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Simply popping the lids on the buckets will also stop evaporation and keep moisture in. I plant another tomato or a green pepper plant on the top of mine -- doesn't stop the evaporation process, but gives me extra food in otherwise unused space. This year, I have cantaloupes growing under my buckets, so in effect, I am gardening on three levels. By-the-way, the buckets do not have to be filled with dirt. You can add more as the plant roots fill the container. It is extremely important to thoroughly water the plants before they dry out, or at least every other day, and to fertilize them too.
The buckets are cat litter buckets. We have gotten about 10 tomatoes from the far right plant. The center plant now has about 30 on it just waiting for it to ripen. The far left plant only has two very large tomatoes so far.
The hole is 1 inch, some stones were placed around the opening but I think coffee filters would also work. The handle of the bucket is just bent over the rail. I like the idea of planting something else in the top.
In the pictures, one has reflective cloth wrapping because it was in a very sunny area.
Source: My mother showed me how to do this after I showed her a commercial tomato planter I spent $8 on.
By attosa from Los Angeles, CA
They were only 2 topsy turvy planters left to buy at the store. After purchasing them, I had an idea, plus I wanted to plant more than 2 tommy toe tomato plants. What I did was cut a small hole in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket (most have a small circle already to use for a template) and used a dishwashing sponge to keep the plant from falling back through and gently filled with potting soil. This idea works as good as the store bought planter.
Good Luck and have a nice day.
By Michael from Guntersvile, Alabama
I started a hanging tomato garden, and not having anything to hang them from, I built a trellis using the 1 1/2 inch and the 1/2 inch PVC piping. The milk jugs I used for my garden fit perfectly on the 1/2 PVC piping, and will sit on top of the 1 1/2 inch PVC piping rectangle trellis I made!
Use a milk jug to hang the tomatoes upside down, by putting a two inch hole in the bottom and using a newspaper square with a slit in it to keep the soil in. You can even plant other plants in the top like pepper plants! I have squash in the top of this, and plan to use the trellis to keep it off the ground.
Use another milk jug to create a strawberry plant holder, cut the top off leaving the handle and cut three small holes on the flat sides of the milk jug (look at the picture) poke holes in bottom for drainage and use the styrofoam peanuts found in packing material or any other torn up styrofoam (recycle!) in the bottom instead of gravel to keep the container from being heavy. You can hang this container, or leave it sitting like you would if you had bought an expensive strawberry pot!
By Sharon from Fairview, NC
I live in a second floor apartment with a balcony and not a very big one at that. I decided to plant tomatoes but there isn't much room to put containers in such a small space, then I looked up. I have a spider plant and it hangs down from the ceiling, why can't tomatoes?
So I got one of those coconut lining type of planters, cut a small space in the bottom of it took a small tomato plant stuck the roots up into the cut spot. While holding the roots in one hand, I added some little rocks for drainage and then some potting soil to the top, hung it up on a hook from the ceiling and watered it. It is now beginning to bloom and it is growing. The stems and the leaves are growing upwards toward the light. I'm sure once the tomatoes come on the plant they will hang down some.
Source: I saw some planters for sell in some magazines that were basically plastic bags with holes cut in them. The idea of a tomato plant growing upside down had never occurred to me before, I thought of planting them in a pot and just hanging the pot, but after seeing the planter in the magazine I decided to give the idea a try.
I didn't want to go out and buy something new, that defeats the purpose of recycling. I spotted the coconut liner planter that I had had from the previous summer and thought why not! Why not indeed, it has plenty of room for the roots to have a field day up there and its not taking any of the space down below normally occupied by human feet. I want to do this with cucumbers as well. I just have to get the cucumber plants, wish me luck!
By Bertha from Lexington, KY
I did the same thing but noticed the water ran straight through the coco matting. So I added dog pee pads to hold in the moisture and it seems to be holding it in a bit better. The tomatoes are not as shriveled. Hope this idea works for you. I have little tomatoes on the plant already and my plants are growing up as well. Good luck.
I just purchased an Upside down Garden. This is a great product. I will no longer have to worry about groundhogs eating my tomato plants. I also will not have to worry about the roots rotting.
Take your terracotta pot and make the bottom hole larger by nipping it very very carefully with wire cutters. Drill three holes around the top rim of the pot. Thread three equal pieces of wire through the holes and pull them together, forming a loop.
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Approximate Time: 5 minutes
Don't pay for a pre-packaged plastic bag to enjoy this new plant craze! Pretty, huh?
By Donna from Sterling, PA
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I have a topsy-turvy plant that is about 18 to 20 inches long. It is having a problem with bugs. The leaves are getting eaten by a very small worm-like bug inside of the leaves. It seems healthy anyway but a lot of the leaves have this in them. What can I do? Please help. Thank you.
This sounds like leaf borers. This is a worm that lives inside the two layers of leave surfaces, front & back. You can spray for them, but I don't care for insecticides, unless there is no other option. What I do, is check daily & remove the leaves with worms & step on them. They need to be destroyed. Pretty soon, they will be gone, but you have to check regularly for a while.
I've seen commercials for the hanging baskets to grow upside down tomatoes. Do these really work and does anyone know how difficult they are to use? Thanks so much.
Hardiness Zone: 7b
By Rcwidow from NC
I used 2 liter pop bottles two years ago, they worked great (just do a web search for upside down planters). Last year I got a good deal on the topsy turvey planters and they also work well. I put heavy hooks into the ceiling beams of my porch. I wanted them away from my garden as the year before I had blight in my tomatoes. Having them upside down and up high they did not get blight. Note: I grow cherry tomatoes so they are not as heavy. If you use the bucket idea you could grow marigolds on the top and they will keep pest bugs away from the tomatoes and look pretty.
I would like information on growing tomatoes upside down.
By Donna from NE PA
You can use a 5 gal bucket and hang it right side up. Drill the holes for the plant about l/2 way up the bucket and hang it low enough to be able to water it. Remember the plant knows which way is up and will automatically grow upward, it requires more watering and feeding this way also. Where the hole is for the plant put a coffee filter and punch a small hole just big enough to get the plant in or you'll lose the soil out the holes. Make the holes about 1 inch.
My tomato plant leaves are turning yellow and brown. Can you tell me why?
By Lori A. N.
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I recycled my milk jugs by planting tomatoes in them upside down, and fed them used coffee grounds, they are thriving!
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I am looking for instructions on how to build a frame to grown tomatoes upside down, including how to secure it. Maybe in a hole with cement, to the ground so that it can hold the weight of the buckets. I will have to do this myself, with the help of home depot cutting the wood and I have never used cement before. Thank you so much for any help.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
Bluegina from Shelton, CT
We just had a post on craftsfer dot com about this. They used a regular two liter bottle, with the top becoming the bottom, and cutting off the bottom and punching holes to hang it from a hook.
See also http://ohcripes.com/?page_id=47 for another way. Cheap and cheerful! (04/07/2008)
I know an easier way than that if you want to do this method, it is on TV and it hangs. I am not sure what the name of it is. It is for tomatoes and there is no concrete or building involved. I would look at the TV first and see if you can find it. (04/09/2008)
I'm assuming you don't have a place to hang it otherwise you wouldn't be building something to hang it from. The idea is to use a five gallon bucket and use the handle to hang it, so you just buy 2 fence posts, 8 foot long. Dig 2 holes and pour some sack crete into hole and mix in some water to form cement (get the sack crete without rocks in it). Next you let it set for say 10 minutes to harden a little and put the fence post in it and fill the rest of the hole with the dirt you dug out. Pat lightly, do this about four feet apart for 2 buckets and 8 feet apart for four buckets. Let set for a day or two, depending on weather. Now they sell braided steel cable and turn buckles in the hardware store also so you secure it on one end and using the turn buckle you tighten it to the other post. Hope this helps you. I know it sounds like a lot but my hubby and I did it in just a couple of hours, less the waiting time for the cement to dry. (04/09/2008)
By Denise W
We bought metal pipe and made a frame for ours. We used one long piece for the center suport. At the top, we crossed two pipes so the support can hold 4 buckets. We used endcaps and brackets to hold the buckets in place. We put the main support in an old milk carton that we filled with concrete. After it hardened, we were able to place it in a hole we dug. The concrete helped support the weight of the the planter once the buckets were on it. This wasn't cheap, but will last for years. (04/10/2008)
Denise W, I do have plenty of places to hang the planter. I just needed instructions on how to make the inverted tomato planter. bcgrote gave a link in this list of answers called OhCripe.com and it has good instructions and pictures. I can't wait to make a few! Thanks again! (04/10/2008)
I used regular plant pots: put small plant upside down (roots up through bottom hole).Then put in soil. I hung with regular plant pot hangers on lower limbs of trees. (If you don't have trees a deck railing or anything like that will do. (04/11/2008)
I have instructions for UpsideDown Tomatoes on my website.
Thank you everyone for your information and ideas. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I was out of town and then could not get onto this site. I'm going to review the posts and check out the references. I'll let you know how I do. Thanks so much. Gina (04/15/2008)
Here's a link to upside down planter's. minifarmhomestead.com. Click on gardening. (05/21/2008)
I bought some pvc piping and made my own 'trellis' I guess it is a building frame! I used the 1 1/4 inch thick pvc for the frame, and the thick 1/2 inch to hang my plants from. this is my first year trying this. (06/02/2008)
Great creativity! Good luck, thanks for posting. I'm gonna check out the pvc idea. (06/04/2008)
As far as hanging baskets of tomatoes, all I can think of is grape tomatoes would be the easiest and most adaptable. You need good soil, something to keep the dirt in the baskets, some sort of support for the plants. And plenty of sunlight.
My sister grew them upside down in hanging planters somehow and gave me one, it was great!
By Lily 59
We planted tomatoes in buckets last year and have started some this year (07). Simply cut a hole in the bottom of a bucket about the size of a quarter turn it over and fill with a good soil. Turn it back over and put a tomato in the hole and let it set that way for a few weeks. After the tomato has taken and made roots, hang it up on a hook somewhere and water frequently. Soon you will have tomatoes!
Post your own advice below.
Grow them upside down in a coffee can. Take both ends off a coffee can, and cut an X in the plastic lid. Poke holes in one end of the can to put in a wire for hanging, and then gently insert the plant through the X in the lid, snap the lid on the opposite end from the hanger, and fill the can with soil. The plant will want to grow up towards the sun, and will curl up around the can. Works great with cherry/grape tomatoes or smaller regular tomatoes. (09/13/2007)
I decided to use milk jugs to plant my tomatoes in, the jug already has a handle to hang them with, and is easier to cut a hole in the bottom, I also made a strawberry pots with milk jugs as well, and have planted bell pepper, squash, and eggplant plants in the tops of the containers! (05/31/2008)