I've just spent a happy hour outside in the garden, planting Borlotti bean and sweetcorn seeds for the allotment as well as putting the tumbling toms into their hanging baskets in the garden.
I've used Craftygeek's suggestion from my previous post 'Water Problem' of planting bean seeds in toilet roll tubes. Once the seeds have sprouted, I'll plant them complete with the tube in the hope it will encourage nice deep roots and also help the rather dry, clay soil absorb moisture a bit more effectively.
Here at the Kitchen we are very fond of our tumbling toms. Xanthe has always loved toddling around outside plucking fresh, sun warmed tomatoes off the vine and will scoff them til her chin gets sore from the dribbly juice. The main problem I've found is the amount of watering needed, tomatoes are a thirsty crop at the best of times, let alone when planted in minimal soil and subjected to drying wind from all sides.
Last year I had a problem in that the frequent watering led to the top of the soil in the hanging baskets developing a hard, dry 'crust', I presume it's a kind of lime scale from the minerals etc in our hard water. This meant that when I watered the baskets the water had a tendency to run off over the edges rather than sink into the soil.
This year I've attempted to solve the problem by sinking bottles with the bottoms cut off into the soil so that the water can get down under the surface, plus I'm going to make a mulch of some sort to try and prevent the crust building up. I got the idea from our immaculately groomed neighbour who made a 'mulch' of carefully arranged miniature slate pieces over the top of her tumbling tom hanging baskets which look quite beautiful.
However, I'm not sure that I want the expense of buying a sack full of slate chippings only to use a handful. Plus, the idea of growing your own is to save money isn't it? I was thinking of the rather cheaper option of spreading grass clippings over the top of the baskets. I mean, that won't look eccentric will it? Old Diet Coke bottles poking out through the mouldering clippings? No, thought not. Not that I particularly care, you know my mantra by now, I'm not a keen gardener, I'm a keen eater. Now I just need to persuade Adam to mow the lawn. I fear this mulch may take some time .....