Dear Ms. Rochod,

Last year you were amused by my 10-ft tomato plant which grew without forethought. This year I started out with four 25-ft stakes. In the last week of October, the Washington Post put a phonto of my 17-ft tall tomatos on their on-line garden review slideshow. Below are photos of me on a 20-ft latter with one plant at 19-foot and others close by. Tomatos are growing only a few inches from the top.  My goal is 20-feet before first frost. I think your viewers would enjoy simple picture or video. Of the latter, you might pose the question, "How high can one pick tomatos?" as I climb the ladder."

More important than my playing with plant height is how my garden kept green all summer-long during a drought that killed my neighbors' gardens by the end of June. I canned 300 quarts of squash, peppers, tomatos, etc. Altogether, I figure I saved $4000 in food costs as well as gave away about $1000 in produce. My wife had contests at work for co-workers to win baskets of food.

Your station could do everyone a great favor (and generate some revenue)  by doing a short series on how one can keep their garden alive in times of drought. In 1982, I wrote a paper predicting that the most immediate impact of increased atmospheric CO2 would be longer droughts broken by deluges. On one day last week more rain feel than in the four months since June 1 which supports my thesis. Despite the one-day deluge, we are still in drought with water restrictions. Drought increases invasion by pests. Last year, I lost 90% of my corn to rodents, e.g., squirrels, raccoons, cats and possums. Thanks to three simple solutions, this year I lost none.

People need to be encouraged to garden in an efficient manner to grow more food so as to reduce food cost pressures at the grocery store. Furthermore, if people are enjoying nature in their garden then they are less likely to be engaged in CO2 sinning entertainment. Toward this twin goal, there are a few simple things you can share with your viewers with sponsorship by Southern Supply or Great Big Greenhouse.

My list of simple solutions for surviving succulents consist of inexpenive and mostly reusable items.

  1. $12 Drip Irrigation line: Waters directly with little waste which cuts watering costs by about 75% while reducing some diseases from broadcast watering. (Or, one can use a soaker hose.)
  2. $14 Timer: A simple timer costs only $14. With it, one can lock and load, increasing watering time as plans grow when rain don't fall.
  3. $12 In-line Fertilizer: $12 at Pleasants. With this, one can dump in the fertilizer with the drip line delivering right to the plants not weeds.
  4. $20 Other useful items are in-line filters and backflow preventer ($8 and $12)
  5. $9 Spray bottle & $9 for fungicide, bugs, and hot sauce.
  6. $9 Eco-safe Neem (bugs and wilt preventer) will last three or four seasons.

Bingo: Simple, inexpensive items makes gardening easier and surer. Total is $76 which if put in a WTVR special package could be sold for less. Amortized over seven years, it is ten dollars per year for a yield of hundreds dollars of food and fun.

If you do the simple solution series, I'd appreciate it if you used my partner in crime for some of the presentations. I am available as an advisor or consultant with no need or desire for more airtime.

Hoping to hear from you,

bob barnett

Pictures: west view ... east view ... partner in crime