Topy Maters and Gully Washers


| 7/6/2011 4:23:23 PM


Tags: garden, tomatoes, planter, ditches, drainage, allan douglas, Allan Douglas,

Marie called me the other day and asked me if I’d seen those As Seen on TV upside down, hanging tomato planters in the magazines (we don’t watch television) and if I thought they’d really work.

Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter in box  

The reason she asked was that she’d seen them in a local dollar store for a buck each. They had lots of them. She has seen the exact same product in our big-box department store for $8.99. The clerk in the dollar store said that the distributor and donated a semi-load of the things to the dollar store distribution center so all the stores in the region have cases and cases of the things to sell. Marie wanted to know if I’d care to try one out. If it worked as well as was advertised, she could get me more and next year I could take my tomato patch air borne. I answered that for a buck it can’t hurt to try. I even had a couple of volunteer tomato plants that had come up in places I didn’t want them, courtesy of bird droppings.

The thing is essentially a heavy vinyl cylinder with a plastic plate at the bottom and a steel hoop at the top. This bottom plate has a hole, approximately 3” in diameter in the center of it with a ring standing up from the inside surface a little larger in diameter than the hole, forming a lip inside the ring. This ring holds a disk of dense foam rubber that is slit half way across. The idea is to poke the root of the tomato plant up through the hole on the bottom plate, slip the disk onto the stem of the young tomato plant just above (or below, since we’re working with it upside down) the root ball and seat the disk in the ring on the bottom plate.

Then, we fill the cylinder with a high quality potting soil – I used the Mel’s Mix formula used in the planting boxes in the garden. The key here is to put the “dirt” in GENTLY, at least to start, to avoid crushing the root ball and stem.

Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter assembly station 

allan douglas
7/12/2011 8:07:06 AM

A GALLON of water a day!! Wow, I had no idea to took so much, and here I've been worried about overwatering them and causing root rot, or splitting, or fungus, or... something! I have been taking out a 20 oz bottle of water and dumping it into the top of the hanging planter every morning. That leaves it dripping out of the bottom for an hour, so I can't see adding any more to it at that time. I used to live in St Louis and saw it flood out several times. Fortunately I lived in an area that was high enough to avoid damage. But even the Great Flood of 03 is nothing compared to what is happening in that region this year. So many people have lost so much... it's very sad. I'll join you in praying that the levies in your area hold.


nebraska dave
7/6/2011 8:44:59 PM

Allen, people have told me that in the gardens of Disney World they have the upside down tomatoes growing wonderfully well. The key is as you have said daily maintenance. Anything hanging in the air will dry out fast and must be watered daily - no exception. Just regularly planted tomatoes require a gallon of water every day to grow the great juicy tomatoes that all the neighbors covet. All my hanging baskets have drip watering installed with automatic timers that water every day at six in the morning. Since so much watering is required, fertilizing on a regular basis is also required. I usually fertilize my hanging flower baskets at least every three weeks to keep them strong and healthy. All that to say that yes it can be done but it's way crazy more work than regular planting. I live by the Missouri river and the Corps says now that the flooding will continue until September or later. The earth river levees have never had to hold back flood water that long and they are already starting to fail. I hope and pray that they will supernaturally hold back the floods until the river level recedes. Interstate 29 is closed both directions from my city and delivery truck traffic has been routed on secondary roads. I-80 seems to be holding up both ways so far. It's been a crazy year for sure. My house is up on the hill in the Urban part of the city. The water level would not reach me but the concern is for the water treatment and sewage treatment plants for the city. The two nuclear plants have not been flooded but water is on the properties and they have been taken off line as a precaution. With the hot weather ahead of us hopefully the grid will be able to handle the electricity consumption load. Yeah, I hear about the muscle burn. My two friends are Alieve and Ibuprofen. I have been out lugging 80 pound bags of concrete mix for a project in my backyard today so I'm going to need a little help from my friends before retiring this evening.





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