I've recently been hearing good things about growing tomatoes upside down, so I decided to not only investigate, but also to have a go myself.
According to those who have engaged with growing upside down tomatoes, it's a fun and surprisingly productive way of producing the fruits, where many people have reported higher yields compared to those grown in the more traditional way.
One of the main advantages I can see is that growing tomatoes upside down allows people with no garden, or very limited space to still be able to grow tomatoes. It allows you to take advantage of the airspace that you do have available, and also frees up floor space to allow you to grow other things.
How? The principal is quite simple. You take a bucket or large container, put a 1-2 inch hole in the bottom, Carefully poke a tomato plant through the hole and add soil to the bucket.
In the video below, I filmed how I attempted to plant my own upside down tomatoes....
One of the things I have learned about growing tomatoes is to remove the bottom two leaves and to bury the plant deeply so that the bottom two leaf positions are beneath the soil.
From the positions where you removed the two leaves, the plant should go on to produce new shoots that will go on to become feeder roots.
I decided to continue this practice with the upside down tomatoes, although in the video, The particular example finished product I hold up did not appear to be done in this way (thanks to my lousy video editing!)
Then it's just a case of hanging up and watering.
In my particular case, I have built a wood pergola-style framework for my plants to climb on and to hang the buckets on. If you do not have something to hang you buckets on to, then you will need some kind of a bracket or hook. You need to make sure that whatever you are hanging it on is strong enough to support the weight of not only the bucket full of soil when watered, but also the weight of the tomatoes as they grow, which can reach weights in excess of 50lbs depending on what type of plant you are growing.
Watering Keeping the tomato plants well watered is essential in getting a good crop. the additional air movement around the plants should encourage them to grow better, but it will also encourage the evaporation of the moisture within the pot. If your bucket has a lid, it might be worth experimenting with putting it on.
Companion Planting? Personally I would like to grow some other plants from the top of my buckets - perhaps some marigolds as they make excellent companion plants for tomatoes and help prevent the wrong kinds of bugs from attacking.
One year on... OK, so this is a little addition I'm making to this page. It's been a year since I originally wrote this article and made the video. At that time, I'd never grown tomatoes upside down before so it was an experiment.
Here I am a year later reporting on what happened.
Well, let me bottom-line this straight away for you; Let's just say, it was a fun experiment and I'm glad I gave it a go, but I won't be doing it again anytime soon.
In ALL cases, the tomatoes produced from the upside-down arrangement were not as good or as abundant as the tomatoes grown in the conventional way.
Now it may have been down to a number of factors; perhaps I had the wrong kind of tomato plants, bad positioning, poor bucket capacity or just bad luck, but I did grow several species of tomato plant both conventionally and upside-down, and in every case the conventional ones fared better.
So I can only conclude that growing plants in the way nature didn't intend them to grow in the first place, will unlikely yield better results than conventional growing.
The only time I might consider growing tomatoes upside down again in the future, would be if the area I had available to grow them dictated it.
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Growing tomatoes upside down I have just subscribed and have been reading some of your articles. I started container planting vegetables last year and most did well(beetroot was a …
Growing Tomatoes Upside Down Hi Rick
This Is Tony I have just subscribed & I am really learning a lot so thanks for all the info.
I just thought I would tell you what I had …
Upside-down Grown Tomatoes Not rated yet Hi there,
I have to agree with your assessment of growing tom plants upside down. I grew them over the course of two years and they were a bust. My …
Im a novice. Not rated yet Very informative website, the videos are a great help. I started growing my own veg a couple of years ago with good beginners success. I've moved house …