DIY Upside Down Tomato

I was watching one of those infomercial type commercials, the one about the hanging containers for growing your tomatoes upside down. This particular commercial offered them at $19.95, plus ("But Wait!! There's MORE!!") shipping and handling. That makes for a rather expensive home-grown tomato. So I decided to try my own homemade version. We already have eight tomato plants growing in the ground in the conventional manner, so if the experiment is an utter failure, all we will lose is the price of a tomato plant, instead of $19.95 plus shipping and handling

I started with an old 5 gallon bucket.

Using a 1.5" hole saw, I drilled a hole in the bottom. I decided that I needed a
hole large enough to get the tomato plant through the hole in the bucket.

I cut a piece of shade cloth a little larger than the hole. I'm going to put this around the stem of the plant to keep the soil from exiting the hole in the bucket. The cloth will allow the stem to grow, but keep the soil in. I cut halfway into the piece of cloth and took out a tiny bit at the end of the cut, as space for the stem.

Next, I put the bucket between two trash barrels so I could plant the tomato.

Here's the star of the show, a 'Brandywine' tomato plant:

I pinched off the lower foliage. I will plant the tomato deeper so more roots can grow along the stem and strengthen the plant.

I threaded the tomato through the hole by gently bringing all the foliage together and slipping it through the hole.

I put the piece of shade cloth around the stem of the plant.

I teased the roots a bit (Nee-ner nee-ner neeee-ner!) and added potting soil. I
pulled the tomato upwards as I added soil so more of the stem would be inside the bucket.

All done! I hung it upstairs on the balcony using the big trellis beam as support. I used a not-very-attractive (but strong) piece of wire. I'll look around for something a little less ugly than the wire tomorrow. Last thing: MUST remember to water! If the soil seems to dry out too fast, I can put the bucket lid on the top to help preserve moisture.

I'll do monthly updates to see how well this experiment works--will it be any better than the ones planted in the ground? We'll find out!


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