we couldn’t do a proper four-year rotation in our tiny yard. Thanks to fungal build-up in the soil, they slowly and painfully succumbed to fusarium wilt.

But this year, we’re trying something completely different. For Christmas, my sister gave us a pile of Topsy Turvy planters, which we’ve filled with new, sterile soil and heirloom varieties grown from seed.

After careful transplanting — four hands are definitely better than two when it comes to these newfangled contraptions — there are now nine Yellow Pear, Principe Borghese, and Rutgers VF tomato seedlings hanging along our south-facing fence. It’s not a perfect situation since the metal rods aren’t terribly tall, so we’ll have to keep the plants trimmed to avoid contact with the ground (and its potential pathogens) below. This may be a total failure, but it’s all part of the learning process as we discover just how much food can be produced on such a wee lot.

A quick heads up. Bags of water-soaked dirt are quite heavy, and even these sturdy metal posts couldn’t handle the weight without bending. Fortunately, tying each one to a fence picket with a bit of rope solved the problem. We’ll report on the tomatoes’ progress throughout the season.

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