Monthly Archives: May 2008

Grand Marais – Doug Tanoury, “Hollywood Park Poems”

Grand Marais

There is a limestone pier
That stretches into blue
Waves on Lake Superior

Where I cast a spoon into
Water glowing translucent green
Like sunlight through a leaf

And watch a lone fishing boat
Surrounded by circling gulls
That cry a plaintive call

Make its way from the blue waves
Toward the calm green water
Behind the seawall of the harbor

from Doug Tanoury, Hollywood Park Poems 2003 (pdf)


How to plant tomatoes upside down (so that you can move them out of the way of frost)

In the “try this next year” category, here are some designs for a planter for tomatoes where you put the tomato seedlings in a bucket and then hang the bucket upside down. Two advantages are obvious: one, that if there’s frost, you can move the bucket out of the way, and two, you can grow in places where you don’t have soil.

Three, I guess, is that you can plant something nice in the top of the pot and have it do double duty.

There’s apparently television advertising for these things (which tells you how much TV I watch) but these look pretty easy.

without further ado:

from :

My 83 year old dad told me he use to grow upside down tomatoes in an old tin, they would put a small hole in the end of the tin (I guess a paint tin? not sure what type tin they used) and plant the tomato plant upside down and at the top of the tin they would plant a pepper plant. He said they flourished! I have the upside down container that I am going to plant my tomatoes and herbs in this spring…I can’t wait!

the Michigan Sportsman Forums thread from Frantz:

I had great success with tomato plants, but peppers did poorly. I drilled a single hole and fed my seedlings up through the bottom. This year I am making the hole a little bigger and putting the plant through the inside of the bucket and using some landscape cloth to gold it all in. Last year the buckets with chives, parsley and basil growing on the top side did better. I think because it held the water in better for the tomato roots.

the comments on a Lifehacker post:

Wow! If I knew there was a market for this, I would have had my grandmother patent it years ago. Since I was a little kid, she always grew her tomatoes upside-down — by just using a simple plastic bucket & a few strategically placed holes.

And, as an added bonus? She planted azaleas on the top, so it not only looked pretty, but it would keep the bugs & other nasty critters from going after the tomato plant underneath.

We coulda been millionaires.

Instructables has pictures, planting in a coco fiber pot:

You will need the following materials:
-hanging coco basket with a hole in the bottom of the frame
-dirt (more on this later) I used peat moss, manure, and vermiculite
-something to hang it from (I used a Shepard’s hook)
-and a tomato plant!!!!

The plant needs to be a baby plant, not one of those huge 1 gallon bucket plants.

Curbly has an illustrated How To Make An Upside Down Tomato Planter

Thank you for your DIY upside down tomato planter. It is the cheapest, most attractive one I’ve seen online. I planted two with Bush Celebrity Tomatoes and a third one (the one in the middle) planted with Jalapenos. I planted Thai Basil, Italian Parsley, Purple Sage, Sweet Woodruff, Italian Oregano, and Sweet Basil in the top of the planter. I realized that my pots are hanging a too low, so I have to shorten the cord, but I think they came out pretty good! Can’t wait to see if my tomaotes and jalapenos will grow good upside down!

There’s some art to the companion planting too.

How to protect tomatoes from frost

Frost warnings for Ann Arbor for tonight; that’s kind of late.

In the spirit of gardeners everywhere, here’s some collected recommendations for dealing with frost damage in your garden.

From Zimbabwe and Farm Radio International:

Protect Tomatoes from Frost

By Livai Matarirano, Zimbabawe

You can grow tomatoes even in cold weather. A farmer in Zimbabwe, Mr. Francis Handwa, uses cooking oil or milk bottles filled with water to keep tomato plants warm. This is a good alternative to covering tomatoes if used bottles are easy to get. Here is how he does it.

Francis fills cooking oil or milk bottles with water until they are three quarters full. While the plants are still young, he places the bottles upright on the ground among the tomatoes. He places one bottle beside every third plant in every other row. He makes sure that the neck of the bottle appears above the plants. When the plants get taller than the bottles he places stakes beside the tomato plants. He hangs a bottle on each stake with a string. The bottles hang 10 centimetres above the plants.

from GardenersNet:

Tomatoes like it hot! They will die if exposed to frost. Make sure to plant them after the last frost.

Tip#1: Cover your young seedling if frost is predicted. A simple and easy cover for small seedlings is to buy large or extra large plastic disposable cups. Place them over the seedling at dusk, and remove them in the morning. There is usually little or no wind on nights with frost, so they are not easily tipped over.

Tip#2: If you get a light frost overnight and you did not cover up your plants. Go out early before the sun rises, and spray your plants with the garden hose. This melts the ice off the plants and may save them.

From Tomato Casual:

If a more serious frost is coming, cover your plants with something to keep the frost from ending up on the leaves. I like to use sheets but anything like plastic, sheeting, newspaper or other material that can be used like a gentle covering will suffice.

Leave the cover on until the temp breaks that frost level in the mid morning and your plants will be none the worse for wear. Do not, however, leave plastic on the plants in the hot sun as this is damaging to the tomato plant and all your attention will be wasted.

Rebecca’s Garden Blogs:

If you still have tomatoes on the vine, keep bed sheets on hand. When frost is in the forecast cover the vines early afternoon before the sun starts setting. This will help trap the daytime heat before the soil cools. Also, try to extend the sheets to cover as much ground as possible. I stretch mine out and put a stone on top to hold it in place. This creates a tee pee which too traps more warmth. Remove covering once the sun comes up.

From the Columbia Missourian, Put plants to bed with a blanket tonight

According to Sapp, it’s best to cover plants with cloth. A simple flannel bed sheet will do the trick, but make sure that it is lifted slightly off the plants so they have a little breathing room. Cardboard also works, Sapp said. Take a box, place it over low plants and flowers, and then open the box top during the day so the plants can soak up the sun.

Contrary to popular belief, Sapp said plastic isn’t the best option for covering plants because it doesn’t sufficiently shield them from frost. Stick with cloth and cardboard to save the seedlings.

From Rutgers University, Planting and protecting warm season vegetables

Water walls- There are various clear plastic devices that have long tubes connected in a circle. Once the tubes are filled with water, they will stand up on their own and provide a great deal of frost protection for early tomatoes. The water filled tubes heat up during the day and retain heat during cold nights to protect plants. These thick water walls provide effective insulation to counter cool temperatures. The water walls need to be staked to prevent them from blowing over with strong winds. After frost dates have passed, these devices can be removed.

Stay warm, and keep your tomatoes protected.

what is a2b3? genotypes, unicode characters, and lunch meetings

every once in a while you have to look at the net to see what other people say that you are. so here’s that search for a2b3.

First, all the things that don’t relate to the lunch meeting:

A2B3 is a rare genotype resulting from the inheritance of both A and B genes on one chromosome.

The p16INK4a tumour suppressor protein inhibits a2b3 integrin-mediated cell spreading on vitronectin by blocking PKC-dependent localization of a2b3 to focal contacts

Unicode Character ‘YI SYLLABLE CIEX’ (U+A2B3)

These two transcripts differ by 75 bp and the protein that is coded by a2b3 has 25 amino acids more.

Second, the lunch meeting series:

Ed Vielmetti’s a2b3 group is quite popular (Thursday lunches; I missed it today while I wrote this blog post)

A2B3 is a physical/virtual community. There are many versions of the creation myth, but all involve a band of hardy explorers on a mission to try all the versions of bi bim bap served at restaurants in Ann Arbor.

The Ann Arbor Bi Bim Bop lunch group (a2b3) is a group of people organized by Edward Vielmetti who meet for lunch on Thursdays in Ann Arbor at Eastern Accents.

a2b3 is a reasonably regular lunch series gathering people from the Ann Arbor area to talk (often about tech stuff, but not always and not exclusively) and share a delicious bowl of bi bim bap. There’s no agenda, and a very minimal but evolving bits of organization to make sure that everyone who’s coming gets at least a little introduction to everyone else.

A2B3 is a motley collection of geeks, tech wizards, corporate startups, educators, students, hobbyists, politicians, activists, and various other identities who gather once a week for lunch and to discuss interesting ideas.

Started by U-M alum and Internet pioneer Ed Vielmetti as a way to see his friends each week, A2B3 has become an informal nexus for local knowledge workers and entrepreneurs.

Building Mississippi cottages, tearing down New Orleans houses

The Christian Science Monitor has a good story with pictures of the current state of the “Mississippi Cottage” design of manufactured housing.

Hurricane Katrina downsized his domain to nothing. Today, his new castle is about one-seventh the size of his old one, measuring 450 square feet. But surveying the familiar view from the dollhouse porch of his “Mississippi cottage,” Mr. Voorhies is one of many storm survivors who have reassessed their coastal existence.

“Small works for me right now,” Voorhies says of his cottage, one of nearly 2,400 the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has given to state residents to replace the FEMA trailer. “There’s less to lose.”

Not everyone is an enthusiast of the Mississippi cottage – a wheeled version of the now famous Katrina Cottage – despite its compact cuteness. Most communities along the now-rebuilding Gulf Coast have demanded that MEMA haul them out by next March, citing concerns about their storm-worthiness, low assessed values, and aesthetics. That is leading some cottage-dwellers to vow to fight for their abodes, promising a showdown ahead.

New Orleans is grappling with post-hurricane demolitions, including teardowns of houses the owners have been planning to renovate. See the Squandered Heritage blog for details, and note that a team from New Orleans will be at the NetSquared conference coming in May 27-28 2008. Here’s some small measure of the problem they are up against:

My house was a 1945 Gentilly bungalow with double parlor, original floors, the Gentilly tile, and deco molding. It was in no danger of falling down. My contractor drove by, called, and asked why there were bulldozers on the property the morning they tore it down. Before he could reach us, the house was gone.

I cannot return to the city now. I feel such pure fury when I think of my house being torn down. City bulldozers trespassed on my property and tore down my lovely Gentilly bungalow. New Orleans has nothing to do with America anymore. New Orleans is dead to me, and I will not lift a finger to help or give back to it again.

links for 2008-05-22