Picture of Tomato Grower in a Gatorade Bottle
Have you ever seen the upside down tomato growers on late night TV?

Yeah, you have to admit, it's pretty ridiculous how they can charge someone for that. Why not make your own from your recyclables??

It's very simple, and it cost me nothing to make it. All I really needed to buy was a tomato plant.

If you're going for something simple and easy to do to get nice, plump tomatoes, I'd recommend this project. If you're not really for the aesthetics, you can skip some steps.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials
It's in all our blood: Our ancestors used to do this...

Gather...Not so much the hunting today, but getting your materials/tools is very useful.

- X-Acto knife
- Metal Snips or Scissors
- Marker

- Electrical or Duct Tape
- Empty & Cleaned Gatorade Bottle (32 Oz or larger) or Milk Jug
- Metal Clothes Hanger
- Plastic Bags (Preferably not white or black)

- Glue (Rubber Cement was used in this case because it was on hand)
- Lighter

Step 2: Mark & Cut

Picture of Mark & Cut
Next, using a marker, mark about a half inch to an inch from the bottom of the bottle.

Then, cut along the line with the X-Acto knife or Scissors.

The result should look like so:

Step 3: Deburring the Edges (Optional)

Picture of Deburring the Edges (Optional)
Now, at this point you'll probably notice that the edge that you cut is pretty sharp and it isn't nice to get your fingers caught on here.

You have 2-3 Options:

1) Use your lighter and gently bring the bottom of the bottle through the flame so that you can gently melt the sides to a duller edge.

2) Use the Duct/Electrical tape to tape the edges down.

3) After (1), do (2)...Which is the method that is done here.
i think it's a great idea. One thought - tomato's a fusy about water on their stems and leaves - getting easy fungus etc. How do you prevent excess water from dripping down the stem and fruit?
wushuair (author)  christiaansa5 years ago
You could actually use the cap from the bottle that you're using and make a hole. Screw on the cap and then the plant can go through as well. As for the extra water on the stem, by keeping the plant in sunlight, the fruit and the leaves will droop downwards. This means that any water on the stem base will evaporate. I hope this helps.
thewhatleys5 years ago
Definately worth a try! Have you done this before? How do you "support" the plant when it gets larger and is carrying the weight of all those huge tomatoes? Are the roots really that strong that it can hang upside down and not get pulled out of the pot by the roots?
wushuair (author)  thewhatleys5 years ago
I'm still in school (College) and my work load has been insane. I wish I had some time to plant the tomatoes in there. Hopefully, I can do it this weekend. The reason to choose the gatorade bottle was for its material. The plastic is pretty durable; if you think about it, when athletes take swigs of the drink, the bottle does take on some abuse, being thrown around, etc. As for the plant, when the plant produces roots, its root system has to be pretty extensive being able to support itself. As the root system is able to extend through the soil, the roots are also pulling the soil with it, which makes it impossible to pull 20oz+ of soil through a mouthpiece at one time... should it attempt to "fall out." This is my guess, though I'd really like to give it a shot.
Scott_Tx5 years ago
I was going to try doing this this summer using an old hanging flower pot with a hole in the bottom. The real question is does it work better than ground tomatos?
wushuair (author)  Scott_Tx5 years ago
That's the brilliance of this project: It only really takes no more than an hour to construct and plant. Meanwhile, you could also plant a ground based tomato plant and compare the fruits of your labor. My guess is that this method works better because the roots are more open to aeration as they're growing upwards. In addition the tomatoes are exposed to more sunlight. And when adding fertilizer to the system, the roots directly get the nutrients from the tips of the roots, instead of waiting for trickle downed nutrients. ANNDD, there's little to no runoff if you do add fertilizer.