Monday, February 8, 2010

Topsy-Turvy Tomatoes

Have you ever tried growing tomatoes upside-down? I haven't. I saw pictures years ago of hanging tomato plants, but it wasn't until last week that I gave them another thought. My husband's uncle said he was thinking about growing his tomatoes upside-down this year but didn't know how to keep them in their pots. He doesn't have internet access so I did a little research for him.

People seem to like growing them in 5-gallon paint buckets with handles. Drill a hole about 2 1/2 inches in diameter in the bottom of the bucket. Set the bucket, right side up, on something so as not to cover the hole. Gently insert your seedling into the hole so that about 2 inches of stem is protruding from the bottom. While holding the plant in one hand, pack material around the plant to keep it from falling out - something like newspapers, coffee filters, or sphagnum moss. Continue to hold the plant while you add soil to the bucket. Add enough soil to cover the roots by about 2 inches, then add about 2 cups of compost, then fill the bucket with soil to within an inch of the top. Hang your bucket on something STURDY and water thoroughly. If the soil settles to more than a couple inches from the top, add a little more soil.

Water and add fertilizer to the top of the bucket. Keeping a lid (sitting loosely) on the top will help prevent moisture loss, but must be removed every time you water your plants. Some people grow herbs in the tops of their buckets. Check the soil level every few weeks and add more if the level has dropped much.

I don't think I'll try growing my tomatoes this way this year, but I may try it sometime. If you've tried it, I'd love to hear from you. How well did it work for you? Did it work better than growing your plants in the ground?


  1. I've tried the upside down planter and it doesnt really work. Very difficult to keep the plant watered correctly.. its either waaay too wet or dries out quickly. The best support method is a traditional stake. I've found the best out there, Its simple, easy, strong, and lasts.

  2. Thanks for the info! Anybody else?