This entry is a copy from a KNOL I wrote found at Google. Google will be discontinuing the KNOL's platform and I am in the process of storing them on my blog. Please enjoy the article. I have about 50 coming over to this blog.
I have over 50 garden videos. Why not join my YouTube Garden Video Channel? Container tomatoes There are several products on the market that tout growing tomatoes upside down. Some of them are effective and others are as about effective as you actually trying to plant a tomato while you are upside down. Upside tomatoes grow and because they grow you need to be prepared. Upside down tomatoes are easy to set up but can be a bit difficult to maintain. This Knol will prepare you for success.
How to Grow Upside Down Tomatoes
What Type of Tomato Do I Plant?
What Variety of Tomato Do I Grow?
Watering and Plant Weight Problems
Watering ProblemsThe most critical factor in growing an upside down tomato is moisture or watering. I have had fruit crack because of moisture problems and I have had plants develop blossom end root because of moisture problems. Two different problems both related to watering and moisture control. Cracking occurs when watering is inconsistent. The plant dries out and then the soil is soaked. That is the basic scenario that gets repeated and it is the culprit to the problems. The cycle of drying and drenching, causes the plant to quickly suck down water and the fruit cracks. Blossom end rot occurs due to a calcium deficiency. The constant drying of the roots causes problems with the way the plant absorbs nutrients. Blossom end rot is the browning of the bottom of your tomatoes.
Solutions to Watering
Solutions to Weight
Getting Started: The Supplies
|Upside Down Tomatoes: Supplies|
- A tomato plant
- Two cubic feet of moisture control garden soil (fills two plus containers)
- A five gallon paint bucket with lid (one per tomato plant)
- Sphagnum peat moss if you want to make your own moisture control blend of soil
- A hook to hang the container if it is going under a deck or other structure ( a very secure hook)
- A post of some sort if you are hanging your container elsewhere
- A box of water soluble fertilizer (one box will feed many upside down tomatoes for the entire season)
- Six feet of 3/16 inch rope or strong nylon equivalent (if you are going to grow large weighted tomatoes)
- A two inch blade that can cut a plastic paint bucket (I use a basic two inch kitchen paring knife)
The picture includes three bags of miracle grow garden soil ($3.97 per 1 cubic foot bag) and a bail of sphagnum peat moss ($9.97 for a bail). Rope to create a strong handle. A knife with a short blade for cutting and a five gallon paint bucket. There are enough supplies to make four upside down tomato containers.
Step One: Cut a Hole in the Bottom of the Container
I grow my tomatoes seedlings/transplants in 8.5 oz Styro-Foam cups. You want to make the hole in the center of the container just a little smaller then the top of a 8.5 oz cup.
You want the hole to be about that size. If it is to large, the soil will fall out. If it is to small, you run the risk of the edge of the hole cutting into the stem of the tomato when the wind blows.
If you drop the cup into the hole it should look something like this. You don't need to cut the perfect hole. Just something close to the pictures.
Step Two: Reinforce the Handle
Use the point of your knife and poke a hole beneath each end of the handle that is already attached to the container. The rope gets threaded through the holes and you now have a secure way to hang your container. It will hold wet soil, a heavy plant and large tomatoes.
Step Three: Make the Soil and Fill the Bucket
If you bought moisture control garden soil, just fill the bucket almost to the top and your done. You want to leave about 2 inches of space from the top of the bucket.
If you bought peat moss and basic garden soil, fill the bucket with 2/3 garden soil and 1/3 peat moss. Mix them thoroughly together. Also leave 2 inches of space from the top of the bucket.
Step Four: Plant the Tomato
Step Five: Hang Your Upside Down Tomato
Step Six: Tending to Your Upside Down Tomato
I am leaving the lid off my container this year and will be installing a soda bottle slow drip water system. That should help greatly with managing moisture and it will be the subject of an upcoming Knol.