topsy turvy tomato planter

keesha2006(5)July 22, 2006

what can you share about they work or are they a gimmick? My daughter lives in a apartment and wants to try...any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance

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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

If you are talking about the ones that the plant comes out the bottom instead of the top, save your money. You can grow more/healthier/better conventionally. It has some "unadvertised" drawbacks not mentioned:

1) The plant trys to grow UP toward the sun anyway

2) The roots try to grow down too, towards the plant

3) watering can cause any excess drainage to wet the foliage below the pot, increasing the chance of getting foliar diseases

4) There's no real way to support the plant as it grows, like staking or caging

5) It grows against commom physics--that is, starts down, then towards the sun, and fruit/cluster weight can pull down again

I can probably think of a few more drawbacks if I sleep on it a little.

Some adventurous growers on the Growing Tomatoes forum have tried it, and there may be posts in the back pages there about it (people ask about it practically every season on the forum) but most who've tried it said they'd have gotten more tomatoes the regular way & felt it wasn't worth it and more of a novelty than anything else.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 2:22AM
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My FIL sent me two of them this year, as a gag gift, so I'm somewhat obliged to use them. I have a 'Pasture Cherry' tomato growing in each. They were planted June 29. I have 2 more of the same variety, planted June 30, in the ground. All are in full sun locations. All are exactly the same size now, with both flowers and fruit set nicely.

The TT's are irrigated with a drip emitter in the top of each, and so far, I have seen no water dripping down the stems. The excess water drips out the perimeter holes in the bottom of the planters. Some does fall on the foliage of the plants, but I wouldn't call it an escessive amount, and, as the plants have turned upwards toward the sun, that amount has lessened.

This variety gets very large, and is a heavy cropper, so I expect to use support ties, starting fairly soon. The support will come from above, with lines running down from the hanging hook, to panty hose ties on the branches of the plant.

A word about roots. Gravity has absolutely no influence on the growth of Tomato roots. They grow into adjacent soil which contains the water and nutrients they seek, and will go in any direction to find those ingredients. When the season is over, I expect to find a fully developed root system, filling the entire container.

They're an interesting trick item, probably most useful for someone who has a place to hang them, and not much ground space. I rigged a crossbar to a piling on my bulkhead, and suspended them from that. They are out of the way, and in a good sun and moving air location. My only complaint is they are pretty corny looking, downright ugly, in my opinion. If they work well enough to consider using them again, I'll cover them with something more attractive, like terra cotta drain tiles.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 9:39AM
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Tough day for pics, as it's dark and raining, but you get the idea. I used a scrap piece of mahogany for the crossbar, and hid the irrigation tubing with split bamboo.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 10:08AM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

Here's some threads on the Topsy Turvy and growing tomatoes upside down:

Topsy Turvy tomato planter

Beware of Gimmicks

Upside down tomatoes?

Tomatoes Grown Upside Down

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 11:46AM
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thank you for the help and advice. I knew someone here might of tried them. My daughter has a balcony with a ground containers of tomatoes do not get enough sun...I planted her grape tomato in a self watering pot for this year..and so far, she says it is is her first attempt at ANY kind of gardening. She has never had a bit of interest until now but she is a law student, living on her own in a apartment in the city who finds she misses the taste of home grown tomatoes every tim the urge she wanted to try her hand at hanging ones. Nothing else would get enough sun. I didn't want to get caught in a kimick but I also did not want to ignore a better way that a self waterer.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 4:48PM
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I have one and the plant that is in it is doing really well with nice production -- Health Kick. I don't have the same variety in the ground so I can't compare. The hardest thing was finding something to hang it from. A tree would work, but the shade would be a problem. We happened to have a massive shepherdÂs hook that would hold the weight. A typical shepherdÂs hook would not work at all b/c it would bend over. When I received it as a gift, I thought I could hang it form the eve of the house, but normal thickness of the eve will not hold it.

In short, the planter works for me b/c I found a location to hang it and the plant is healthy. I wouldn't buy another one, but I will use it next year.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 10:17AM
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IÂm sorry to say that I was gullible enough to try one on a lark this past week. The water in the container constantly dripped down the plant (Yes, water is subject to gravity!) and kept both the stem and leaves drenched in dirty, soil-containing water 24 hours per day. And anyone who has ever grown tomatoes knows that the one thing you do not want to do is keep the leaves and stems of your plants constantly soaked in dirty water. The healthy little plant I placed in this ridiculous container lasted only about 3 days before dissolving into a little ball of dead, green goo. How the heck this company can get away with selling a product so patently bad and ill advised is beyond me. For me, this worthless little emperor has not a STITCH of clothing! Please spread the wordÂif you buy this product you are very likely doing nothing more than flushing your hard-earned money down the toilet.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 1:55PM
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What I know is that if you ordered the Topsy Turvey Tomato planter with stand at QVC, there is a recall on it. So, if you have that one, contact customer service at QVC for a return label. The rep called me and told me it's recalled because of a possible collapse of the stand.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 5:46PM
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I ordered one several years ago on a whim, and the tomato I put in it (a yellow pear) did so well, and produced so lushly, that I've used it ever since. The roots grow up into the soil just fine. The plants do try to grow upwards, but get so large (I have to hang the planter from the very bottom of my deck), that the foliage still reaches the patio floor each year. Yes, some of the water runs down the stems, but doesn't seem to hurt them--they get thicker than the stems of my garden-grown tomatoes, and get very bumpy near the bases, as if they're trying to root near the planter.
Funkmonk, if your transplant rotted, I'd look at things like overwatering, damage to the plant during transplanting, squeezing the stem too tightly with the foam inserts, etc. I don't think that the problem is in the fundamental design of the planter. Yes, it's gimmicky, and doesn't really replace a garden, but I've gotten loads of tomatoes from mine in the last 3 years, and plan to use it again this year. Give it another go!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 6:32PM
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To me the biggest concern is having a place to hang them. I constructed a frame out of steel plumbing pipes that you can buy at your local hardware store. Each of these things is incredibly heavy, but so far it seems to be working well. I'll post an update here and in the tomatoes forum when I see the final results.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 10:11AM
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I don't know if anyone realizes this, but funkmonk must have done a search on all the Topsy Turvy threads on this website and posted the exact same post. I find that a little odd....

I am going to give this a try this year if I can find a good spot to hang it. I'll be sure to come back and post a review.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 12:55PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I might not have been so adamant, but based on the way they function, and how water behaves in containers, I've voiced the same concerns about the TT containers FM has put forth.

I know one of our regular posters is trying them - hopefully he/she'll offer an evaluation along with LL's after a while.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 4:46PM
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I have four topsy turvy planters on the go. Started them up about four weeks ago. They are doing alright, but nothing like the ones I have in the ground. I have the same two types of cherry tomatoes in the planters as I have in the ground, so I can make the comparison.

I have been nervous of the ever-increasing weight of the fruit on the airborne ones. They all grew down a wee bit at the start and then up. Two of them remained rigidly pointed upward and the other two started bending down a bit from the weight. I waited to see if these rigid ones would start to slowly bend down and at the same time wondered if the stems would adjust and I would see the long flowing plants you see in the commercials.

Nope! Today one of the rigid ones simply twisted itself, I imagine all at once, downwards. The stem did not snap, but I'm not sure if the plant will survive. As well, all the leaves and tomato buds are completely upside down. Dead soldier I'm thinking.

I'll be supporting the other three to the top of the planters after this post. I'm here because I was looking for advice and thought that I might as well share my experience.

This is the first time I've used these. They are working, but just to a degree, at least for tomatoes, and you would have to support them when the fruit starts growing. I also have the same types of plants in grounded planters. They are also doing better than the airborne ones. I don't know how these people get there vines to grow downward like they show you. Must be some kind of training they give it while it is in the earlier stages. It might have been nice of them to let us in on that. Maybe I'd be a lot happier with these.

Use the ground in my opinion or a grounded planter. These work, but unless someone lets me know how the get them to grow down it's basically just a gimmick. More work for less fruit and the baskets ARE downright ugly.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 3:04PM
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I find much of the above information useful and will apply some of it to my recently purchased topsy turvy planter. I bought one 10 days ago, that just has the bottom "discharge" outlet. No side vents.

When we bought the small plant, it was healthy and green with established buds. I was told that these required enourmous amounts of water. So, being the novice that I am, I watered daily for 4 days (1 gal per day) and this plant has dried up and gotten smaller. The buds sport tiny green tomatos and look good, but I'm not exactly sure how much water they need.

We live in Florida and the plant hangs inside a pool screen and sees plenty of morning and early afternoon sun. Am I over-watering? Should I scrap the plant and start over? Exactly how much water should this plant get?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 7:44PM
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topsy turvey planter = this year's fad of crap. Your plant will be all bent looking and not produce or grow anywhere near as much as one in a container or ground. The one they show on the commercial is either fake or just put into the topsy turvey right before they filmed it.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 1:30PM
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I planted an Early Girl in my Topsy Turvey. It is loaded with tomatoes, but the leaves are starting to wilt and pull off easily. What's wrong? This is my first time growing upside down, and only my 2nd year growing tomatoes. Any help would be great. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 12:47PM
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jusme_newby(5b North-Central MO)

As with anything else, upside down tomato planters will be loved by some, hated by others, disappoint some and please others. I found some on sale for 10.00 this spring and decided to give one a chance. The only problem I had was finding a suitable location that would support the weight. I finally hung it under my porch overhang where it gets a lot of good sun but little rain. I started by planting a beefsteak in it (I know, but this was an experiment) and watered it every day. After a week, I noticed a lot of bubbles around the container all the way up and figured I had over-watered it. I left it alone for another week or so and the leaves started to turn yellow. Although there were still bubbles on the container, I started watering a small amount (about a cup) until water started draining out of the drain holes, every day and the plant perked up and is currently doing fine, if smaller than it could be, probably due to my giving it a rather poor start.

Although tomatoes are photo tropic, they also have an internal cell structure that tells the main stem which way is up and the main root which way is down. After that, it is up to the branch stems and roots to find the sunlight and the water. They do both quite well in the topsy turvy position as is attested to by many of those posting here. But they are also quite susceptible to the effects of poor light and water management, since they have such a small container. As mentioned earlier, a drip system, properly adjusted, a soil structure that promotes fast drainage and a low water table will give the best results. I will have to wait and see if my large tomatoes will require additional support or not.

I just find it annoying that anyone can try something totally new and, failing to succeed, come to the conclusion that it is not his fault but totally and absolutely a massive hoax put on strictly to cause him irreparable anguish and pain. Go ahead, sue, sue, sue!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 3:04PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Don't get all upset on me now - I'm playing devil's advocate & musing, more than anything.

How about if I decide there is an inherent problem with the product before I even use it? Would you consider me narrow-minded ... or prescient? - and what if others either see the same problem as well, or discover it soon after using the product? Who is more wrong - they ... for blaming the container, or you ... for blaming their skills and unwillingness to shoulder the blame for the failure?
The design allows water to flow from the container directly onto the leaves & stems; and the water, after percolating through the soil will be contaminated with soilborne fungi that can cause any number of fungal infections (gray mold, early/late blight, wilts ....). These diseases are precisely why it's advisable not to allow muddy soil to splash onto the leaves when you water, so why would it be OK to allow water that passed through the soil to soak the foliage & stem every time you irrigate?

My neighbor has three (nearly) dead plants hanging in three of these containers that I can see from my desk as I type. Granted, he's a goof and possibly did something else wrong, but I'm guessing that his issue is most likely to be the result of a fungal infection. If he didn't let his dogs bark all day long, I'd have told him how to prevent the problem.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 3:55PM
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ok guys I have to weigh in. I have 2 TT and I have 8 Early Girls in the one and many more flowers. The other one has a BHN 640 which has flowers but as of yet no maters. Yes it might be a fad but I think it is pretty cool and I invite you to look at the stand I had built for them in my patio.
The key is to use potting mix not soil as it will not properly drain, I used Miracle Organic Potting Mix, then Quick start when I planted them and Bonnie Organic liquid fertilizer for Herbs and Veggies.
Take a look for yourself.


Here is a link that might be useful: my pool container garden

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 8:02PM
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One other thing you cannot put such a large mater like a Beefsteak in the TT, it will not be able to support the weight. I always suggest a cherry tom, or a husky cherry red or an Early girl.
Also as far as watering you need to hold your hand under the bottom of the TT and if it is heavy it does not need water and do not let it completely get light to the touch ( I am referring to the container) as then you have not watered it enough. I water mine every couple of days depending on our weather here.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 8:11PM
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Dusty, thanks for the tip on knowing when to water. I've been wondering.

Well, I started one a couple months ago. I used a volunteer tomato from the garden. It is growing, has a few buds and one green tomato. I must admit it isn't getting a lot of sun, but it will get more as we move into summer. It's a fun experiment. I even heard of putting a pepper plant in the top.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 8:30PM
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Yes and they even make an upside down pepper container with the holes on the side. My friend planted cilantro, onions, peppers and it is taking off.. it is red instead of the green one and as I said the holes are on the side.She planted everything you would need for salsa:) Yes I have heard of putting a plant in the top.....just have not decided which one...I would not go with a pepper though because they don't like as much water as the tomatoe will need. Good luck with yours..I will try and take a picture in the next day or two and post it with my Early girls.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 8:46PM
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Pro and Cons on idea itself:
My brother had used this idea years ago.
Here are his instructions:
Take 5 gallon basket, make a hole in the bottom, cover it with newspaper, fill backet with good potting mix and close the lid, put bucket on a lid, plant seedling of cherry tomato, leave it in such a way for several days letting to root into potting mix and grow bigger.
Then hang it in sunny place, open the lid and plant seedling of basil there.
Tomato plant will grow crooked of course, but it will be fine and produce.
He told that his tomato plants did not mind some extra water going down, wind and sun dried it. It did not produced as much tomotoes as possible could have in soil, but it WORKED.

Pro: it should work with proper care for people who don't have sunny place to grow toms in soil or regular containers but have a good space to hang it or for people that have trouble with wild life.

Cons: You have to be choosy about potting mix, fertilizer and watering at all. But we can say the same about growing in regular containers, right?

I think every idea can have its own place to use when gardener knows what he is doing. Sleeping in a closet can't be compared with a sleeping in your bedroom, but still can give you rest if you have only this closet to use.

This year is my first year with container gardening. I like it. My toms in containers go to GH at night and they are loaded with green fruits, nights are cold in PNW and toms outside just started to set first fruits. I got a lot of ideas on this forum and successfully use them. Thank you, people.

I am trying to grow cucumber in a hanging basket this year. Will let you know what i get.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:30AM
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As promised here are my pics of the Early Girl:)


Here is a link that might be useful: my pool container garden

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 9:05AM
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I just got 2 of the planters last week. I am in southwest Georgia. One with Roma and the other with Beefsteak tomatoes. They're in a spot with late morning and all afternoon sun. I am giving them about 3/4 of a gallon of water each, both in the morning and late afternoon. Is this okay? Am I overwatering them? How often should I fertilize them? I noticed a couple of leaves on both of them turning a bit brown and I clipped the off.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:09AM
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I used Quick Start by Miracle Gro when I first put my toms in the TT's and then I use the Bonnie Liquid Vegetable and Herb fertilizer about every 2 weeks. I hope this helps and good luck with your TT's.

Check and see if the container is heavy as you place your hand underneath it, if so you don't need water. Mates are 85% water so they can take quite a bit however that might be a little much. Mine are getting morning and afternoon sun and what kind of mix did you use? I used Miracle Gro Organic potting mix.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:43AM
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I used Miracle Gro Organic potting mix also. I'll cut the water down to 1/2 gallon twice a day.
Thanks Dusty

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 4:04PM
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We have eight of the TT's with medium sized tomato plants, and they seem to be doing fine, with the exception of one of the plants. It was the first to produce tomatoes, and as soon as they started turning red, the bottoms of the tomatoes exhibit a very dark, almost rotting, sort of look. Is anyone else experiencing this and does anyone have any suggestions? Each plant gets a good amount of direct sunlight, and I water them every other day with about half a gallon each, and every other time I water them, I attach a Miracle Gro liquid plant food dispenser to the hose.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 8:53PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's BER (blossom end rot). The possible causes are myriad, but its from an interruption of the supply of Ca in the nutrient stream. It can be from an actual Ca deficiency, or any number of cultural conditions that make it difficult for the plant to assimilate Ca. If it IS a Ca deficiency, don't look to the MG fertilizer to correct it - there's no Ca in it.

Often, you'll see this occurring on the first fruits, only to find that fruits ripening subsequently are not affected. I think this is especially true if you make your own soil and plant in it right away, instead of letting it rest for a couple of weeks.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 9:34PM
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I bought one this year after struggling with tomato plants in regular planters.
Since I haven't used one yet, this is an experiment. However, to those who say that this is not a viable way to grow tomatoes, I say you are very wrong. They are grown this way in many special greenhouses.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 11:01PM
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I bought 4 TT and followed the instructions to a tee. Mine started to do what I thought as well, but like many ppl, it started to grow upwards. Then, the weight got too heavy on the main branch and snapped. Like I said, it looked healthy and vibrant, and had lots of blooms. Then SNAP! My other 3 look the same, growing upward toward the sunlight. I anticipate that they will do the same.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 4:59PM
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I bought my TT last year and grew beefsteak and cherry tomato's in one TT and it did just fine and both plants produced good tomatoes, the first few beefsteaks I had did have the rot problem (center round black ring on bottom of the tomato) and after searching and finding out it needed more calcium so I took care of it also its good to put some top cover on the top soil in the basket to keep moister from evaporating out so fast on hot days, after that all my tomatoes was just fine.

well this year I was thinking about buying a TT strawberry basket too went to walmart and while in gardening I seen these real cheap $4 hanging baskets for growing strawberries and thought, hey why not just take the center ring out of the top of my TT tomato planter and plant tomatoes in bottom and strawberries on the top so I got cherry and Big Boy this year and a nice medium size strawberry plants on the top planted about a week ago and have 3 strawberries and 6 new flowers already and have tons of flowers on both tomato plants with 2 small but growing tomatoes growing so far.

also this year I bought a beefsteak and put it in the ground with a cage just to see how the beefsteak does in the ground vs last year in the TT, I must say I planted the ground plant a few days later then the TT plants but I have yet to have even 1 flower from it so far but it is growing bigger and stronger so I am sure soon it will flower

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 7:52AM
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Cindy Lloyd(7)

I bought a generic "Tomato Planter" at Big Lots this year, hoping to marvel at it's wonder. So far my tomato plant is doing great. 2 weeks in and it's still green. It was almost dead when I planted it. I think I saved it's life, poor thing was wasting away at FIL house, he didn't know what to do with all of his plants, and couldn't give insight to anyone who might help him. Wish me luck. So far so good.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 9:40AM
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I am trying my first tomato in a 5 gal bucket, with the roots in the bucket and the plant sticking out the bottom. It blossomed sooner than expected, but in five days it wants to grow towards the sun instead of going with gravity.

The plant is a volunteer, probably a red cherry. Too soon to say how it will work out, but I have 27 tom plants growing towards the sun, so I'll survive.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 9:08PM
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Hey guys. So I got a TT a little while ago as I wanted to grow tomatos and have NO room on my small patio for planters. I put the seedling in and it was doing awesome, but from the first set of 4 blooms, there was only 1 tomato. Then the bottom branches began to turn yellow and hard and shrivel up. It started with 1 branch and moved slowly up to the next one, etc.

The plant did have little black specs on it, but I noticed there was nothing to keep the dirt/water from dropping out of the planter on to the plant. So I cleaned it off and put some plastic around the base of the plant to keep the dirt in the planter and off the plant. I also cleaned the dirt off, but there was some discoloration (other than the general yellow color, this was more brown) that wouldn't come off. Now the tomato is turning orange, (ripening?) but it is also getting a bit spotty. But the plant continues to grow new, healthy looking sprouts at the top (although some of the older new sprouts are starting to shrivel up a bit), but no more fruit.

I used Miracle Grow soil. I had filled up the container, but I noticed when looking for issues after the discoloration that the soil had compacted to about 3/4 of a container. So I topped it off 3 days ago. I also used to water it 1.5L per day. Someone told me that was not enough so I started doing the 1.5L twice. But I noticed most of it was just running out. SO I made a drip waterer and I am now getting no run off (I have only been using the drip for 3 days). Also, I got a tip from a grower with a large garden to add a little Epsom Salt to the water. So I put a handful in the dripper 3 days ago (it is still in there, it dissolves and filters in slowly). So now I fill up the dripper (half a gallon milk jug) twice a day. The plant gets late day sun (VERY HOT) from 3:00PM until nightfall (I live in Texas).

So, any ideas what this could be? Was I under watering? Over watering? Too much sun? Critters? I have pics of the plant if necessary.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 1:34PM
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I live in Miami, FL (Zone 10) and need some advice from other Floridian Topsy Turvy tomato growers. The watering is automated, I can set any schedules.

  1. How many hours of direct sunlight are recommended?
  2. How much water the dripping system should provide daily?
    Thx for the help. Ivan
    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:58AM
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Just wanted to post my experience, I have not read all the above comments but a few. I have three tomato TT's with a plant in both top and bottom of each, my biggest problem is getting the ladder out to harvest my top plants. With mirical grow soil and feed they are outstanding! My neighbors are very envious as their tomatoes are half the size if that, in ground. Mine hang off my deck as I don't have much space and in ground planting on my lot is impossible without some grand work. I also have albino peppers, and regular bell peppers growing in tt's that are doing wonderfully. I water every night but nothing special if you haven't tried them I suggest you do I have 4ft down plants and 4ft up everything from black zebras, sun gold hybrids(my only non heirloom) even brandywine and green giant and all are full of fruit!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 5:11PM
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i planted first time last year on my deck in a tt, 1 early girl tomatoe plant, in May. Got over 3 doz tomatoes and a beautiful picture of the tomatoes. Bay area. going to try 3 more this year. Have small amount of bees so I pollenated the best can.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 4:24PM
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Hello, My topsy turvy plants were growing up and now they bent down because of the weight of the branches. Will the branches break from the weight?? Should I tie string or rope around the outside so it balances the weight of the plant branches or just let it go and see what happens? Please advise

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 10:23PM
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^^^^^Same as above, I am a little concerned that the heavy fruit and wind will break the branches.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 10:32PM
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I've used a Topsy Turvy for tomato growing and it worked just as well as the tomatoes in traditional containers. The tomato in the TT initially starts growing toward the sky but soon spirals downward.

Fortunately, I had a sturdy place to hang the TT, which can get pretty heavy, especially when watered. I noticed last year that holding stands were being sold to accompany the TT at Bed Bath & Beyond and Sam's Club (and probably a few other places). That could be an option for people concerned about the TT's weight.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 1:08AM
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Hi all,

First post, and this is my first year growing tomatoes. I went with the topsy turvy planters because I have limited space and it seemed like a good idea at the time. This year is an experiment, and if I don't have good results, I will do something different next year.

I live in Houston, TX and I noticed some problems really quickly with these planters.
1) The dark green bag that is designed to "heat up" the root system may not be such a good idea down here.
2) It is almost impossible to keep the 3 upper plants watered sufficiently without overwatering the plant in the bottom.
3) The amount of dirt in the bag is not a lot for four plants.

My solutions thus far:
1) I covered the green bags with duct tape to reflect the sunlight..better than the dark green anyways.
2) I added a drip watering system that is gravity fed by a 5 gallon bucket. 1/2 gallon per hour drippers run all day will not even drip out of the bottom at this point, and my plants look pretty happy.
3) I feed daily with miracle grow tomato food by putting into the drip bucket, but only at 20% of recommended strength. In the future, I will not put a plant in the bottom position. It just complicates watering and they don't seem to do well.

Here are some pics as of today. Feedback is welcome as I am a total newbie and have no idea if the fruit density I have is good at this point. The plants in buckets on the ground are 2 black krim and 1 Heatwave II. In the hanging planters I have mostly Top Gun, 1 beefsteak and 1 cherry. The plan now is to get rid of/move the cherry and beefsteak to replace with some additional Black Krim and Cherokee Purple once they are ready.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 11:35AM
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pinks(9A Houston)

Greetings Houston dweller! I am in year 2 of growing upside-down tomatoes and bell peppers. I do this because I have limited space on my patio and because the spider mites aren't as brutal on my hanging plants.

My solution: I bought 5-gallon buckets with lids. I drilled small holes in the lid, and a large hole at the bottom of the bucket. I fed the tomato seedling through the bottom, added soil (fortified with crushed dried egg shells and compost), snapped the lid on and let them grow upright for a while. After the roots were established, I flipped it over, got rid of the lid, and hung it.

Things I've found: I never put anything beyond small herbs on the top of the bucket, because otherwise the tomato roots don't get enough space. This year, the bell pepper bucket is getting no plant on top.

My tomatoes are organic, so they just get regular compost. I always grow small tomatoes given the small size of my buckets, so I'll be curious to see how your larger tomatoes turn out.

We'll see how things turn out this year. The bell pepper plant has been producing continuously since last Fall (after hibernating during our horrible summer) due to the mild winter.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 2:54PM
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I'll add my two cents...I purchased 10 of the TT planters for $2 each on a clearance rack. I wanted a different way to grow my tomatoes so my dogs couldn't get at them and eat them off the vine before I get a chance to. So I hung all 10 from a metal arbor that had a flat top that I purchased at a local big box DIY store. I ordered my tomato plants online from a non-GMO seed company and when they arrived they were a little sick looking. I didn't have much confidence that they would grow in these things. It has been about 4 weeks now and they are very healthy looking and already have lots of flowers and some fruit on them. I don't think they look corny, but that's just me. I came on this thread to find ideas for watering them as I can't seem to get my sprinkler on the timer to provide a sufficient amount of moisture. I found an idea on another site that used 1/2 gallon milk jugs with holes poked in the bottoms and the tops cut off that you set on top of the soil and it works like a drip system. I think I may try that when I gather enough milk containers (may take awhile since I don't drink milk, though! LOL). Anyway, so far I like them. We'll see if they work to keep the dogs from reaching the fruit though.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 3:12PM
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we bought one and our neighbor bought 2. They are easy to do and yes the plant turns and goes up toward the sun. On all three of these plants there is only one tomato each.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 2:33PM
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