Have you used an upside-down tomato planter?

Discuss

121 Responses to “Have you used an upside-down tomato planter?”

  1. Carolyn says:

    I had one for a year and LOVED it! (The reason I had it for one year was that we moved, and it did not survive the trip). We planted tomatoes in a traditional planter and in a Topsy-Turvy hanging tomato thing. Rodents destroyed the plants in the planter before they could bear fruit, but my hanging tomatoes were incredible. The plant initially tries to grow upwards, but once the branches get long and heavy enough (and you can kind of push them downwards) the branches start to grow down and out (mine was in a corner where the light only hit half of it, so I had to rotate the container regularly, and the branches grow outwards towards the sun). I live in San Diego, so I’m sure the weather helped, but I was harvesting ripe cherry tomatoes for the whole time I had it (plus, I just got a huge kick out of an upside down plant). If you’re in an area where traditional planters aren’t a viable option, I recommend the upside down ones!

  2. chinasky says:

    I’ve heard great things about the upside down tomato planters. I plan on experimenting with them this season as well.

    Also, if you are short on space, I recommend you check out this blog: http://lifeonthebalcony.com/ Also try http://the6x8garden.blogspot.com/

    Both are good blogs to pick up ideas for gardening in smaller spaces.

    • Fern @ Life on the Balcony says:

      chinasky–Thanks for recommending Life on the Balcony! If you do end up experimenting with an upside down tomato planter, I’d love to hear what you think. If you’re interested, I’d love to publish your thoughts as a guest post. I’ve never been able to try them because my condo association doesn’t allow us to drill holes or hang things on our balconies.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have used one, and will not try again. I got one medium sized tomato, and two or three tiny ones. The plant seemed to want to grow upward, even though it was hanging down, and the leaves curled around during the day like they do at night. I think the plant was stressing too much by being upside down, to produce fruit. I did have to put it in a place where it only got about 7 hours of direct sun a day, and another six or seven of of partial sun, so that it wasn’t in direct sun all day may have contributed to my poor results.

    But in comparing my plant to the pictures of the ones in the ads, I can’t see how those “ad pictures” could have possibly been grown upside down. They “look” like plants that were grown in the proper orientation, and then turned upside down for the picture. Don’t absolutely know that to be true, but it would be my guess.

    If you have room to grow a hanging plant, I would suggest a regular hanging planter, and just hang it a couple of feet lower, and use strings to tie up the vines. I haven’t tried that, but based on my experience, I would be inclined to believe that the results would be better. And probably much cheaper than the topsy turdy.

  4. ssll says:

    We had about 8 buckets hanging on the front porch last summer. I can’t believe Home Depot charges so much for buckets. We just found a bunch in an alley behind some restaurants.

    I think they’re aesthetically pretty and they seem to make people who walk by really happy. If I did it again I would spray paint the buckets all green just because.

    I would only recommend this with cherry tomatoes. Of course, plant a few different varieties so they become ripe at different times. Also consider when you’re hanging them what angle the sun is going to be at in the middle of August.

  5. SamSam says:

    I made the 3-liter version from Instructibles that #19 references two summers ago. It worked pretty well, but definitely stunted compared to my other tomatoes grown in similar amounts of soil.

    This summer I’m making a few self-watering containers.

    Mark, whatever you should do, you should make it. I’m a little surprised that such an advocate of maker culture would be buying these and buying pre-made self-watering containers, since you could be advocating for all of us to make these things!

  6. Anonymous says:

    We used some last year, and found they worked well for cherry tomatoes and also Japanese eggplant (the skinny ones). But, they were trash by the end of the season, so don’t expect them to last. They do take more watering. Also, to make them work, you have to hang them up pretty high, and in our case that meant a confabulation of shepherd’s hooks all wired together so they wouldn’t fall over. All in all, a good size planter, maybe 3-4 gallons, is simpler, and that’s what we plan to do this year.

  7. Prospero761 says:

    I got one for Christmas this year and am looking forward to seeing what kind of results I get. I’ll let you know.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We had two last year, hung next to our second story windows. No rot problems. One worked great, one worked OK. For the first time ever, we got to grow tomatoes and not have the deer eat them. We’ll do it again this year. I wouldn’t want to mess with making one of these myself, I’m fine with buying them.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would recommend you get something to hang along a fence or such and grow a tomato plant that way. Rice bags with drainage holes punched in work quite well. The plants want to grow towards the sun, so while hanging is a great idea, upside down is not.

  10. DaughterNumberThree says:

    Karen Youso, the consumer reporter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, did a test of a Topsy Turvy vs. a homemade version vs. in the ground, using the same tomato variety in the same sun exposure. She found mixed results overall, but there are some good details in her article.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We had a Topsy Turvy last year, growing cherries.

    Worked just fine. We got lots of tasty fruit. We didn’t compare it scientifically to a normal pot to say if it worked better or worse. Hung it outside off the corner of our deck and light was never a problem. Our 10 yr old made sure it got enough water.

    It was gifted to us and seemed a reasonable success. We’ll use it again this year.

  12. CoquiELF says:

    Having read in many places the challenges with the upright habit, I’ve been planning to do something similar to this for my cherry tomatoes this year:

    “Tomato Tree” http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/North_America/United_States/South/Florida/Orlando/photo184410.htm

    My local (and Mark, your old hometown) greenhouse Sturtz & Copeland has a cherry tomato trained across several rafters strung with bird netting and this is exactly the shade structure/fruiting vine that I want to emulate. I was thinking I could even place my planter/5 gallon bucket up near the rafters so it doesn’t take up ground space and can get going on the netting right away.

    We had to take out a tree this winter and I’m looking forward to trying this system as a replacement for the shade on our deck.

  13. Anonymous says:

    No, Mother Nature, you put YOUR hands up.

  14. Anonymous says:

    We used them last year for a giggle and we’re pleasantly surprised with the output. We had two hanging planters with cherry tomatoes and two “control” plants in big planters. The hanging ones had far more tomatoes that made it to our salads, but that was more due to the fact that the hanging plants were inaccessible to the local groundhogs and squirrels.

    So growth wise, I can confirm what others say, they try to grow up and around the hanging planter bucket. Eventually they make it and start producing fruit. A bit of a tangled mess of stems, but it worked.

  15. melpriestley says:

    Having tried several of these contraptions on my former apartment balcony, I have to say that a good old fashioned pot is the way to go. The upside down tomato planters are a rip-off; the plants will rot and fall out before you get any fruit. Similarly, the hanging herb containers are not very effective; one plant usually ends up taking over at the expense of the others. Either that, or they all die.

    To maximize space, use long rectangular planters rather than a bunch of circular pots. Hanging pots are also a good space saver – and tomatoes can also be trained along netting, as previous posters indicate. Just don’t waste your money on any of these “miracle” growing containers!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’m a county agent in Arkansas. I deal with a lot of people who use these. I see it as more of a gimmick. Needs more water in Arkansas than you can possibly give it. Folks here often have less success with it than traditional methods. For at least the brand sold here, there isn’t enough soil volume. A 5-gal bucket works better if you’re committed to trying it. I recommend growing them the traditional way: upward. Use a trellis. This might work better in more mild climates. This is a good method for handicapped gardeners since you can easily set the basket at a comfortable height.

  17. Ed Frome says:

    I tried Topsy Turvy last year, and it failed hard.
    First negative point was that it required a ton of soil, which made the container extremely heavy (that’s a figurative ton, not a literal ton…I think it was probably about 35 lbs, or 16 kg).
    Second problem was that plants want to grow toward the sun, which is rather difficult when you’re hanging by your feet.
    Third problem is that the soil container blocks much of the sunlight, as it is positioned above the plant.

    The tomatoes grown in my greenhouse, although performing not as well as they did the previous year, produced much better than the topsy turvy, which grew to be about 6 inches (15cm) over the couse of the entire warm season, and yielded zero tomatoes.

  18. Anonymous says:

    i’ve got about four of these and have used them the last couple of years. They are wonderful for cherry tomatoes. Mine haven’t worn out like some other folks’ here, but I got them at a high quality store so they may be a different brand.
    Clearly a case of OMMV.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Don’t do it! Last year we bought two, and it was the first year that we couldn’t get any veggies to grow. Total waste of money and plants.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Less maintenance than vegetale patch no more practical than grow bags in my opinion.

    I have had quite a bit of success with the upside down tomato garden these last 2 seasons. They did do better in my conservatory where it was a bit wamer, I live in the UK but my upside down garden and planter also produced quite a bit of fruit.
    A good review and tutorial can be found at the Practical Home and Garden Upside Down Tomato Garden review http://www.practicalhomeandgarden.com/the-upside-down-tomato-garden. There is also a tutorial there to create your own planter.

  21. MikeKStar says:

    Just got 4 of these from gardeners.com with the heavy duty stand. Haven’t planted them yet as the seedlings are just getting started but we have high expectations after many years of failed traditional in-ground tomato growing attempts.

    Putting them together they seem pretty sturdy and quality made but I think the real secret is in the type of soil used – the instructions says not to use regular potting soil but instead a more loam type container soil that they sell (of course).

    The water resevoir is really nothing more than a plastic tub that sits on top with some fabric strips that lead from the water bucket into the soil to act as the capillary system.

    We’re at high altitude and our growing season is only around 80 days so what I really need is one of the geodesic dome greenhouses featured here last week. Too bad I don’t have a spare 5G’s to shell out like that guy did.

  22. JoshP says:

    for the record, we used a hand-mixed soil, no water resevoir and made like a hung horse(heh, dirty mind) trough last year. We planted herbs on top. sage, mint…etc. I was junking the damn things in the creek I had so many tomatoes..I hate tomatoes anyway. I was like a curse. A plus, some of the herbs naturalized and are still producing.

  23. hokeypokey says:

    I tried this because I was low on space. I had to spend a lot of time monitoring the moisture, on sunny days it was often too dry, on rainy days the soil would be too wet. The yield was very low. Instead I planted tomatoes in a medium sized planter. I yielded a normal crop of tomatoes and was able to interplant herbs on top which helped maintain even moisture. I did the same with two small bell pepper plants and one jalapeno plant all in a plot approximately 2ft by 6ft. I was able to plant more in pots because the hanging tomatoes shade shaded the ground below, where as the potted plants didn’t. Also, it was easy to bring the pots in when we had a freak frost and bring them back out when it warmed up two days later.
    Good luck and have fun.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I took care of my dad’s last summer while he was away. It produced gorgeous foliage and only 6 teeny tiny tomatoes the whole summer–I think the tomatoes did not get enough sun since they were UNDER the foliage. Fail.

  25. Anonymous says:

    i’ll admit it looks fascinating, but when you think of it, the apical meristem should naturally move toward the light and upwards. the plant, i think, should bend way more than depicted in the picture. aside from that, i’m not sure how it would affect the actual production of fruit.
    sounds like an interesting experiment though…

  26. firstbakingbook says:

    We tried this last year, with one of the modified-bucket designs. Our soil has a blight that kills tomatoes, so we were trying to find a different solution. The plants grew very well as long as we watered them very regularly. Eventually they withered when we missed a few days of watering, but they still produced a handful of very flavorful tomatoes. We had one cherry plant, and one full-sized plant.

    I really like the idea in the comments above, of adding something to the bucket to retain some water. I suspect that would work great.

    We didn’t have the problem of flooding that someone else reported, because the lid goes back on the bucket before hanging. (!!)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Another thing, the entire rig is HEAVY (and if you have any luck, gets heavier). Your mount must be solid solid–we ran through a couple of chintzier brackets. If you plan on moving it to adapt to a mobile lifestyle, forget it. Good luck.

  28. CheshireKitty says:

    (I have NOT tried the upside-down planter.)
    We got taupe-colored plastic garbage cans, 40 or 50 gallon, I think they were. drilled a hole near the bottom, and used those as our tomato planters, planting 2 to 3 in each with tomato cages. They worked great! We had a south-facing balcony of about 25 ft by 8 ft.
    We’ve had them about 9 years and they’re still in great shape!
    (Black Krim, 4th of July, Yellow Pear, and Brandywine)
    (Black Krim is INSANELY DELICOUS with just a sprinkle of sea salt)

  29. Anonymous says:

    ignore the first poster, we had one on our balcony last summer and it was fine, it fruited many tomatoes

  30. Anonymous says:

    we are all over innovative ways to grow “jamatas” and while this looks like it could maybe work for some…we has bought some smart pots ( smartpots.com ) that seem to make more sense for us.they are a fabric pot that commercial nurseries have used with great results for years.we’re coupling them with some polish soldaki heirloom seeds..wish us luck.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I had similar issues with space and also the quality of soil so I picked up the gravity planter to use with cherry tomato plants. These things work amazing! If you buy younger tomato plants you will want to plant two together but only use one plant if it is larger. And then water! I used some fertilizer every once in awhile and the results were awesome. It was great to be able to move it around when necessary and it is re-usable. Have fun and happy planting!

  32. Anonymous says:

    A few years back I purchased one of the upside down tomato gardens from Hammacher Schlemmer
    http://www.hammacher.com/Product/77882?promo=search
    I live in South Central Wisconsin.
    I wanted to try this as I had 2 very large dogs at the time and a small enough yard that there was not enough good area to cordon off for a garden. There are positives and negatives, I have used it every year since and have grown many different tomato varieties, generally with good results. On the huge plus side NO WEEDING! You do need to water a couple of times a day, but I figured I saved water as it was easy and quick to saturate the container in the mornings and that was usually enough. On particularly hot days sometimes I would water a few times a day. I have planted as many as 7 plants of three different varieties at a time in this contraption and have culled many tomatoes. The cons, they seem to ripen on the vine a bit slower than in normally planted gardens. The planter itself is best located in an area that has as many sides open to the sun as possible. Another con is when filled with soil, and when the plants are mature with allot of tomatoes on them , the weight can start to bend and warp the corner plastic posts. I have found it does not work as well unless I fill the top with as much soil as it will hold, which is heavy when wet. I have had to reinforce the supports with jury rigged lumber to keep them from failing on very hot days. Overall, this does work. no worry about it being unnatural for the plants, they acclimate easily and quickly turn all their leaves so the tops face the sun. A nice pro is that the tomatoes all hang nicely and never wind up sitting on the ground.
    I aided this by using two 2×8 sections of trellis on two sides last season and rigged up supports to allow the vines to spread out a bit and not dangle to the ground on the other sides using standard tomato cages. Overall, each of the last 3 years I have used this, I have grown more tomatoes than I could use myself. Not as many as a nice sized garden plot- but how many tomatoes do you need?

  33. Anonymous says:

    I’ve used them with success(and work in horticulture). If you’re already using Earthboxes i wouldn’t switch to upside down planters. I also wouldn’t hang one on anything less than a 4×4 sunk into the ground.

    They’re a good way to grow plum, cherry or even roma tomatoes, but i wouldn’t do anything bigger. I haven’t tried one with a reservoir, but i do recommend using water absorbing polymers as the soil volume is just not big enough for a mature tomato plant.

    Like all planting in potting soil, fertilizing is key. It’s even more important in a situation like this when you have a relatively small amount of soil for the plant. You’d either need to add something time release ferts or follow the weakly, weekly rule (probably every watering if you’re using compost tea).

    If you want to add hanging vegetables, you might try hanging cucumbers in a basket rather than tomatoes. You just need a good sized hanging basket (14″ or bigger) and plant one hill in it. You can let the vines hang down, or run some string for them to grow out on.

    Some of my best per hill harvests have come from hanging basket cukes. The love the air circulation, being susceptible to mildews. But you will have to do some nitrogen feeding to keep them happy. I also like plugging the drain hole of a small terra cotta pot and sinking it to the rim in the soil. When you water you fill the pot and it will act as a reservoir.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I tried one – rotted, stunted… don’t wast your money.

  35. Jason Olshefsky says:

    I saw one in a magazine then tried making my own from a coffee can. It worked okay, but the tomatoes were hard to transplant through the hole and I ended up damaging them.

    That’s when I realized __a hanging planter is just as good__. The plants don’t know to “grow downward” anyway, and an upside-down planter makes it easier for water to leak out. My next project on this front will include a soil heater so I can grow indoors year-round.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hi,

    I’ve not used them personally, but have a friend who loves them. I do have another friend who came up with a great idea! She uses recycled cat litter boxes (the mega-sized ones with the sand-like litter). She drills small holes for drainage and a big one for the tomato stem. They seem to work just great for her! Also, they’re kept in full sun.

  37. billstewart says:

    I tried one without much luck last year. Maybe I didn’t get the right potting soil or the right amount of water? On the first try, the tomato stem rotted out around ground level and fell off. The second try I used what should have been a 1-2″ tomato, and I got about a dozen cherry-sized fruits total. I think I’ll try a variety that’s *meant* to be a cherry tomato this year.

  38. cbmills says:

    I have two here in Miami. Trying to use them for both tomatoes and bell peppers, not great results on either. You have to water them often b/c the small hole at the top ensures they don’t get much natural water.

    I like hydro with wicks in a tub of water better.

    It can be hard to get larger plants into them and it’s definitely harder to replace a plant as the foam ring and all the soil need to be removed.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I’ve used Topsy Turvey’s and made my own out of large planters or plastic buckets. The plastic buckets work just as well.

    Tomatoes: With frequent/proper watering and fertilization, the plants grew faster than similar plants I had in the ground. They produced about the same number of fruits although, I had a lot of “blossom end rot” with my hanging tomatoes. There is a lot of debate as to what causes BER but, overwatering and/or calcium deficiency are two of the main causes.

    Peppers: This is where this system shines. Forget tomatoes. Plant them in the ground. Pepper plants explode when planted this way. Perhaps it has something to do with pepper plants liking heat and the fact that the container holding the soil is exposed to direct sunlight allowing it to heat up. My bell peppers were huge!! I had some bell peppers that were almost cantalope size! The peppers got so large, I had to start tying up the branches up to keep them from snapping. My Cubanelles peppers, although not larger in size, produced more per plant. Banana peppers, again although the individual peppers were similar in size to peppers from plants in the ground, produced more peppers per plant. I plan on trying Jalapeno’s this season as well.

    Jeff

  40. rebus says:

    Sorry, don’t have one but I have been fascinated since first seeing the TV ad for them. So glad you inquired about them. In the posts above it is absolutely amazing they work at all.

    If you pay attention to the ad, you can see that not only is it an upside down vertically grown plant, it is the same one over and over, despite it being “used” by different families in different places. Unless somehow it not only defies gravity, it also grows tomatoes in the exact same pattern every time.

  41. Anonymous says:

    We’ve used these for several years. Ours does not have the reservoir so we water daily. We’ve mostly gotten excellent results. The variety of tomato plant being the biggest differentiator. Cherry tomatoes have been great, some of the medium sized also did quite well while the larger ones did the worst overall.

  42. DJBudSonic says:

    Tomatoes seem to like warm roots and cooler tops around here, you might try making them out of black plastic buckets to absorb more heat during the day; and grow them upright, well-supported. I like to plant the hardened seedlings right up to their necks- so only the top 2 sets or so of leaves are exposed.

    To get water down to the lower roots in really big containers I have used pieces of copper pipe or metal conduit w/ a screened end in the soil- pour it down the pipe. I could go on and on… a container favorite for me has been the super-prolific “Matt’s Wild Cherry” which sets in near-perfect, fractal-like clusters of well spaced fruit in the range of 12mm – 20mm. They hang tight on the stems until they are super-ripe, they have not been messy as some cherries can be -which can be bad news on a patio, lining a walk etc.

    A hanging bucket herb garden is nice to have – punch a bunch of holes staggered in the bucket sides and bottom (smaller for drainage) and fill w/your growing medium from the bottom up, when you get to a hole push a starter plant in and backfill, repeat till done. Leave soil below bucket lip to aid watering. I did this with three 4-packs; thyme, lemon thyme & oregano and stuck some bush beans up top. It did weigh a ton to hang but I got a huge ZZ-Top crop beard. Good Luck!

  43. dbisping says:

    the upside down planters are novelty/gimmick items. your tomato yield will be far lower than a plant growing in a pot or the ground. they are only effective it you don’t have a place to set a pot or if you can’t bend over to tend the plant.

    you’d be much better off doing a raised bed/square foot garden that you can terrace or if all else fails using pots.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I have used the upside-down tomato planter with great success! I grew mini-tomatoes: it hung off a hook from my deck; got plenty of sun; the water was mostly retained by the sponge, though I would water it twice on very hot days, and use a LOT of water.

    Takes two people to get set-up properly – one to hold the thing, the other to scoop the dirt. Make sure your hanging bracket is STRONG.

    Best of luck!

  45. crikeycreek says:

    I’ve not used them, and do wonder about the physiological consequences of upside-down leaves: stomata underneath and chloroplasts up top. Also, I think abscisic acid, which inhibits branching and is produced in stem tips, migrates under gravity and could be why plants are warped.

    Two design thoughts for problems suggested above are: a mirror underneath if phototropism is why plants are warped, and a thin layer of gravel at the bottom of the soil leading to a tube to drain excess water and avoid anoxia.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I tried a few upside-down tomato plants last summer, green zebra and sun gold varities, to add a little color to the crop of (mostly non-heirloom) plants in the graden proper. I used coconut husk baskets rather than buckets or pre-made bags, and like several have already said, I was really displeased with the results. The plants seem to spend more energy trying to grow up than to produce fruit. I only got a handful of cherry tomatoes from each plant (maybe a dozen combined) and will not bother trying this growing method again. I’ve found it to be much more effective to grow them right side up in 5 gal buckets.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I used two last year, and compared against “normal” grown tomatoes as well. The upside down plants did a lot worse. Making sure we had the correct watering was extremely difficult, and the plants just didn’t “like” being upside down (in direct comparison). I’m an engineer by training, and seeing the direct comparison means I won’t do the upside down growing again.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I can second the blossom-end-rot problem. I found that salts from my tap water had nowhere to leech to, collecting near the roots. The excessive drying out caused by the extra sun exposure made twice-daily watering mandatory. Cherry tomatoes worked passably, but other varieties died young and yielded small. I ended up taking the rest of my grocery store buckets (pastry department, free) and using them right side up, training the tomatoes along a string to the eave that would have been my hanging spot. That worked better.

    I might try peppers this year, as the extra heat might help rather than hurt them here in Ohio…

  49. Anonymous says:

    I bought the Upsy Downsy kit from Wal-Mart. I don’t have a green thumb at all, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. The kit was only $7.00, so I had little to lose. I am amazed on how well the plants are doing with little maintenance, other then watering the plants everyday. I am IMPRESSED! I must have 150 tomatoes on the vines. Great Product!

  50. Anonymous says:

    Mark,

    I used them once and they worked very well, but I wouldn’t spend $20 bucks for one, since you can make them out of other materials. In fact, this “Guns ‘N Gardens” Youtube clip has some good ideas: http://gomistyle.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/surviving-the-zombie-apocalypse/

  51. ryarwood says:

    I’ll jump in on this. I got a girlfriend who is in love with these things. I also have a family with a heavy background in horticulture. They assure me there is no science behind this thing. Little quote from Amazon:

    “By hanging the planter upside-down, water runs down the stem of the plant and collects right where the stem emerges from the planter. The stem ends up rotting from the pooling water, where in a normal planter it would go away from the plant and also feed the roots.

    The plants end up convoluted and congested as they try to turn upward toward the sun. Essentially, the plants try to grow up into themselves and turn into a nasty knot of tangled growth. The planter itself also shields the plant from the sun, particularly when the plant is young.

    I ended up hanging fishing weights from the ends of the branches to try to make them grow downward. Fruit was produced ultimately, but the fruits were undersized and subject to rotting from the water dripping down on them from above.”

    Buy a pot.

    • Anonymous says:

      We had two of these last year growing standard tomatoes along wiht two plants in a raised bed (one cherry and one standard tomato) and a second cherry tomato plant in a standalone 5 gallon container. All got the same soil mix and essentially the same light and water.

      The hanging containers were a nightmare. First off, these end up being incredibly heavy. We had each on an iron shepard’s hook and both bent the pole’s enough to make us nervous all season. I suggest a heavy-capacity hook deeply embedded in solid wood framing on your house or eaves. They’re also ugly too, so we expended effort to pretty them up. The plants themselves fruited late because they expended most of their energy contorting up into the light, knotting into themselves and up around the planter. The fruit they produced was smaller than the raised bed plant and about half the yield of that plant, even though they were essentially the exact same plants.

      Our cherry tomato in the small garden container went nuts. Just do that and trellis it against a well. Ours had about a foot-wide swath to grow up between our gate and garage door. Worked like a charm.

      These planters are a waste of time and money. If anything, do it DIY and don’t buy them.

  52. Col. Jaynger says:

    I think the cheap option is to cut a hole in the bottom of a bucket, use the handle to hang it, water like normal. You then grow your herbs out the top.

  53. agoodey says:

    I used one of these last year, and my father had two. My father’s worked pretty well in a green house, but mine was outside and the tomato plant died after a couple of months – it had rotted off where it came out of the bottom of the hanging basket.

    One thing that we both noticed was that the watering system, a water reservoir and capillary strip, was just too unreliable to trust.

    This year I will be going back to regular hanging baskets with the tomatoes growing out of the top as I have had much more reliable experience with these. – You can add water retaining gel to the compost if you are concerned that they may dry out on hot days…

  54. Osprey101 says:

    $20 from garden supply, or a $2.34 “Homer” bucket from Home Depot.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you’re growing organic, you’ll want a used food-safe plastic bucket. Delicatessens are good for pickle and boiled egg buckets.

    • Anonymous says:

      The square plastic buckets kitty litter comes in are perfect. Recycled, and white not dayglo orange.

  55. Kevin Carson says:

    Like others have said, just get a big pot and plant some cherry tomatoes. I’ve had excellent luck with potted cherry tomatoes–extremely prolific when larger ones out in the garden were doing poorly.

  56. mko says:

    No, I haven’t. But I’ve been calling the frisbee throw where the disc completely turns over and floats gently down inverted an “upside-down tomato” for at least 20 years. So… uh, yeah.

  57. acipolone says:

    Mark — Have you considered indoor hydroponics? I’ve never tried it, but this site has always tempted me. (It’s useless to me now as I have a decent sized yard for a garden, but still very cool.)

    This is for a three-bottle kit: http://our.windowfarms.org/2009/07/29/3-plant-air-lift-window-farm/

    Here is their general site with all the plans: http://www.windowfarms.org/

  58. PalookaJoe says:

    We’re trying them this year as a way to better manage soil moisture. So far, so good. With only small openings on each end, evaporation is much slower than it is for our “grounded” tomatoes. In fact, we have to water our traditionally-planted tomatoes almost twice as often to keep the soil comparably moist. That’s a big deal for a desert gardener.

    All of our tomato plants are about the same size, no matter where they’re planted. It doesn’t seem like either method has an advantage there. We haven’t seen any blossoms yet (they usually appear in a couple more weeks), so I can’t comment on yield.

    The planters we’re using are simpler than the ones you have pictured above. There’s no reservoir for water. I think they’re Topsy Turvy brand. The hanging hardware is excellent, but I don’t have a lot of faith in the PVC-fabric bag. The Arizona sun is really hard on that stuff, and I doubt they’ll last more than one year.

    In order to save the runoff, we hung our planters over a bed of lettuce. So far its been an effective arrangement, although the lettuce will be long devoured before the tomatoes are finished.

  59. blue balaclava says:

    Are these planters just a snack source for squirrels and other climbing critters?

  60. accordioncarol says:

    Here is the address on Instructables for making self-watering soil boxes that I have made for at least 6 years. They work much better than the up-side down planters, and one doesn’t need to water but once a wk. http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-your-own-earth-filled-box/

  61. Anonymous says:

    Skip the overpriced contraption and use a 5 lidded gallon bucket with a handle and a hole in the bottom. Start the plants “right side up” by keeping the lid on for the first week or to. Plant herbs on top in mulch to reduce water loss to evaporation. I’ve never seen much success with varieties larger than “plum” size. Also works best with determinant[sic] varieties (not upright).

    My wife and I have used these for cherry tomatoes in small yards spaces with good success. It’s not as effective as tomatoes from our garden soil, but making use of vertical space is great.

  62. kbryan44 says:

    I used two Topsy Turvy panters last year. They worked fairly well, no better or worse than growing them in pots. The problem for me was they fell completely apart after one season. The bags are made of some kind of plastic weave, kind of like a feed sack, that gets bleached and brittle when kept in full sun, where tomatoes are supposed to be grown. I won’t be using them again.

  63. Xenu says:

    Unless you have really high ceilings, I don’t see why this would take less space.

  64. geekpdx says:

    I used them with mixed success.
    If you want to try one, don’t spend $20, go on a garage sale hunt (it’s getting to be that time…) and find one that someone else didn’t use or doesn’t want for $3.

  65. Modern Jess says:

    I’ve used these. They work… okay. Not great. The plants always seem to be a bit on the stunted side compared to their upward-growing cousins.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Ignore the overpriced hanging system. If you want LOTS of veggies, try a gro-box. Especially for Tomatoes.

    One of the other comments mentioned the stem rotting, and it’s absolutely true. Nothing worse than being half way through a growing season to check the development of the ‘maters only to find the entire plant rotted off the stalk.

    Tomatoes in general do better up right with a nice warm soil and lots of water. Things like peas and beans might do well in it though. Peas and beans love to climb. Although, again the water collecting by the stem is a little concerting.

    Have a great grow btw.

  67. IronEdithKidd says:

    Yes, we’ve used a Topsy-Turvy the last two years. Not because we want to, but because the mother-in-law’s feelings will be hurt if we don’t use it until it wears out (I pray that happens after this year).

    I will not mince words. It sucks. We grow roma, primarily. That’s what we’ve stuck in this stupid thing, too. The yields are paltry and it wastes an Olympic-size pool of water by the end of summer as it requires daily watering regardless of atmospheric conditions.

    Bottom line: don’t bother; use pots. Get rid of your grass. Don’t plant flowers, plant food.

  68. serfer0 says:

    If you are in Chicago, check out the hanging tomato plants put together at Gethsemane Garden Center on the northside. gethsemanegardens.com
    The plants are simply a plant hanger and soil in a large plastic pot with a hole drilled in the bottom, but they come with an excellent tomato plant and are already put together for you. The cost is around $23.
    Full disclosure: I worked there last summer, but moved on after the season was over. I got to see those baskets grow throughout the season and taste the results and “Wuh-Wow” is the verbal equivalent of what my taste buds felt. Really extraordinary tomatoes.
    Here is the huge caveat about hanging tomato plants that are already put together, though: Stem breakage on the trip home.
    For this reason it is ill-advised to lay the plant down on it’s side. You really need a vehicle, bike, arms, whatever, that will allow you to transport the plant upside-down. Ah, I should mention that the plants at Gethsemane are already about a yard long, not including planter and hanger, when offered for sale.
    If you can pull off that trip home, though, it is so worth it.

  69. SKR says:

    just get patio hybrids that stay small and produce a ton of fruit.

  70. Anonymous says:

    I was going to say what crikeycreek said in comment #60. Would a mirror beneath the topsy turvy make a difference, or better desiging the watering so the stem does not rot?

    Where I have seen this Topsy Turvy tomato growing done successfully, despite almost 95 percent or more of the comments here seeming to be negative, is by a new york restauranteur, who uses a greenhouse on the roof to grow most of the produce the restaurant uses. And he seemed to successfully use this method to its ideal potential, the program I saw on him, he had scads of these hanging tomato gardens, with sandwich sized tomatoes he could just pluck from hanging vines, with not contact rot on any of the fruit. Perhaps his watering method was more controlled preventing rot issues, and the angle of the sun, being in a diffuse manhatten rooftop greenhouse, was not causing phototropism issues. Also, being inside a greenhouse, pest issues were minimized as well.

  71. ms444125 says:

    The upside-down tomato plant is a great idea, even better if it had a swivel hook attachment to turn the plant a little daily for even growth, that way all sides of tomato would grow better-just a thought!

  72. Anonymous says:

    um, plants grow towards sunlight, it sort of works but try it yourself with a used bucket, don’t bother with the kit or better yet just get one of the smaller tomato plants and grow it right side up

  73. vetnoir says:

    I have not used one personally, but I have some friends that have these hanging in their back yard for a couple years now. They have been happy with them and say the tomatoes taste fantastic. All I can testify to is that they make great salsa.

  74. Tweeker says:

    I make tomato cages from #10 concrete reinforcement mesh wire. It works really well and is very tough.

  75. Day Vexx says:

    I’ve never understood how this is a good idea. How many people who lack space this severely ALSO have some outdoor area capable of supporting a heavy bag of soil and water hanging from a chain?

    • jackie31337 says:

      I live in a 4th-floor apartment with a balcony. I have no yard, but I certainly have a place to hang something like this. I’m thinking of getting one of those hanging herb planters where the plants grow out holes in the side of it. Has anyone had any experience with those?

  76. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with ryarwood. My tomato plants tried to turn right-side up and just went everywhere. They produced almost no fruit. The ones in the ground gave me a cup of cherry tomatoes a day.

    (I am so sick of tomatoes.)

  77. Antinous / Moderator says:

    If your humidity’s high enough to keep it from drying out constantly, it might work. Tomatoes are vines, so why not train them to grow up the sides of the containers, providing shade to the root ball? There are probably some cultivars that will adapt well to this and others that will do poorly.

  78. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    Thanks for your opinions. When commenting, please indicate whether or not you have used an upside-down planter. I’m more interested in experiences than guesses.

  79. Anonymous says:

    I tried DIY ones last year. I did 11 of them in buckets, both 1 gallon and 5 gallons from lowes. I planted herbs in the tops, sometimes beans to grow up (and to set nitrogen and stuff). I also planted in these strawberries (in 2 inch holes in the sidesm as many as 9 plants per bucket) and squash.

    5 gallons work much better than 1 gallon. The larger mass stores more h20. Taller seems to be more important than wide. I used bits of air conditioner filters (Blue, the type designed to cut to size) as reinforcers over the holes to keep from loosing soil. I just cut a square and cut a slit half way through and put the stem in the slit.

    Lessons:
    1. The wider the bucket the more shade. The tomatoes grew well once they got out from under the bucket. So the 1 foot ones did better.
    2. The larger buckets (5 gallons) held water better So needed less watering once tomatoes grew past the underside of the bucket.
    3. Determinate varieties did better.
    4. Plastic buckets fatigue under UV. The handles rip out over time. 5 gallons especially. By the end of the summer just about all fell down. I’m thinking of doing PVC ones I’ll make out of large diameter pipes this year.
    5. Filling with the right soil and doing correct drainage is critical. 2″ of gravel in the bottom, soil made from mixing bagged sanitary topsoil, compost (mushroom in my case) and something organic and spongy works best.
    6. Strawberries worked the well. Kept slugs out. Also easy to store for the winter. This years crop will be great IF i can figure out how to hang it again since the handle broke off. (metal handle went through plastic. Plastic handles just broke).
    7. Globe basil worked the best for the herbs in the top.
    8. Great way to increase height so you can plant an extra row against the house. Supports also good for growing beans up.

    -GReg

  80. Anonymous says:

    Try The Skyscraper Garden Trellis – http://www.compostore.com/skyscraper-garden-trellis.html?gclid=CLeHw4iCh6MCFZdL5Qod-nD1Zw

    It can be used in limited spaces and a 4 sq ft plot will grow more produce than a horizontal 24 sq ft garden.

  81. jeligula says:

    My aunt is the horticulture queen. Four years ago (before the hanging trend) she tried an upside-down growing system that was on legs. She had limited success with large varieties and great success with cherry tomatoes. She now uses her contraption for cherry tomatoes only and puts the larger ones in the planting bed. She dismisses the hanging pots as a gimmick for suckers, but she’s always free with her opinions.

  82. Anonymous says:

    I tried this last year and had pretty good success, but instead of purchasing a “kit”, we used three liter soda bottles with decorative contact paper wrapped around them.
    We got the idea from Instrucables.
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Go_Green_Upside_Down_Hanging_Planters/

    The contact paper shields the roots from the sun and looks a little nicer.
    We hung them on the south side of the house and got a lot of tomatoes with a decent taste. We did have to water them quite often, but as we were in the process of moving, we didn’t want to put anything in the ground.

  83. Anonymous says:

    Can’t see the point of these.

    Each year I grow more tomatoes than my wife and I can eat in two 8 inch hanging baskets, each with three plants in. Choose a small bush variety like ‘Tumbling Tom’ or ‘Gartenperle’, water well every day and feed with a proper tomato feed every other day when the fruits have set and you should have loads of fruit.

  84. Rikostan says:

    I tried this last year and had pretty good success, but instead of purchasing a “kit”, we used three liter soda bottles with decorative contact paper wrapped around them.
    We got the idea from Instrucables.
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Go_Green_Upside_Down_Hanging_Planters/

    The contact paper shields the roots from the sun and looks a little nicer.
    We hung them on the south side of the house and got a lot of tomatoes with a decent taste. We did have to water them quite often, but as we were in the process of moving, we didn’t want to put anything in the ground.

  85. Anonymous says:

    We use them, you need to be careful to add more soil later in the season (before they fruit really) and be careful to water exactly as directed and fertilize as directed or the fruit will be not as tasty. It works well, the plants get bigger then you expect, but you have to be careful to tend to them. I think cherry tomatoes or smaller tomatoes work better, but that’s me.

    - Ethel

  86. Anonymous says:

    I just bought one last week, will start planting it this weekend.
    For people who doubt the space-saving aspect, you have to understand that tomatoes don’t really grow vertically, they get very leggy. Like peas, it grows horizontal after a 4-6″. You either need some kind of supportive grid structure or a lot of horizontal space for it to spread. By making it upside down, it will spread under the bucket, vertically.

  87. significantpickle says:

    Yep. I have used them and they work good as far as I’m concerned. They do try to grow upwards at first, but as soon as the tomatoes develop, they hang back down. The tomatoes were ok last year, but a lot of people I talked to had problems with tomatoes last year no matter where they grew them. But I did get many tomatoes on the plant. It is nice, though, that they hang well enough in the air that aren’t getting disturbed by the local environment or critters. I haven’t had any problem with the stems or roots rotting and I keep it where I have a small rain trough running into it.

  88. farmfoodie says:

    I have not used one. But I watched my neighbor’s experiment with one. We’re both avid gardeners and share observations with one another. He tried one two years ago. It grew, but never produced all that well, and two years ago was a good tomato year here. He never repeated the experiment. But then, he’s not really hurting for space either.

    I would think that just putting a tomato plant in a normal hanging planter, right side up, would get better results. The bigger the planter the better, of course, as tomatoes are heavy feeders. But plenty of my in-ground tomato plants have been happy to trail along the earth. They look like they’d take very well to being grown in a hanging pot. But what plant wants its roots upside down and above the stem? I say save your money and try a normal hanging planter.

  89. AuntBarb says:

    Hi, Mark. I used a “Topsy Turvey” last year for one of my tomato plants, as an experiment. This gadget is similar but not as complicated as the contraption you illustrated your post with, it’s essentially a soft sided bucket with a hole in the bottom and no water reservoir.

    The plant in the Topsy Turvey did not produce nearly as well as the tomato plants I set into the ground or grew in containers. The plant in the Topsy Turvey was watered with religious regularity, as per the products instructions, so I don’t think it failed due to lack of water. I saw none of the stem rot other readers have mentioned above. I used a mixture of soil and compost similar to the make up of my garden soil, so I don’t think the soil mix was to blame. (My other tomato plants thrived and produced very, very well).

    I’m going to try a jalapeno pepper plant in the Topsy Turvey this year. I’ll drop you a line if it works out.

  90. barrymcw says:

    Mark, I’ve got my eyes on one of these as well. I want a couple for my patio.

    I’ve seen them at Sego Nursery on Burbank:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/sego-nursery-inc-valley-village
    and they looked great, basil on the top, tomatoes on the bottom.

    You should stop by & ask them how well they work. I’ve bought plants there before & they’re super-nice & seemed happy to answer my inane questions.

    Barry

  91. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I used one. But all the tomatoes came out upside-down and I couldn’t use them unless I flipped my BLTs over.

  92. Anonymous says:

    I’ve grown cherry tomatoes this way, successfully. Mostly, because I could. Did it with a 5-gal bucket, which I raised and lowered with a block and tackle because it was so heavy. The plant isn’t going to be more or less healthy than a container tomato grown right side up, but you aren’t going to need to stake it, which saves a lot of work. You need something to hang it from, like the overhang on an apartment balcony, that doesn’t also keep the plant in shade all day—not a lot of places answer to that description. Now I live in the country, and grow ‘em upwards.

  93. Snig says:

    I have not used one of these, but having space issues as well, I solved that by using extradimensional space adjacent to my apartment to grow my tomatoes. The issue I come across, is that in harvesting the tomatoes and rotating them into this dimension, I invariably get the chirality wrong, and wind up with tomatoes that taste worse than off season supermarket, and have dubious nutritive value, though I think some of the carotenoids you can flip without a problem. The plus side is that you can usually find all the socks lost from your dryer.

    • Anonymous says:

      I tried that method, but the extradimensional space around here is infested with pocket gophers. Very disappointing yields, even after I rented a Tindalos hound to try to scare them off. Would not try again.

  94. Anonymous says:

    I think it would be an interesting test to try these with grow nutrients. Use a nutrient for the vegetative growth to push early strong growth to give the vines length off of the bottom of the unit. Barring gravity and the danger of popping a light, setting up one of these units indoors with a grow light facing up might give you interesting results.

  95. Anonymous says:

    They are great if you like getting 3 tomatoes.

  96. Walt Guyll says:

    The fabric on mine tore along the top around mid season and I had secure it with bungee cords.
    In Seattle I had to water daily; once it went dry and I had to soak it in a bucket before it would accept fluid.
    Also the tomatoes never ripened, probably because the need to hang it limited placement. We were knee deep in fruit from one in a pot a few feet away.

  97. Cecily says:

    My mom and I ran a pseudo-scientific trial with all of her tomatoes last year. We planted two earthboxes (two plants in each box, one box with cherry, the other with heirlooms) two topsy-turvy planters, two plants in the soil. Strangely enough, the earthboxes did the best. The upside-down/topsy-turvy planters yielded very few tomatoes, the wimpiest crop of all the plants we put into soil. The cherry tomatoes did, at best, “okay”. And yes, even under a sunny patio, they tried to grow back up and out and seemed to put most of their energy into growing back to the sun rather than making fruit.

    The end results were: Earthboxes for the gold (best yield and bush-like growth), soil-planted in second place with moderate yield despite overexposure to the sun, turvy planters third with very little yield & Cthulhu -like growth. The earthboxes vastly out performed them all.

  98. cortomalt says:

    Planting upside down, isn’t this über funny geekiness …

    lol

    In case you decide to revert to feet down head up, here is a little fertilizer formula that does wonder for my (*) tomato plants :
    H3P6
    Where H is wood hash (1 big spoon)
    after 3 days
    1/4 litre of male urine (female’s is too acid)
    repeat every 6 days
    I’ve known this for ages, but it has finally become scientific knowledge (keywords: Surendra Pradhan wood hash urine tomato)

    Anyhow, enjoy your gardening

    (*) http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/30829577.jpg

  99. hoffmanbike says:

    i’ll respond with this – http://www.massmoca.org/event_details.php?id=29

    i’ve never used the upside down thingys myself so the responses here are helpful, i guess i’ll be avoiding them.

  100. zackly76 says:

    I have used the Topsy-Turvy brand upside-down tomato growing apparatus. I used it at the same time as I was also growing some in pots, as well as in the ground, old-fashion style.
    Exposure to the sun was identical for all 3 methods, and I used a mix of similar strains in all 3 environments. At first, the upside-down thing was on it’s included stand, which turned out to be pretty crappy – the stand started to fall apart quite quickly. In the end, I took the legs off and strapped it to a wrought-iron deck fence with zip-ties.
    It did grow a good amount of tomatos, but in the end, I don’t think it was necessarily any better or worse than the other methods I was using. It was neat to see the plants grow up and out, and it was easy to water – though I did attach a tube and bottle at the bottom to catch runoff to reuse, a worthy add-on.
    I can see it being useful if you have no space for in-ground plants, or if you can rig up a system where you can hung numerous units from a horizontal pole. It could maximize growing space in a huge way, and make up for any deficiency in the system.

    It would be great if you would do a write-up of your own experience with the thing.
    Personally, I grow a garden in my back-yard in Brooklyn and am, just in the past week, trying to start a movement (?) to encourage people to plant and grow whatever they can, in whatever space they have available. http://www.plantsomething.org

  101. Anonymous says:

    I went through this a couple of years ago and did a lot of research into the upside-down planter. AFAIK, the general feeling is that they’re terrible. I ended up with an Earthbox Garden Kit (and added a second one the next year). These are great. Perfect for small spaces, especially if you get the kit that includes the wheels + netting/support structure. With the wheels, you can move them around, rotate them to encourage growth in a different direction. Plus it’s easy to keep the plants “staked” by weaving the plant through the netting (3×3 in squares) as it grows. In addition, you can use them for beans or peas in the early season, depending on where you are. It’s got a water reservoir that you fill as needed. Earthbox is expensive, but it’s well worth it.

  102. Anonymous says:

    I had a patio garden at our last apartment and planted 3 tomato plants, 2 in pots, 1 in the TopsyTurvy hanging tomato planter.

    The two plants grown traditionally did much better than the upside down plant. Over all the plant was healthy and grew fast, but unfortunately it grew up towards the sun. As the fruits began to mature and get heavy on the vine, the weight of them pulled the branches down toward the ground causing the branches to break. This may not be as much of an issue with a smaller cherry or plum tomato.

  103. leavesofjoy says:

    I sent my mom-in-law a couple of these, and she loved them. She said they did dry out quickly the first summer, so the next year, she added water holding polymer crystals to the soil, and then it went great. I’d prefer something more organic to hold the water, like coco fiber.

    Otherwise, she says they are very easy for her to pick, and convenient hanging off her back porch. She is a bit elderly, and not too spry, so I think that was a factor in how much they made her gardening easier. She used the hanging ones for cherries, to eat throughout the day, and then still planted larger tomatoes in the ground.

    Myself, I have had great success training tomatoes up trellises or over arbors, espalier-style. For that, I use either wine barrels or leftover plastic planters from when landscapers put in trees or shrubs. They take up more ground room than several small pots, but if you put the tomato in the back, going up something vertical, and then other veggies or herbs in the front, you get a lot in that space, and they help each other by filling out the space more, holding water better, and staying cooler than small pots.

    • Anonymous says:

      2nd on the convenience of these. When my grandmother and grandfather couldn’t get down to their gardens anymore on a regular basis due to disability, these gave them the pleasure of tending and having fresh produce at hands reach again. They used them for cucumbers and tomatoes, both worked great.

  104. Anonymous says:

    I bought and used a vertical tomato planter before and it doesn’t seem to work. The plants want to grow straight up instead of down, so they bend up toward the sun once they get established. – Bill in Alabama

  105. eastwood says:

    I tried this two years ago as I saw it on indestructibles. I used cherry tomato plants. They were kept outside by my other tomato plants (grown normally). They were fairly small and didn’t produce much. The plants also constantly tried to grow up and around the containers. I suppose if your light source was below the plant it might work. But most light sources are from above. I wouldn’t do it again.

  106. Anonymous says:

    I used a couple of different types of these last year. First off, I’m disappointed they wore out after one year. Seems like a big expensive waste. I did have a bumper crop of tomatoes, but perhaps that was because I was better about fertilizing. I did have one plant (out of 4) that had problems with the base of the plant splitting from it wanting to grow up and gravity wanting to take it down. Also, I’d use the soil that retains moisture longer as tomatoes take a lot of water and water easily ran through it.

    One really big plus for me: rabbits can’t get to them. I have me some rabbits.

    They are heavy when filled with soil. Make sure you have a place to hang it that can deal with a 50lb weight. My heavy duty shepherd’s hook had to be realigned several times.

    Would I do it again? Not sure…I’m debating what I’m doing for tomatoes this year. These planters seemed expensive for one year’s use. I have perfect tomato growing conditions (I’m in the Midwest), but the rabbits are my issue with in ground plants.

  107. sonipitts says:

    We used on last summer and were very unhappy with it. There was almost no way to keep it evenly watered – it either flooded when it rained or dried out when it didn’t. The plant was spindly and weak and produced very few tomatoes, most of which were small, flavorless and never ripened. And this from a variety we have grown several times in the past in normal settings and have harvested copious-to-the-point-of-please-make-it-stop amounts of OMG-good fruit from every single time.

  108. Anonymous says:

    My sister used one of this model ( http://www.growingtomatoes365.com/uploaded_images/growing-tomatoes-upside-down-759336.jpg ) for several years with some amount of success. The downside is that it must be manually watered, having no reservoir. This is offset, however, by the fact that you can plant herbs or other small greens in on top of the tomato roots, which makes it a bit more efficient.

  109. Homegrown Evolution says:

    Mark, I’ve never tried one of these and suspect they are a gimmick. Have you tried a self irrigating pot? You can make your own or get one from the Earthbox company. I’ve used them for tomatoes with success.

    • Mark Frauenfelder says:

      I have 3 Earthboxes and like them. Maybe I’ll get a couple more for my tomatoes!

      • harrisimon says:

        Can’t attest to the feasibility of upside-down planters, but the Earthboxes have worked great in the past for our tomatoes… when it was a good growing summer.

  110. Super_sling says:

    I used this upside-down planter last summer with mixed resolution, tomatoes definitely grow faster, but you must grow small cherry/grape tomatoes or support the vine with string or wire. My grandfather has been growing tomatoes upside down for 20+ years with his own DIY modified 5 gallon buckets and weed block cloth to contain the soil.

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