Upside Down Tomatoes

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Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
I have for years seen the upside down tomato planting "systems". After years of trying to keep my toms off the ground I thought "Hey why not" so I have saved large plastic landscape pots and will fit them with wire coat hangers so they can hang around the edges of my upstairs decks. I will use the center drain hole as the planting space and block off the others so dirt will not come out when watered. So picture this the pot is hanging as it would stand on the ground an the tom grows out the bottom. Anyone see any potential problems with this plan?? My goal is to be able to bring them in to the plant room when it starts to get cold hence having the same tomatoe plants for maybe up to 2 years in mild winters. So what do you think??
 

RonsGarden

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
If you use those dryer fabric softening sheets, save them and use them on the bottom of your pots. I've been using them for a few years and they can be reused year after year. They let excess moisture pass through them but not the soil! They would work great using them for your upside down tomatoes!
 
#5
Be prepared.

Make sure you add some peat moss and perlite to your soil. Make sure you have a way to check how wet the soil is.....You live in Florida, don't you? I did it in Texas last summer, using the topsy turvey planters. It was soooooooooo hot here that they weren't successful at all.

Since you are in a climate where it always gets very hot, and where the night time low temperatures don't get cool enough (below 70 or 75) very much, I'd go to great lengths to find out what varieties of tomatoes are bred to withstand extreme heat. Last year, at Lowes, when we bought our tomatoes, I saw a variety of tomato that was supposed to be more heat tolerant. I think it was hybridized at Texas A&M University. They have an amazing horticulture program that has done some fabulous research with tomatoes.

Make sure you add an extra source of calcium when you plant your tomatoes. And be prepared to fertilize them...I don't think I did that anywhere near enough.

The topsy turvey planter has a sponge that is placed at the bottom where the plant is inserted. It's cut so that the plant can get into it, and it sits right at the mouth of the container. The top is open however, and the wrens took over the containers and turned it into their hide out. I think they liked the coolness of the soil.....
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
Lyn & Ron,
I use stones in the bottom of regular pots so I thought that would work in this application also. Since the top of the pot will remain upright the only thing I have to worry about is the usuall drain holes. I think this should work.

Plant love,
Thanks for your input. I have been in Florida all my life and battle both heat and blights so I have found the best tomato for this area is the Cherokee and wow what a producer. I generally have masive amounts of tomatoes however I though if I applied this technique I can keep those plants through our very few freezes and frost. I have cantalevered decks to protect them from excessive conditions.And because I am a "deck dweller" when the weather is nice I will be with them everyday. I am stricktly orgainc in my gardening and have a lot of compost which when I plant in pots is all I use for medium.

oopse time for work check with you guys later!
 

lynpenny

Super Moderator
Staff member
#7
that should work. I tryed this a few years ago and I found about the only problem was I made one of the holes on the bottom too big for the little tomato plant. I ended up using a much bigger plant and it was fine. I don't know if I got anymore tomatoes but I did get plenty of them.
 

Flower4Yeshua

Super Moderator & vegemm
Staff member
#8
I did this with the kids back in Sacramento and it worked very well...we used a cotton netting in the bottom. with a layer of stones.....I like it as it rotted away nicely .....the kids just loved it...we did have to water a bit more as the summer went on with the heat ...but what fun...
 
#10
Crabbergirl, do you think Cherokee is a good variety to grow in Texas heat? I haven't found a good one yet.....It has to be a variety that will set fruits even when the night time temps don't get cool. My last attempts were disastrous. I can't remember what the varieties were, but they were not good for this climate.
 

Dor

Active Member
#11
Plantlover check you county extension service to see which tomatoes are good for your area. I checked recently and printed a list of veggies for my county.
 

Gloria

Super Moderator
Staff member
#12
Lyn & Ron,
I use stones in the bottom of regular pots so I thought that would work in this application also. Since the top of the pot will remain upright the only thing I have to worry about is the usuall drain holes. I think this should work.

oopse time for work check with you guys later!
Wonder if those shipping and packing "peanuts" would be better than using heavy stones?? I was complaining once about a heavy large potted plant I have. It took 40 pounds of potting soil to fill the pot which I had to lug inside every winter. Dizzydaff made the suggestion that I use the syrofoam peanuts mixed in with my soil to lighten the load. I did and since then I use them in the bottom of my containers for drainage.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
#13
I did this with the kids back in Sacramento and it worked very well...we used a cotton netting in the bottom. with a layer of stones.....I like it as it rotted away nicely .....the kids just loved it...we did have to water a bit more as the summer went on with the heat ...but what fun...
You can also buy landscaping fabric from your local garden store.

If you know any construction contractors, ask them if they have any "geotextile fabric" scraps. It's a material they put under roads and structures to provide drainage while also holding the soil in place. There are both woven varieties (looks a bit like burlap) and non-woven varieties (looks lik cotton batting)

This stuff comes in rolls that are usually about 300 feet long. They roll them out on the ground and put dirt over them. What would be a totally uselese scrap of the stuff for a road builders (i.e. a piece 10 feet wide by 5 feet long) would be more than enough for most gardeners.
 

Dor

Active Member
#14
Plantlover I went on the Texas A&M and my County extension site and found vegetables that will tolerate the heat in our area. I found Celebrity and Tommy Toe were two of them. I tried the Sweet 100's last year and they did very well.
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#16
I did this with the kids back in Sacramento and it worked very well...we used a cotton netting in the bottom. with a layer of stones.....I like it as it rotted away nicely .....the kids just loved it...we did have to water a bit more as the summer went on with the heat ...but what fun...
That's a great idea I think I'll try that!
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#17
Crabbergirl, do you think Cherokee is a good variety to grow in Texas heat? I haven't found a good one yet.....It has to be a variety that will set fruits even when the night time temps don't get cool. My last attempts were disastrous. I can't remember what the varieties were, but they were not good for this climate.
I would try them. Florida and Texas are a lot alike in their weather. You also might try a sun shade for the toms once it gets to that searing heat we suffer from in summer. And remember ALWAYS water tomatoes from the bottom never top water as it will cause blight in extreme hot conditions;)
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#18
Wonder if those shipping and packing "peanuts" would be better than using heavy stones?? I was complaining once about a heavy large potted plant I have. It took 40 pounds of potting soil to fill the pot which I had to lug inside every winter. Dizzydaff made the suggestion that I use the syrofoam peanuts mixed in with my soil to lighten the load. I did and since then I use them in the bottom of my containers for drainage.
That sounds like a good idea. I didn't think about the weight. It might pull the pot sides apart where I connect the hanger. I just hate those peanuts. I like the cotton idea too. I think I will use 3 gal pots to see how it works. They may not be big enough though.
 

Crabbergirl

Super Moderator
Staff member
#19
You can also buy landscaping fabric from your local garden store.

If you know any construction contractors, ask them if they have any "geotextile fabric" scraps. It's a material they put under roads and structures to provide drainage while also holding the soil in place. There are both woven varieties (looks a bit like burlap) and non-woven varieties (looks lik cotton batting)

This stuff comes in rolls that are usually about 300 feet long. They roll them out on the ground and put dirt over them. What would be a totally uselese scrap of the stuff for a road builders (i.e. a piece 10 feet wide by 5 feet long) would be more than enough for most gardeners.
I actually have some of the geotex but I am worried about the petroluem products it contains. It however makes great weed barrier. I had some laying in the yard and nothing grew through it. There was a nice bare spot and when I went to move that stuff I had to dig it out of the ground it was like it cemented itself to the ground.
 


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