Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Upside-Down Tomato Project

I've seen this experiment tried a couple of times, I'm not sure if the results were too good, but I thought I'd try making an upside-down tomato plant this year. Take a large plastic bottle and a small tomato plant. Cut a hole in the top side of the bottle so that you can fill it with compost and make holes in the top to hang it. Wash all the soil off the roots carefully.
Roll the root ball in a small sheet of paper so that you can slide the paper tube (containing the roots) into the neck of the bottle.
You then fill up the bottle with compost, and hang it upside down.
It looks a bit sad at the moment, it might take a few days to recover from the shock. I chose one of my cherry tomato varieties Ildi for this experiment. Has anyone tried this before?

16 Comments:

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never seen anyone do this with a soda bottle- most instructions I've read want you to use a much larger container. I would think a small bottle would dry out too quickly and not leave enough room for roots?

 
At 5:32 AM, Blogger gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

I can't wait to see the results. I've tried tomatoes in a hanging basket before, but never upside down.

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

I've heard of it but not done it. I'm not sure what the advantages are?

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger VP said...

We saw lots of tomatoes in very small containers at Oxford Botanic Gardens last year - all with very healthy looking crops.

Sadly none were upside down plants though. I'll be interested in seeing how this one turns out, Matron. How do you water it BTW?

 
At 12:11 PM, Anonymous The Stylish Gardening Blog said...

I've never seen anyone do this before - forgive me for my ignorance, but what effect does it have on the plant and why do you do it? Looks very exciting!

 
At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Jake said...

I think I will give this a go, I have numerous small tomato seedlings at the moment which in a couple of weeks will be ready for sacrifice at least one! Will be interesting to see the results

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Dan said...

I am growing three upside down ones this year in those self water gizmos. Speaking of which I need to order them soon. I hope they grow well, they sure are a space saver.

I planted out the broad beans and put of a few photos of them on my blog.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger tina said...

Hi Matron,
My husband purchased a bag from one of his coworker's children this spring (you know how those fundraisers go) that is designed to do this with cherry tomatoes. I have filled it with a good mix of soil but have yet to add the plants. I just really don't want to mess with it I guess. It does look neat when the tomatoes are growing well but the thought of watering often has me less than enthusiastic. Good luck with yours!

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger Kim and Victoria said...

Very interesting blog! Thanks for the tip on hop pillows.
We've done the upside down tomatoes but you can check some out here:
http://atasteoftheearth.blogspot.com/search/label/upside%20down%20tomato%20plants

 
At 4:57 PM, Blogger Libby said...

I always worry about hanging things up in my greenhouse, never sure how safe they are.

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger Green thumb said...

It is quite exciting and rather strange for me as I have never seen a tomato plant growing upside down.
It will be wonderful to see the outcome of your little experiment.

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger primrozie said...

We purchased (2) 5 gallon buckets for growing them in. As one of your other posters said, I've only seen them grown in larger containers.

I like yours, less weight and smaller container. More possibilities for placing them. I don't think tomatoes have a lot of root. Don't they have a shallow root system?

 
At 5:00 AM, Blogger Wild Mood Swings said...

Well you saw how well mine did , last year in my topsy turvey's.

Awesome there were no bugs n crittters and huge toms.

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger UKBob said...

I've never heard or seen that done before, can I ask what the point of it is? I think I might try it myself now. Thanks for sharing. Bob.

 
At 3:41 AM, Blogger KK said...

My neighbor did something similar. He took big 10 gallon paint buckets and spray painted the outside black. This way they don't scream "I'm a paint bucket" and blend in better. Then he cut a hole in the bottom and just as you did, inserted a tomato plant upside down- so the plant is hanging out the bottom. He filled them with good soil and then planted basil plants on top. Hung them on a back garden wall and had tomatoes before anyone else around here as the black buckets warmed up before the ground soil would in my state. I am totally going to duplicate his brilliant idea next year. And it really looks so pretty with the herbs on the top part.

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger teri said...

Here is a good article on how to make your own upside down hanging tomato planter - http://www.practicalhomeandgarden.com/how-to-make-your-own-upside-down-tomato-planter

I have used topsy turvy bags before now but I made a couple of these bucket planters last year and had quite reasonable results. If you are new to the idea of growing tomatoes upside down then you may want to read about some of the supposed advatnges -http://www.practicalhomeandgarden.com/the-upside-down-tomato-garden.

Im not so convinced myself that its any better than traditional methods, unless you are psuhed for space that is.

 

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