Hanging Tomato Planters
Upside Down Tomatoes with Hanging Tomato Planters
Growing tomatoes and other vegetables using upside down planters is still one of the ways to garden, especially if you have limited space in your growing area. The first time we tried the Topsy Turvey Upside Down planter we had great results just outside our back door. Beautiful green vines with medium sized tomatoes that tasted very good!
There are options you can try for hanging planters, and of course, advantages and disadvantages to growing tomatoes upside down or in hanging planters. Some "hanging" tomato planters even have their feet firmly on the ground!
So get ready to bite into a home-grown tomato of your very own. There's a great recipe for Caprese Salad at the end of the article.
Why You Should Use a Hanging Tomato Planter
Is upside down good for your tomatoes? Here are five good reasons to use an upside down tomato planter.
You can put them almost anywhere. Try growing tomatoes on a balcony, the patio, or even your front porch. With a hanging planter, you have much more flexibility. There is even a trellis version that leans against a wall.
By hanging in the air, the improved air circulation not only avoids problems with many diseases, but crop yields are improved with better pollination.
In a word, none. You don't need to use tomato supports like cages or stakes, at most you may need to prune occasionally.
Since you are filling the container, you can make the soil as rich as you want. Add lots of organic compost or other amendments, and fertilize appropriately. Since you can replace the soil annually, there are fewer diseases to deal with as well.
If you really want to get a jump on the neighbors and get some early tomatoes, a hanging planter is a great choice. You can set them out early and move them indoors if there is a frost. Plus, the soil warms more quickly and the plants set fruit earlier.
"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." - Lewis Grizzard
Plant the Proper Tomato Variety
Use a Variety Specifically Made for a Hanging Planter
Since a planter has less room for a root system than something planted in the ground, your tomato size will not be as large as the larger varieties that you can plant in the ground. Part of the success of using the hanging planter system is to make sure you use a smaller determinant variety like the Tumbling Tom or one of the other tomato plants specifically for hanging planters. When shopping, look for a type labeled specifically for hanging planters.
Do some research before purchasing your plants and check with your local grower for tips on the best varieties for your growing zone.
Growing Tomatoes Upside Down
And Other Vegetables Too
Don't limit yourself to tomatoes, experiment with other vegetables too.
The two types we have used are listed below. The Topsy Turvy is designed for one plant but the even more capable version is the Upside Down Tomato Garden, which holds more than one tomato plant and other herbs and vegetables as well.
Topsy Turvy Planter
It was once featured in Time magazine. It basically holds one plant, although some people will try 2 plants (one in the hole on the top, another in the normal hole on the bottom). You get the plant started by growing it right side up, and then mount it upside down.
Why do this? With upside down tomatoes you have no problems with slugs. It's well covered and won't need to water very often. Usually you don't stake the plants, as the branches will fall on their own.
You can also use one to grow other small bush type plants like peppers and eggplants. You can use several for more than one type of vegetable or herb.
Mounting it is the biggest challenge. It can get quite heavy, especially after you've watered. If you are trying to move a fully loaded plant, make sure you have proper footing!
Upside Down Tomato Garden by Hammacher Schlemmer
This is a heavy-duty version of the upside down planter. It has a platform that can handle many more plants. In addition to four tomato plants, it will hold smaller flowers and herbs in the top platform of the planter. Or you may use the multiple slots to grow peppers and eggplant instead of only tomatoes. The supporting stand is part of the unit and it holds the garden at the right height.
This unit can be placed in many locations, and you don't have to craft a support unit or hang it from some other structure. It's attractive enough that you can put it on the deck or patio, or a location that's convenient from your kitchen.
The Tomato Garden is a sturdier solution than the Topsy Turvy. It will be more productive overall, and your choice in placement is flexible. The Topsy Turvy is a nice starter unit, and may work better in smaller settings like an apartment patio. Either one can be a good choice to start your tomato growing needs.
Caprese Salad Recipe
This is a great salad to take to summer potlucks. It also happens to be an excellent way to use tomatoes when you have too many (is that possible?) and also some fresh basil from your herb garden.
Slice tomatoes thinly. Slice some fresh mozzarella cheese about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange on a pretty plate or platter in this pattern: 2-3 tomato slices, 1 slice of cheese. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Tear or cut a half cup of fresh basil into thin strips and sprinkle on top of salad. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on the top. Delicious!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2007 Joanie Ruppel