Friday, May 21, 2010

Plastic Vegetables in Space!!

And by plastic, I mean real vegetables whose forms can be coerced and molded to realize the fantasy of turning the growing process on its head. This morning I found this article from a couple days ago in the NY Times about garden tinkerers who have trained (or tricked?) their cherry tomato plants, their cucumbers and peppers, into growing down toward the ground out from holes cut in buckets and As-Seen-On-TV planters called the Topsy Turvy (pictured here). It's not quite as sci-fi as the window farms that use NASA technology to grow hydroponic vegetables, but the upside-down trick is a little mind-bending in its own right. Growing veggies up in the air protects them from the usual onslaught of weeds, beasties, and blight while also sparing space and the need for stakes, though it is inconclusive whether the upside-down element has any added benefit for the vegetables. At the very least, it makes those mad-scientist growers clap their hands together and exclaim, "How nice!" Or, to quote my favorite line from the article: "While there are skeptics, proponents say the proof is in the produce."

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