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#92658 February 21st, 2007 at 07:58 PM
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Keep seeing magnificent tomatoes and strawberries growing upside down (in photos.) Curious how to do this with a regular garbage bag or something. I'm particularly interested in tomatoes. I was thinking maybe I could actually do this in the front yard without it looking too bad.

Can I use a regular shepherd's hook or will it get too heavy?

How do I make the container/hang the bag?

Which types of tomatoes are best for this? I have some cherry tomatoes started in the basement already- they JUST germinated. Can I use these?

OR do I transplant the plants into the container/bag or start them there to begin with? And HOW??

You can answer anything else I forgot to ask too!! :rolleyes:

How-to links are always appreciated too!

Thanks a bunch,
'Manda

#92659 February 21st, 2007 at 11:59 PM
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From what i remember seeing, (and what i'm going to use this season) people were using 3 or even 5 gallon buckets with a 3/4" hole drilled in the bottom center of the bucket. They would then use a paperplate (might be 2 paper plates) and put them OVER the hole INSIDE the bucket, poking a hole plate/s for the tomatoe plant to pass through it (carefull not to destroy the youngin). Then they would fill with a good mix dirt and hang from a VERY STURDY hanger.

By very sturdy, i would suggest a good 8' long 4x4 dug down about 2' deep would be sufficient. Make sure to use a very sturdy hanger arm to support a good 50lbs. i would say (maybe an understatement? I'm thinking of watered soil in a 5 gallon bucket HAS to be pretty heavy, as well as a full grown tomatoe plant with tomatoes. . i'd say something to hold 75-100 lbs. would be sufficient)

Congratulations!!! You have yourself a upside down tomatoe plant growing system! These are GREAT for roma's from what i'm told, and i've never heard of people using them for bigger tom plants, i'm not sure about cherries either.

On the topside of the bucket, alot of people will plant annuals or even herbs. Its a glorious sight either way!! And a great way to grow these i'm told!

Good luck and keep us posted throughout the season. I"ll post some pics once i get my constructed!

#92660 February 22nd, 2007 at 04:11 AM
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'Manda, this is how we did our Up-Side-Down Tomatoes last year. I don't know that using the shower head casing was necessary (or if it even stayed glued on... I haven't emptied the container out yet), but if I didn't have that to use again this year, I'd use a coffee filter to keep the soil from washing out (rather than a paper plate, simply because a coffee filter won't break down as rapidly.) I think that the Styrofoam bits helped to keep the soil up, away from the hole, so I'll do that part the same way again.

Personally, I wouldn't use anything other than Cherry Toms in up-side-down systems. The vines themselves are sturdy enough to support the fruit, but when growing naturally, gravity isn't working against the base of the plant & the roots, as is the situation when it's planted upside-down.

I had 1 of mine hanging from a shepherd's hook, & another one on a nail under the eve on my deck, where it hung down & got full sun. The weight your shepherd's hook will support depends primarily on its construction (some are made with a lesser grade of metal than others) & how deep you have it in the ground, as Danno mentioned... or how you have it anchored in (such as, embedded in concrete).

It's my opinion that since tomatoes don't have a massive root system, a 5 gallon bucket is overkill for a single tomato plant, & just makes more work, because it's heavier. My 2 & 3 gallon containers worked just fine, & weighed 12-15# after watering.

Speaking of.... Watering my upside-down tomatoes was more of a "by guess & by gosh" thing! My concerns were about not over OR under watering them, & not to wash nutrients out of the soil by letting too much water run out through the hole. (I was also concerned about letting water run down over the plant, as excess moisture makes a good target for certain bugs & diseases.) By the way, the succulents I'd planted at the tops of my up-side-down planters faired very well.

Sorry, I got so busy with the rest of my gardens, that I forgot to get a pic when the tomatoes really got going! [Linked Image]

Good luck with yours!

#92661 February 26th, 2007 at 03:40 PM
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Thank you! Those pics of how you did it were great and just what I was thinking of!!! I might have to PM you with questions once I'm ready to transplant them into the containers! I can't wait to see if I can actually pull it off.
I have so many critters I was thinking that hanging the veggies would help keep them away, PLUS look more pleasing since all of my sun is in the front yard!

Manda

#92662 February 26th, 2007 at 04:48 PM
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What kinds of "critters" do you have, Manda? I like that u-s-d tomatoes are up off the ground, where the little crawly critters can't get to them, but my veggie garden has to be fenced in to keep the deer from thinking it's their private salad bar. Hanging the u-s-d planters under the eaves (on my deck) kept them in full sun & out of the deer's reach, cuz they won't climb the stairs. The plant looked great hanging right outside the kitchen window, where (if not for the screen) I could have just reached out & picked off what I needed at dinner time! Duh The wind is the main drawback in that location, cuz we're right above a bluff, where the deck gets a lot of breeze.

I'm looking forward to seeing yours! Have you decided on what kind of container(s) you're going to use?

#92663 February 26th, 2007 at 05:15 PM
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Hmmm... I did not think about wind. That could be a problem.
I'm on a lake, so we have a little of everything. I did see one deer lope across the yard, but they aren't usual for us (at least we see no signs of them yet!)
I have: rabbits (galore!!), squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, 'possums, and other lake-y things like ducks, geese, cormorants, etc. and musrats, beavers....
I'm not sure which of the last ones would be pesky to veggies, but I know the squirrels and chipmunks had a field day last spring with my new bulbs!! They ate them all and then something kept digging into my garlic at night too!
Not sure on the container, though it did look like a big ole flower pot might be my best bed.
(Still pondering the wind.....)

#92664 February 26th, 2007 at 09:11 PM
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The wind itself isn't so much of a problem... unless it's really whipping. Tomato branches can take some movement from the breeze, just as the plants in the ground do, but a couple times I had to move the plants when the wind was really bad, cuz I was more afraid of the pots blowing off the nails. (I'm going to try stringing a couple guy-wires to the planters this year, so they won't swing so violently.)

I'm also thinking more about attaching weights directly to the branches with clips or clothespins that won't bruise the stems, instead of hanging weights on them from loops of fishing line, cuz they'd swing back & forth & eventually cut through the branch.

It sounds like you have your fair share of 4 legged critters there, & I don't know for sure which ones like tomato vines...but it only takes ONE! [Linked Image]

A hanging pot will work, as long as there is a big enough hole in the bottom. (I'd say no smaller than 1.5" across.) You know, since you have cherry toms started from seed, you can always go ahead & plant them into the hole now, so you don't have to thread the plant through the hole later on... (but I'd find something to set the TOP of the pot on & let the plant grow upright for now ***keeping it indoors until the time you'd normally put them out). By the time it's as big as the ones in my pics were, the roots would be well established inside there, & it'd be ready to hang up-side-down.

You mentioned planter bags in your first post here... I don't know about planting tomatoes in bags, cuz it seems like the plants would get too big & their weight would tear the bag. Duh I did put some strawberries in planter bags last year, but it didn't seem like I could keep them watered well enough, cuz I lost a few. I gave up early & pulled the survivors out & moved them to my strawberry tower. I've seen petunias & other really awesome looking annuals growing in bags though. I'd like to try that this year, but I need to find planter bags ON SALE first, cuz they're pretty spendy! (Thought of making my own out of heavy gauge plastic or weed barrier cloth, but haven't worked the bugs out of that idea yet.)
[Linked Image]think... think... think...


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