Latest solar fare:
Banana Crunch Muffins, loosely based on this recipe http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Banana-Muffins-with-a-Crunch/Detail.aspx?src=etaf
And finally the time has come to harvest from the Upside-Down Tomato experiments! Out of the 4 i planted, this is the only plant that appears healthy. The other 3 produced a few tiny tomatoes but their branches have dried and withered.
It was affirming to hear that many other folks who planted the UC-82 variety were also met with a disappointing, flavor-less tomato crop. The seeds were gifted to us by a local agricultural co-op, a sandinista program i would guess, that collaborates with the university to provide ag-info, workshops, seeds, and probably much more. We recently attended a lecture on zompopos (leaf-cutter ants), an ingenious insect that farms its own mushrooms (!!) and often destroys coffee crops in the process. The little einsteins harvest chunks of leaves and haul them back to their underground fungus farm, then feed on some bacteria or micro-organism that lives on the mushrooms. In Costa Rica there are eco-tours offering hikes to see leaf-cutter ants in action! Admittedly, it is cool to see a long line of them trekking back to the nest, the slices of bright green leaf seeming to herald the arrival of a medieval ant calvary.
In the lecture i was very impressed at the the organic approach to managing the pest, including the application of neem oil and the value placed on understanding the zompopo life cycle.
Back to the dangling tomatoes: as far as UC-82s go, these were not bad! Good color, typical square-ish shape, slightly juicier than the in-ground crop.
All in all, i'd say it's not a bad idea if you lack ample garden space. Otherwise......they weren't worth the precarious balance act of watering on a stool.