Last year, I grew an organic tomato plant on a pile of garbage. I blogged about it and made a video too. So this year I’m doing it again and I’ve decided to shift the series to OrganicAuthority. Today, I’ll get you up to speed, but check back every Saturday for updates.
For two months, in trash bags, buckets and boxes, I saved my garbage, my stinking, foul garbage. You may be asking why. No, I don’t have some sort of bizarre fetish. Instead, I was preparing for this year’s tomato grown in a heaping pile of smelly garbage.
I did it last year. Except last year, I only stored garbage for a month. So, needless to say, this year’s first bag of crap smelled vile. The maggots were fun too. But I did it for good reason. When you plant a tomato on a pile of rotting fruits and vegetables it grows huge!
But the idea is not my own. I got it from L.A. Rotheraine. He’s the master gardener at McKean County Biodynamics and he’s a wiz at growing tomatoes in trash. Now, I’m not a master gardener, actually I’m kind of dopey, but I did manage to grow my own tomato.
And that picture is the rundown of the planting I did last Saturday. That plant is the offspring of last year’s tomato and hopefully it grows bigger and better. Right now it’s looking a little floppy. So if it doesn’t make it. I have its sibling waiting in the wings. Fingers crossed!
After a limp start, this year’s garbage tomato is turning the corner. It’s starting to grow up big and strong, but I had to monkey with the setup a little bit. We’ve been having some unseasonably cool nights. So I’ve been putting a black garbage bag over the plant to keep chilly dew off the leaves.
Now, the blog has a lot of new readers, so if you don’t know what a garbage tomato is. I did it last year. I dug a hole and filled it with fruit and vegetable scraps. Then I planted a tomato on the pile and it got huge! So keep checking every Wednesday for more updates on this year’s tomato.
Despite my best efforts—and what would prompt a world class hissy fit—my first garbage tomato of the year bit the dust. I suspect the unusually cool May and nippy nights did it in, even though I was mindful to cover it when it got chilly. I’ll just chalk it up to natural selection.
But luckily I started with a bunch of sprouts. So this weekend I planted its shorter, stubbier sibling. As a member of the short and stubby club myself, I have my confidence up. I think this one will be fine. My biggest problem now is the ornery cardinal nesting by my garden hose.
Looks like my evil plan is finally coming together! After a rough start, with my first garbage tomato of the year succumbing to the unusually chilly weather, this one is kicking butt. Compared to last week my short, stocky little plant really flourished and is developing a very study trunk.
Last year, I grew my very first garbage tomato and it was pretty big, but this year I’m shooting for a real giant and I’ve got a good feeling now. When I replaced the dead one with this guy, I made sure to position its roots right on top of all the rotten fruits and veggies. So, fingers crossed!
My garbage tomato is hitting its stride! It’s getting taller and filling out nicely. I already had to tie it to one of the posts. And I have high hopes—no pun intended—those green poles I stuck in the ground are 8-feet tall. I want this plant to be huge!
And here’s a cool side note. I planted this tomato on a pile of rotten fruits and vegetables that I saved up for two months. Well, something buried deep in the mound of muck is also sprouting. I’m not sure what it is yet. So I’ll leave you in suspense.
One more week in the books and my tomato is looking awesome. Despite the gloomy weather, it continues to fill out. It’s getting taller and taller and the trunk is really stout. It’s only June, and the base is already wider and stronger than last year’s tomato. I’m really excited!
Now, I mentioned last week that something strange is growing next to my tomato. I have no idea what the heck it is. I dug up two sprouts and gave them to the my mom, but I left the big one where its at—see if you can spot it—again, I have no idea what it is. Stay tuned.
Check that out! My garbage tomato is getting huge. Go on, take a look at last week, then flip back to this week and you’ll see a big difference—big being the operative word—and here’s the cool part. It actually sprouted some flowers. So tomatoes are on their way!
From the Organic Authority Files
As for the subplot, the mysterious freeloader plant is growing too. You can see for yourself, it’s in the lower-right of the photo. I’m still not sure what it is. I threw out a lot of random fruits and vegetables, but I’m guessing it’s a squash or some sort of melon—or demon spawn.
See how big my tomato is getting! Look at last week then jump back to this week. You’ll see its REALLY filling out. It looks shorter, but that’s because the tall branches flopped over and I had to tie them to those green posts. Actually, I want it to get fat, instead of tall, like last year’s.
Now, you’ll also notice I had to expand the fencing. The plant needs a lot of room to grow and I still have this pesky rabbit hanging around. Oh, and check out the thing with the big leaves growing off to the right. That’s the mystery sprout and I’m pretty sure it’s a cantaloupe. Nice!
Yes, this year’s garbage tomato is becoming a masterpiece! Clearly, it’s a lot bigger than last week. And it’s starting to bear fruit. That little close-up is just a couple of the tomatoes starting to take shape. At last count, I think there are eight of them. Plus a whole bunch of flowers!
Now here’s the deal. The stowaway cantaloupe is still growing too. I’m tempted to dig it up. I know it’ll compete with my tomato, but I like the idea of growing a bounty of goodies on just one pile of rotten garbage. So, we’ll see what happens. Call it survival of the fittest.
The tomato train rattles on. Check out my garbage tomato. See, a steady diet of rotten fruits and vegetables works wonders! It’s really filling out. It’s much bushier than last week. I may have to expand the fencing, again! Plus, more and more little tomatoes keep popping up, and look at all the flowers.
This plant is a powerhouse. It’s very robust. So is the pesky stowaway cantaloupe—which I think might actually be a zucchini—it continues to thrive too. It’s got a whole bunch of big yellow flowers. They kind of look like zucchini flowers, but I’m not sure. If there are any botanists out there, help a brother out!
My tomato is becoming a mini-rainforest. It’s very dense in the center, like a canopy. Compared to last week it’s a little bit bigger, but there are a ton of green tomatoes now. I suspect, just like last year, they won’t start turning red until they get much bigger. Lots of nutrients from all the garbage to soak up!
Now, as for the freeloader plant, it is growing a lot. I originally thought it was a cantaloupe, but now I’m pretty sure it’s a zucchini. It’s starting to bud tiny little zucchini-looking things. So we’ll see! Oh, and in case you missed it. My coworker is growing one of my sprouts and his plant looks great too.
My garbage tomato kicking butt! It’s loaded with green tomatoes of all different sizes. Many of them are already bigger than the stuff in the stores and most haven’t even started turning red yet! It’s tough too. Despite all the green tomatoes, I’ve only had to tie to a few times. Strong like bull!
Now, as for the rogue plant, last week I said it must be a zucchini, after originally thinking it was a cantaloupe, but today I’m sure. It’s a cantaloupe and that little picture pretty much proves. It looks like a cantaloupe. Its much too round to be a zucchini. So we’ll see what happens!
This was an odd week for my garbage tomato. First off, I noticed one tomato rapidly turning red, but it was oddly shaped, very flat, not round. When I eventually picked it, I spotted the problem—it was gross—somehow the underside was rotten. Not sure how it happened, maybe all the rainy weather.
Then over the weekend I noticed one branch had toppled over due to all the heavy tomatoes. I freaked out at first, but there was no damage. I tied the limb back in place and its doing fine and one of its tomatoes is turning red. Awesome! Oh, and the stowaway cantaloupe. It’s getting bigger too.
My garbage tomato is a warrior! The weather has sucked this summer. It’s been so wet and gross and my little guy developed a nasty case of bottom end rot. The first couple of tomatoes I picked were half disgusting. So I stopped watering it for a few days and now it’s rebounding nicely.
In fact, just yesterday I picked the best tomato so far. I’d show you, but I ate it. It was perfect. And as for my cantaloupe, it’s impervious to the crappy weather. It’s growing strong. I’ll probably only get one cantaloupe out of it, but that’s cool. Considering I don’t really have a green thumb.