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Friday, August 7, 2015

My hands can do this --- Coffee Can Hanging Planter with Upside-down Tomato Plant

Sometimes we need to make things possible, even though it’s different from the traditional way of planting a plant.  For example, setting a tomato plant upside down is something a cool thing to do, especially if you haven’t done it before.  There’s an advantage in doing it because it will be easier to harvest the tomatoes later on.  There will be no bugs crawling into it and eating the tomatoes, unlike if the plant is planted on the ground.  While the disadvantage is, the plant won’t grow so big, as it has a limited space for the roots to expand.  Well, let’s try this unique, simple project and just hope for a good harvest later on.   

(1)  empty Folgers coffee can 27.8 oz (big)
       portable drill with 5/8, 9/64 drill bits 
       floral wires
       needle nose plier
       screw driver
       small tomato plant
       potting soil
Level of Difficulty – easy


Soaking the Roots of the Plant
Remove the tomato plant from its biodegradable pot.  Carefully remove ¾ part of the soil without hurting the roots of the plant.  Soak the roots in water for a while to loosen up  the remaining soil.

Drilling of Holes

Using 5/8 drill bit, make a big hole at the bottom center of the coffee can.  If there is a need to increase the size of the hole when inserting the roots of the plant later on,  do it.  You just have to run the portable drill back and forth  through the hole.  Lastly, using the 9/64 drill bit, make 4 holes with equal spacing also around the rim side.  

Tying of Wires (a)

The length of wires to be cut will depend on the height where you will hang the coffee can planter.  In this case,  I just extend my both arms while holding one wire end from one hand to another hand to approximately measure it.  I cut and used it as my pattern to cut additional 3 wires.  Insert one wire end into the first hole at the rim.  Pull both  wire ends together and then twist them together at the edge of the coffee can several times only to keep the hold as shown in picture (a).  Do the same procedure with the other 3 wires.  

Tying of Wires (b)

Set the coffee can on the table. Hold all the wire ends together up while holding the coffee can with one hand as you align all the wires.  Twist all the wire ends together at the top only.  Provide an allowance to bend the wires around the screw driver to make a perfect circle for hanging as in picture (b).  Twist the excess wires altogether around at the end.       

Setting up the Tomato Plant (a)
Cut the bottom part of the biodegradable pot as in picture (a). Make a slit and a small hole at the center and set aside.  This will be used to prevent the roots from slipping down the hole when the plant is turned upside down.  The roots need to be stabilized inside the planter.

Setting up the Tomato Plant (b)

Remove the plant from the water and check on the roots if the soil has loosened up already as in picture (b).  Turn the coffee can upside down.  Carefully insert the roots of the tomato plant into the center hole.  Insert the slit bottom part of the biodegradable pot into the roots and stem to hold the plant itself inside the coffee can when the plant turns upside down.  If there is a need to make adjustment on the center hole of the biodegradable pot, do it.  Turn the coffee can up while holding the tomato plant with one hand.  Fill the coffee can with potting soil until the roots are well covered.
(Note: Sorry about the size of this picture being shown which is different from the other pictures.  I failed to rotate it while it was still in my camera.)

Hanging the Upside-Down Tomato Plant (a) 

Hanging the Upside-Down Tomato Plant (b)

Choose the best area where there is enough sunlight for the tomato plant.  You can hang it on one of the branches of the tree as in picture (a) or  hang it on the ceiling of your front porch as in picture (b)

The First Fruit
Look at that cute tomato!  (-.-) ha ha ha. After several weeks of watering and waiting, it bore its first fruit.  How amazing, isn’t it?  I really feel thankful that God gifted me with His blessings and graces to make this project possible.  Thank you very much, my Lord.

Looking back, at first I didn’t even know that I could really plant or make a plant alive.  I even experienced being ridiculed by a certain person I’ve known for many years who had a small garden. I requested my household helper to ask for some vegetables from her.  Before giving in to my request, she told my household helper this, “She just knows how to ask for some vegetables in my garden, but never knows how to plant them herself.”   My household helper went back to the house with the vegetables and told me the story.  Because of that “nice comment,” I didn’t ask for vegetables from her anymore. I looked around the area of the small house where I used to live even for a little ground space where I could plant. I just found a small ground area in the side area of the house where the soil looked not so fertile and there were even small stones which I removed.   I didn’t have any garden or potting soil and gardening tools to use because I really didn’t have any knowledge  about them.  I just used a big knife to dig a hole wearing no hand gloves at all.  It didn’t cross my mind also to buy pack of seeds from the grocery store.  To test if I could plant also, I tried to plant vegetables like, celery, carrots, bell pepper, chayote, and other vegetables I bought from the market that have roots, especially. My first plant I planted was a small chayote I bought from the market.  I dug a small hole and stuck it into the ground.  Next, I had a whole celery which I cut the bottom part with the roots and dug a small hole enough to hide the roots.  I had a carrot which I cut the upper part with the leaves and dug a small hole and stuck it into the ground also.  They all became alive and grew.  I even gave away the celery to a close friend of mine who saw it when it became big already. I used a small tin can to plant my first bell pepper and I was surprised that it grew and bore small bell peppers. I discovered that I could plant vegetables with roots or without roots and make them alive.  

When I had my own house constructed in the city, my eldest brother (Dear my Beloved Bro) gave me several small grafted plants like, santol,  avocado, lanzones, and duhat.  The ground around the house looked not so fertile and it was stony also.   I couldn’t removed them because they were big and heavy.  I just looked for the best area where I could easily dig with my knife and transplant them on the ground.  I didn’t even use any garden or potting soil also.  They all grew and I harvested the fruits of avocado, santol, and duhat after several years. My first harvest of avocado  was so abundant that I gave away lots to my close friends.  Its fruits were really nice and big while santol and duhat were not that sweet yet.  As the santol and duhat became older, their fruits became sweeter and abundant, especially the duhat.  I also transplanted a kamias plant given to me by a close friend in the same stony ground area near the lanzones plant. I also planted apple mango straight from the seed of the same fruit I ate. Overflowing in abundance of fruits that we couldn’t eat them all, but to share them with others. 

I’m thankful that it is an amazing grace that my Lord, my God endowed me with this “green thumb.”   Though how hurting her comment was previously, God made her an instrument in helping me discover my innate talent.   Maybe I should have showed her my unique plant I transformed and told her like this, “Hey, thank you very much for your previous “nice comment.”  If you didn’t say that, I would never discover that I can also plant.  I’m sorry, but I got a small branch only (without roots) from your garden without your knowledge and it grew so nicely.  Take a look at this plant.  I don’t think you know about this art of planting because there is none in your garden. It’s called bonsai. ” (-.-)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Travel - A Wonderful One-day Trip (Sky Ranch)

Before the school opens, my two married children decided to make a trip to Tagaytay.  They asked me to join them together with their children.  It was an exciting trip for the children to take rides in this place called SKY RANCH.  It is located in Tagaytay where the beautiful (still the volcano is silent) Taal Lake can be viewed as shown below:     

Taal Lake
 Though it took us more than two hours before reaching this place due to traffic, the sight of seeing this view of Taal Lake was really wonderful and worth the time and effort to visit. It was getting late in the afternoon and there were already many people around when we arrived.  My son-in-law had a hard time looking for a space to park his vehicle.  After paying our entrance fees, we excitedly looked around the place.  The weather was perfect, very windy and cool. We went to the hilltop and view the whole place as shown below:

The Sky Ranch
 It was an exciting one-day trip for me also because it was not only my first time to visit the place, but most important was, the fun time I had to spend with my grandkids again.  Fun, fun, fun…  Remember my Happy Happy Me Part 6?  Last time, we went to a shopping mall where we played games, watched movie,  dined out together, etc… This time, it was different.  I was surprised and at the same time, had fear when my eldest grandson who is 14 years old, took the courage to ride this adventurous aerial runway.

The Zip Line Rider
This smart kid who stands 5’6 ft dared to do it with confidence and courage.  At first, he was hesitant to do it because he said he was afraid, too, like me.  Having fear of something is just normal.  But if avoidance of object, activity, or situation that triggers your fear interferes with your normal functioning or keeps you from doing things that you would otherwise enjoy, it’s time to seek help.  If your fear is so severe that it triggers panic attack or uncontrollable anxiety, you many want to get additional support. Facing fear is the way to overcome it, otherwise, it will haunt you for life.  Self help is always worth a try.  Support doesn’t have to come in the guise of a professional therapist.  Just having someone to hold your hand or stand by your side as you face your fears can be  extraordinarily helpful.  

The Zip Line Ride

As his mother shouted in glee, “Hep, hep hooray! You can do it, son. You can do it,” his father was grinning cheerfully, too.  We were all excited and happy to see him after his ride. My two grandchildren were not qualified to take this ride.


The Caterpillar Ride
We took several rides and one ride we had that my eldest daughter took video of was the Caterpillar Ride as shown above.  “Yippee….”  I was with my youngest grandson, only granddaughter, and son-in-law.  Afterwards, we had our dinner in a nearby restaurant.

There were many people taking pictures in this area when we arrived.  We decided not to mingle with the crowd at that time. When closing time was nearing,  we waited for some people to be less in number.  Then when it was our time, we made these wacky poses as shown below:

Wacky Pose (1)

Wacky Pose (2)

Wacky Pose (3)