Upside Down Tomato Plants

I didn’t want to tell you about this until I was sure it was going to work.  Hooray!  It’s working.

I do not have a good spot in my yard to grow tomatoes.  My back yard is too shady, can’t put them in the front yard, and my side where I get most of the sun is filled up with driveway.  I’ve tried growing tomatoes in pots on my deck in the past, with no success.

The latest thing to come down the ‘gardening’ pike these days is growing things upside down.  At the very least, I was skeptical.  The commercial containers that are sold for upside down gardening are a little unattractive for me.  When you look online some sites also suggest using a sheet rock mud bucket with a hole drilled through the bottom of it or a recycled milk jug …still not so pretty. 

Since my planters would be seen by everyone that comes to my house I didn’t want them to be too atrocious looking.  So what’s a girl to do?  Well I got to thinking about it and I said to myself “Self, what can you use instead that might be both functional and pretty?”  Wrought iron coconut husk lined planter baskets, of course.  So that’s what I did.

I got the planter baskets and the hooks at WalMart.  For 3 baskets and 3 hooks the cost was around $22.  The small tomato plants were $2.89 each at Home Depot.  I used 3 different kinds of plants: 1 traditional Better Boy, 1 German heirloom (burgundy fruit), and 1 yellow heirloom. 

First I mounted the hooks to the outside of my deck railing – spacing each about 32” apart.

Then I cut holes into the bottom of each basket.

I lined each basket with some old rag t-shirts to help keep the dirt in and to help retain moisture.

I carefully tucked each plant into the hole in the bottom of the basket – leaves out the bottom, making sure I had the t-shirt material around the bottom well.  I didn’t want those little plants to fall out, or the dirt to fall out either. 

I then shortened the chains on the baskets a little bit, and filled each basket with dirt.

The first one hasn't been shortened yet.

Here they are with their little tomato plants peeking out below.

Lastly I topped each basket with a purple Wave Petunia so there would be some color from above.  I’ve been keeping a close eye on them, making sure they don’t dry out too much since there isn’t much dirt.  Now each plant has wee little tomatoes on it.  I’m so excited! 

I can hardly wait to taste them, especially the heirlooms.  Mmmm!

Yes, I know for $31 I could have purchased a lot of tomatoes from the store and not had all the trouble; but what would be the adventure in that?  (And, now that I know it works, I do plan to re-use the planters again for years to come.)

Have you tried any new gardening techniques this year?  Successes…or try agains?