I had run out of space to grow more herbs and vegetables in my back garden recently and was on the lookout for ways to utilise the vertical space I’ve got. During the holidays I stumbled on a Topsy Turvy planter in Macro and thought it was a most excellent idea… it was just so costly!
Upside down gardening is nothing new, it has been around for ages, but with home-grown veggies becoming more prevalent and these ready-made planters being available, the concept has again become quite popular. Not only does upside down gardening save space, it also minimises pest and disease problems, eliminates weeding and makes harvesting easy. Tomatoes are a firm favourite, but you can also try squashes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries and eggplants.
Making an upside down planter at home is great fun, turns out much cheaper than the store-bought ones and you can even do your bit for the environment by using materials you’ve got lying around already!
Here’s how I did it:
- Container – I used a 9l bucket, but you can use any suitable container that you have lying around.
- Potting Soil – even better if you can use your own compost.
- Tomato plants – I chose cherry tomatoes, we eat loads of them.
- Basil plants – Basil is a good companion to tomatoes.
- A scrap piece of fabric to line bottom of the container – I used hessian, but I believe coffee filters also do the job.
- Wall bracket, ropes & nails – I wanted to hang up my bucket-o-plants opposite my existing vegetable beds against the wall.
You are going to need to drill three equidistant small holes around the edge of the wide opening of the container – this is to thread the rope through that you’ll use to hang it up with later. You will also need to make a hole for your upside down plant in the middle of the narrower opening of the container. The hole must be large enough for the plant to fit through and of course, be wide enough for the maximum width you expect the main plant stem to become.
Step 2 : Line the bottom
Cut an X in the middle of the scrap piece of material you have (just large enough for the plant to go through) and line the bottom of the container with it. You are going to push the plants roots through the bottom of the hole in the container and through the lined piece of cloth.
After securing the roots of the tomato plant through the bottom of the container, start filling with soil (this is quite awkward, unless you have someone to help you as you have to make sure that the upside down tomato plant is not hurt – i.e. no putting down the container!) Depending on which container you chose, you can plant up the top – I used basil plants as they are a great companion to tomatoes.
And there you have it – me (Minette) with my newly planted and hung up upside down tomato planter (with basil companions). It really is as simple as that! Now we’ll monitor our little experiment and keep you up to date!
If this one works, the next one is definitely going to be strawberries with borage!