Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Upside down planting and conventional planting.

Today was a beautifully warm day, it topped out at 26c(79f) and tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer. Perfect timing to start planting the tomatoes and I started with the upside down ones. I first had to figure out how high to hang them. I choose 9 feet high to account for the length of the container (30"), the height of the plant in the container (36") and the tomato plants growing below them (36"). Good thing I am over 6 feet tall and have a watering wand. Here is how they are planted:

In the bottom they have this white foam
disk with a slit in it to support the plants stem.

You remove it and place it around the plants stem.

Then stuff the plants root ball into the bottom followed by the disk.

I filled the planters with a mix of 3/4 potting soil & 1/4 compost.
Well filling I stuck my hand into the top and supported the root ball/stem
until there was enough soil to hold it in place. Once it was supported
I finished filling, leaving a 3" void at the top for watering.

I then hung them in place and installed the top cap.

Here they are all planted, pretty ugly I must say, maybe I will spray
paint them next year with krylon plastic paint. Starting on the window
side we have Black Cherry, the middle one is Black Zebra which I save
the seed from grocery store produce and the one on the other end is
Chocolate Stripe. I choose to only plant small fruited tomatoes in them
for obvious reasons.

I then planted 'bright lights' chard, tatsoi, deer tongue lettuce, australian yellowleaf lettuce and a red lettuce that I have lost the name of. They were all planted in the top bed by the potato bin. I also managed to plant the window box under the second story window. It will look much like last years window box(at the bottom of the link) but I added some veggies this year, cardoon & tuscano kale. Here are some photos of the planting:

Before ripping the chard apart for planting I noticed their roots
are as colourful as their stems, aren't they cool. The seed for this
chard came from Daphne's Dandelions.

Here are all the wee greens planted. This area is partial sun due to the hedge
so it should be an excellent spot to extend the green harvests into the warmer
months. The big void will be melons trellised against the wall. That part
of the bed bakes in sun all day. Funny how a small bed can be so diverse.


  1. I get a lot of emails asking about those upside down tomato grow bags. I'll be checking back often to see how they work out for you.

  2. I will keep everyone posted on their progress. They seemingly should do well, they hold lots of soil so they shouldn't dry out to fast.

  3. Well that clinches it... I probably will not grow these upside down tomatoes... because I could never reach the top to water them! I am not a tall person and that is a significant reach - even with a long watering wand!

    I will be interested in seeing how these do for you though. Have heard mixed reports on them.

    The greens look great and as you know... I think swiss chard (particularly "Bright Lights") are highly underestimated plants. So productive, tasty, and beautiful.

  4. I'll be watching for reports on those tomatoes! I was going to put my Tumbling Toms in an upside down bucket, but the darned things got too big by the time it was warm enough. I'd still like to try it...maybe next year!

  5. You, like me, love a colurful salad obviously! I was struck by the colour on the roots of my Bright Lights this year. It's my first year growing it and I usually just grow the green.

    Do you use flowers on a summer salad? I use nasturtium, borage, day lily, pansy, calendula - really cheers a plate up!

  6. I hope that chard grows well for you. Mine is doing great. I got a nice little first harvest from it. Maybe tonight I'll have it for dinner. I thought about those upside down tomatoes too. I just didn't think I could find a place that would hold a heavy pot like that.

  7. Excellent post on how to plant upside down tomatoes, I love the pictures! You really planted your tomatoes quite high..:)

  8. KitsapFG - I have them 9' high so I can grow another tomato under them in the soil. If you were not growing anything under them you could probably hang them 5 feet off the ground. Can't wait to try the chard!

    Granny - Maybe you could root a cutting and still try your upside down plant this year.

    Vegetable Heaven - I have never added flowers to a salad but I should really try this year. I have borage & pansy's so I will give them a try.

    Daphne - I wish I could have planted the chard much sooner but the bed had to be done first. The planters are really heavy, probably 3 times the weight of your average hanging basket. The hold an enormous amount of soil, about 17 liters or 4.5 gallons.

    Laminated Garden Guides - They are a ways up there but that is the only way I could still grow a tomato under them in the soil. Good thing I am tall.

  9. I'm so glad that you're giving these upside down tomatoes a try. I will be checking back in for your progress with them :-)

  10. Thanks for the excellent topsy turvy presentation ! I was planning to test a couple along with buckets and bottles for my upside down planting this year, but both my local Walmart stores have sold out and so has Home Hardware. I'm really pleased I got to see one up close (thanks to your lovely pics) and I'll be checking back to see how they do. Great !

  11. there's many ways to plant, but you have to search the more effective, cheap and smart, this is one of this, beside is a good to protect plants from the insects.