I've been making these for the past couple years and people often ask me how I do it. Today I decided to document my method for creating these wonderful, space-saving planters that let you grow delicious tomatoes in the tiniest of spaces.

The design is simple: it's basically a hanging planter with a hole cut into the bottom and a tomato plant pushed through the hole. On the top of the planter you can put anything you want: flowers, herbs, or other small plants. I'm using oregano, because it can be easily grown in a pot this size, and it makes a wonderful seasoning for the tomatoes in a fresh garden salad.

The tomatoes I'm using are a variety called "Supersweet 100". I've grown these for the past few years and they are just delicious -- sweet & tart with a crisp bite. They aren't very big, about the diameter of a penny, but that's fine for our purposes. Smaller tomatoes do better in these planters than larger ones, which require more soil and space. Also, larger tomatoes tend to sag towards the ground, which puts stresses on the stem of the plant.

Properly watered and cared for, a planter like this can yield a great harvest. Last year I picked over 150 tomatoes from a single plant! And you can reuse the planter year after year!

Regarding planting time, you should follow the instructions that come with the plant, usually located on the back of the little plastic tag that indicates the variety. The nice thing about these planters, however, is that if you start them a little early you can just hang them inside until it's time to bring them outside.

jarethhsms2 years ago
Hey question, would you think this would work out with flowers, such as tulips?
Oh also would this work with strawberry plants?
I am a beginner, so please excuse my ignorance. Why not just let the tomato plants grow over the sides at the top of the bucket, which would allow several plants in each bucket (obviously on the sunny side) and give a greater length of stem for fruit to grow on ?

But here's a thought anyway: Hang the bucket from a spring balance, (spring scale in the US ?) and this will give an indication of when (and how much), watering is needed.
johngineer (author)  ElectroFrank4 years ago

I used to do what you suggested -- have them hang over the side -- but it didn't work out. Tomato fruits and leaves can get rather large and heavy, since they store a good amount of water. Having them hang over the edge puts a lot of stress on the stem which is rather weak (particularly in a young plant). Sometimes a moderate wind will just snap it off. Also, by having the plant hang directly down, you can fit more plants into the same space side by side.

I love the spring-balance idea, though. I think I'm going to have to try that!
GREAT job..
I enjoyed you instructable.

Pictures are great!
Well done....
diannpcw5 years ago
This is the best up-side-downer yet!
beckysews5 years ago
Thank you so much!  I want to try this and you just saved me money and time wasted trying o figure it out myself!
jmkaay5 years ago
This is not only a great Instructable, but it is very well written. Thanks!
ahensnest5 years ago
Love it! I was just thinking today that I'd like to try and make something like this, now I can use up some of my old hanging pots. Thanks!
adafruit5 years ago
this is great, nicely done!