Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about upside down tomatoes so I thought it would make a good blog topic. Until recently I’d never even heard of it but I think it’s a good concept.
There are two main benefits to planting upside down tomatoes.
1. Because the tomato plant grows upside down there’s no stress on the stem or branches, which, when planted in the ground carry quite a burden when heavy with a full crop of tomatoes.
2. Because there’s no stress on the stem or branches of the upside down tomato plant there’s no need for staking. The plant hangs in the air, keeping the tomatoes well off the ground.
Another plus is that planting upside down tomatoes saves on space. Many gardeners have very little space in which to have a garden and so have turned to container gardening. This is a great solution, especially for those gardeners who live in the city, and the more containers that can be easily hung; the more room on the ground for bigger pots.
Using a 5 gallon bucket seems to be the most popular way of planting upside down tomatoes. However, if the thought of an ugly bucket hanging in your garden gives you the heebie-jeebies (as it does me) you can always decorate the outside of the bucket first.
Directions for planting upside down tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket
· A clean 5 gallon bucket
· Small tomato plant
· Potting Soil
· Drill or other instrument for making a 2” hole in the bucket
First, take a clean 5 gallon bucket, remove the lid and turn the bucket upside down. Drill a 2″ hole in the bottom of the bucket.
Next, turn the bucket upright and place a layer of newspaper on the bottom, tearing it slightly where it covers the hole. Take your tomato seedling and gently work its stem and branches through the tear in the newspaper and out of the hole.
While holding on to the plant, put more newspaper (coffee filters will work as well) around the hole, making sure they tuck in tightly against the stem of the tomato plant.
Continuing to hold on to the plant, gently pack a thick layer of soil around the root ball, being sure it is fully supported before letting go of the tomato plant. Now fill the container to within an inch of the top with a soil/compost mixture, packing slightly.
Once you’ve filled the container, gently carry it to where you want it to hang and hang it from the handle. Water thoroughly until water drains from the hole in the bottom.
You can either leave the lid off for easy watering or replace it to retain moisture. If you choose to leave the lid off you may want to plant lettuce or herbs in the top, making even better use of container space.
Just make certain that whatever you plant in the top allows enough water to penetrate down through the bucket so that it drains out of the hole.
There you have it; simple instructions on planting upside down tomato plants in a 5 gallon bucket.
Yesterday, I read a post on a cooking blog about planting upside down tomatoes. The blog’s author planted her upside down tomatoes in a hanging basket. She simply cut holes in the coconut matting and planted the tomato seedlings on the basket’s underneath side. She then planted herbs in the top of the basket. I have six hanging baskets of the same type in my garden and I think I’m going to give her idea a try. She has pictures of the finished baskets on her blog, Eclectic Edibles, which you can check out by clicking here.
Once I try planting my own upside down tomatoes I’ll write another post on the subject and let you know what method I used and how it worked out. I’ll even try to include some pictures of the results.
I’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever grown upside down tomatoes? If so, what method did you use and what were the results? Have you done it more than once? Would you do it again?
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