Some years, I like to do something a little different and plant topsy turvy tomatoes. This means, I grow them outside down in a hanging planter. See picture below:
It’s a cool way to grow tomatoes if you haven’t got the space in your garden. I do have the space, but I wanted to learn how to grow topsy turvy tomatoes so I could say I’ve done it. If I’m going to be an authority on tomato gardening, farming, cooking and eating, I have to know all the ins and outs. All you really need to grow tomatoes in a topsy turvy is some rays, fertilizer, soil, water and time.
Here is a great FAQ on growing topsy turvy tomatoes: Link
There are some aspects of this FAQ that I will caution you on, as I don’t think they were thought out perfectly. First of all, this FAQ notes that you can plant up to two tomato plants in your topsy turvy. In fact, most places recommend this. I feel that one is enough. You have to think of the topsy turvy’s space as space you would have in a regular garden. This goes back to the tomato plant spacing lesson. You want an ideal radius between your plants. Two plants in the topsy turvy are really going to overlap a lot and you’ll have to load it with fertilizer as they fight for nutrients. Another common mistake people make, is that they plant two different varieties of tomatoes in one topsy turvy. Nothing is mentioned about this on the FAQ I linked to above, but you really should only be planting one kind of variety if you are going to have two plants in there. Each tomato variety has its own nuances and nutritional needs. What may be too little fertilizer for one, could be too much for the other. So if you are going to follow this step-by-step, go with one type of variety when you load your device with two plants. But I would stay away from two altogether.
Again, this is a great FAQ for getting started, but another thing I would like to point out to newbies is that you can over water your topsy turvy tomatoes. It’s not that over watering is going to ruin your crop, but what it may do is cause watery tomatoes. Your roots are going to be so saturated and providing a ton of H20 to the fruit. You will really need them to stay on the vine a long time to dry out a bit and this can affect the level of ripeness at which you pick them. Follow the recommended dosage of water, which is every other day at the beginning and every day when the weather gets warmer.
Next thing: fertilizer. They mention their brand in the FAQ, however, when growing tomatoes at home, to get the best quality, best taste and to do best for the environment always used organic fertilizer. I have been sticking with Dr. Earth’s Organic 5 for a while, and you can see my review of it in this article here.
Lastly I will say that this FAQ has a slightly contradictory piece to it. They mention that growing tomatoes in a topsy turvy helps ward off common pests, but then recommend ways to treat your plants organically or inorganically to fight them off. When planting in a topsy turvy you certainly lose some of the common garden pests that plants in the grown face but you expose your plants to so many new airborne pests that they would not have otherwise encountered. Follow their recommendation though for using hot pepper spray to stave these pests off. It’s organic, cheap and effective.
All in all, I think this is a great FAQ for getting started. If you have space in your garden, plant your tomatoes the old fashioned way. If not, topsy turvys are a good alternative and this FAQ will certainly help you get started.