Re: [gardeners] Tumbler tomatoes

George Shirley (
Thu, 14 May 1998 09:12:39

At 12:24 AM 5/14/98 -0400, you wrote:
>George, I ordinarily hang two good-sized pots on the open
>front porch every year, with geraniums and/or petunias, or
>any combination that strikes my fancy. The porch is small, all 
>white even above, and the afternoon sun beats onto it causing
>the temps to reach 100 almost every day in midsummer. The
>planting medium is ordinary potting soil. 
>Under those conditions, I pour a quart of water into each pot
>morning and night, and they look gorgeous. The morning
>water has 1/4 tsp Peter's 14/14/14 per gallon in it; the evening
>water is room temperature plain. 
>I do have an unopened box of Viterra Planta-gel in the garage, 
>a granular super absorbant horticultural hydrogel (polymer) that
>increases the water holding capacity of the soil -- but I have never
>tried using it as yet. 

We've used the planta-gel on house plants but I never thought of using it
on my hanging baskets. I'm getting by at the moment with just a morning
watering of one quart per basket. Since I put in two tablespoons of
osmocote when I planted they really don't need more fertilizer at this time.

>Because of the price, I would never try it in the garden beds. 
>However, it should work wonders for hanging baskets and window
>I've got a special problem this year:  the weather in some fashion 
>has loosened some of the paint right across the back of my long
>ranch house, and this must be corrected. 

Generally paint won't loosen unless it was put on improperly. A good
example would be failure to clean the surface well before applying the
first coat of paint. Another would be using two different types of paint,
ie oil base covered with latex, without a sealer coat in between. I had the
same problem on the south side of my house, high up on the eaves. Finally
solved it by scraping and sanding down to the bare wood, using a paint
sealer, and then two coats of latex exterior.

Since we were under a 
>siege of 12 days of non-stop rain, the house is too wet to scrape 
>and paint. They need about 7 warm, dry days. It's 42* here, a
>very strange temp for May!  And the rain is definitely due to
>return by Sunday...  Now the conflict arises with the fact that I
>cannot plant the proper veggies, nor can I plant any of the annuals
>in the big flower bed by the house, until the men are finished. This
>is because:
>	1.  They have two left feet.
>	2.  They only speak Hungarian.
>	3.  They've never seen growing plants in their lives.
>	4.  They cannot believe that you kill a rose bush if you
>place a ladder in its middle. 
>Why do I use them...?  They are old-world trained painters, 
>extremely polite, unbelievably neat and tidy, and they appreciate 
>the quarts of iced tea with which I supply them. When they were 
>saying their goodbyes, some 4 years ago, they said to me, 
>"You ---  very --- gentleman!" 
>How could I resist....???  
>Penny, NY zone 6
My painters were very polite, if they weren't I whacked them. Pretty easy
to do as the painters were my children and grandchildren. Miz Anne and I
had prepared the wood surfaces ahead of time via pressure washing,
scraping, and sanding. Had to use a little wood filler in a few places, I
got carried away with the pressure washer. Intend to rent a pressure washer
again this fall and wash the brick on the house and the driveway and walks.
Oh, the joys of being a home owner. Money pit is the right term I believe.
At least the gardens make up for it.

George, still working under smoke from Southern Mexico.
George M. Shirley WSO-CSM/CSSD