Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Upside Down Tomatoes?

I don't know how many of you have seen the Topsy Turvy ads on T.V.  I have and thought to myself, why spend $20 for something you can make yourself.  Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail suggested using a bucket with a hole drilled in the bottom instead.  What a great idea!
Tomato bucket with drill and drill bit.

Two weekends ago we went to Crown Point Ecology Center, our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), for their organic plant sale.  I bought a heirloom grape tomato plant with hopes of transplanting it into a bucket.  Since the weather has been so warm, I thought I would do it today.

The whole process wasn't that difficult.  My only problem was drilling the hole in the bucket.  I think because the bottom was very thin, I used the wrong kind of bit (1 1/4") with my drill.  I should have used a hole saw which I didn't have.  See DIY Maven's blog for a better method.  I decided not to use the coffee filter that she suggested since my plant was fairly large.

Now Gayla Trail has a terrific suggestion for using an upside down tomato planter.  She proposes putting herb plants in at the top of the container to maximize soil use.  Trail suggested basil which was fine with me.  I did read on the Old Fashion Living blog that oregano or marjoram aren't good choices for this application.   They tend to grow too thickly and absorb much of the moisture from the soil.

Sweet basil grows on the left with Thai basil on the right.
For some reason I feel better knowing I am turning my planter into a multi-tasker.  I decided to plant sweet basil and Thai basil at the top of my bucket.  The only thing that worries me is what happens when there is a strong wind.  Will the plants survive?  I will let you know what happens after a storm.

Here is my homemade upside down planter.
The cost for my planter is $4 versus $20 for a manufactured planter.  Not bad.  Luckily I had a bird feeder post lying around in the garage.  The three plants cost me $9 at the organic plant sale.  Half a bag of potting soil fetched $4.  Total price for my upside down tomato planter, $17.  That's well below the twenty dollar mark for a mass-produced container with no plants and no soil.  I get so much more satisfaction when I make an apparatus myself.

Save some money this weekend.  Buy a bucket, some soil and a tomato plant.  Instead of putting your tomato plants in a garden plot, consider growing some plants upside down.

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