Picture of how to plant hanging upsidedown tomatoes
Using hanging baskets instead of 5 gallon buckets, I will show you how to grow a hanging tomato plant. There are many instructions online to make hanging tomato plants out of 5 gallon buckets, but I think they are ugly (no offense meant). I had tomatoes in my ground garden last year, but i had a very hard time with tomato bugs. I also had cut throat bugs too. The best solution I could think of was to hand them :)

Step 1: Materials needed

Picture of Materials needed
You will need the following materials:
-hanging coco basket with a hole in the bottom of the frame
-dirt (more on this later) I used peat moss, manure, and vermiculite
-something to hang it from (I used a Shepard's hook)
-and a tomato plant!!!!

The plant needs to be a baby plant, not one of those huge 1 gallon bucket plants.

Hi Zoe

Thank you for useful article. Tomato juice is my favorite drink and I have tried to plant a small garden of tomatoes. But this tomato juice is not sweet. As you know, I live in Vietnam, the high temperature of 30 to 40 degrees. Please give me some tips for growing tomatoes in this temperature.

MMZ7 years ago
Other than space-saving (and avoiding land-based bugs), what is the advantage of growing the tomato plants upside-down? Also, have you had difficulty with any tomatoes falling off the plant as the ripen and gain weight? Also, what types of tomato plants are especially or not good (i.e., climbing vs. bush/patio types). Thanks, MMZ
Slezridr MMZ6 years ago
MMZ and others: Yes, it is my understanding that bush (determinate) tomato plants are better suited for upside down planting than vining (indeterminate) tomatoes. The reason being that vining tomatoes put more energy into growing plant than fruit and will spread as far as possible. Hence, if your planter is say, four feet off the ground and the plant wants to grow twenty feet, you will be walking on your plants on the ground, patio unless you continually raise the planter to accommodate. Haven't tried this myself yet, just my 2c.
Dilisana Slezridr2 months ago
I'm going to try wiring a cage to the planter which would be easy to do since it's also made of wire. First if you're worried about the looks, I would spray paint the cage to match the planter. After it dries fit it under the planter and bend up the ends. Next I would add my plant, soil etc. This way as the plant grows you can manipulate the branches through the cage so it doesn't grow so wild looking. Most importantly, it will stabilize the plant. Also, it would help when planting because the tomato plant wouldn't get smashed. Later as the plant grows you can manipulate the branches through the cage wires. Then you'll be able to prune the plant as needed so it doesn't waste its energy growing the plant instead of growing the fruit.
I always prune my vining (indeterminate) plants that are planted inground too. This is just my idea. When I do it I can post photos.
I agree with goatgirly and slezridr, they are better in the ground. Since I live in an upstairs apartment, I got Early Girl, which is shade tolerant. I found a spot where the plant can hang out of the way and found it gets more sun on my porch than the last one I grew in a bucket. I will send pics if/when it succeeds.
goatgirly MMZ6 years ago
I don't really think it works. It looks cool and maybe it keeps the fruit from rotting but, the planter shades the plant too much and any fertilizer just runs down when you water it and can cause the poisonous fertilizer to get on your tomato. Even if you wash it the fertilizer could still be there. It's not really a good idea for anyone unless you live in an apartment and just want to grow it on your porch. If you can grow it in the ground you should.
actually, it does work! You need full sun like you would with a normally planted tomato. I just didn't over water or over fertilize and my kids loved eating cherry tomatoes all summer long.
Alright, maybe it works for other people but i planted 5 tomato plants in the ground last year and was OVERRUN with tomatoes so, I'm not changing. I canned them, used them for chili sauce and soups, froze them, gave them away, put them in salads and sandwhiches, and even entered some in the fair.
Broom goatgirly3 years ago
No one is asking you to change. Why are you asking others to do so?
One vote for growing upside down is that the plant gets to spend more of its energy on growing tomatoes than growing strong to hold itself upright
Broom goatgirly3 years ago
OK, here's a rebuttal.

1. You "think" it doesn't really work. The author is proving it *does* work. You're wrong.

2. The leaves will grow to reach more light. At first they'll have direct light until late morning and after early afternoon, but will quickly grow out to follow the light, and have it day-long.

3. Fertilizer isn't a deadly, deadly poison.

4. If fertilizer runs down when you water it, it's highly water-soluble, and washes off easily.

5. If fertilizer runs down when you water it, you're overwatering.

6. "You should" is a controlling statement. Don't be like that.
Works nice..Space issue....Ground is good..or hanging..poisonous...Well what do you grow it in? that's your choice=)

alana MMZ4 years ago
this method stops the bunnies from eating them.
looks cool...if they fall off too ripe...compost
kricketone MMZ6 years ago
No hoeing and easy to keep weeds out.
DirCat MMZ7 years ago
I've heard that it helps also because you don't have to worry about supporting them with cages and the like.
PurpleKat3 years ago
I put up two of these this year. I'd always loved the idea of upside down tomatoes, but the 'topsy turvy' thing is so ugly. The planters that you recommended were also cheaper. I planted strawberries on top.

Thanks for the instructable! I'm looking forward to my tomatoes, french zucchinis, and strawberries.
Uncle Kudzu6 years ago
darn, i thought i invented this :-(

oh, well, i can report success with this method, having planted a 12" basket with a couple of SunGold cherry tomatoes poking through on opposite lower sides of the cocoa liner, with marigolds and basil on top. next time i'll limit it to one tomato plant per basket, but yes, my plants have done very well so far this summer, with no problems from birds or bugs. i pruned them back and fertilized them and am looking forward to more delicious little tomatoes. i will definitely do this again.

one observation: it's amazing how determined the plants are to grow up , reaching for the sun! my plants developed hellaciously strong stems using this method.

another observation: there were too many plants in my basket competing for nutrients: 3 marigolds, a bushy globe basil, and two vigorous, indeterminate tomato plants. next basket will have fewer plants.
But I found out it is very important to have a plant on top to keep moisture in. I could NOT keep mine watered and it died, giving all of 2 Early Girls. I don't have enough sun on the top part to keep any plants growing, and added mulch too late, when the plant was already withering, so this may work if done early enough. *cries over my little plant*
Broom hishealer3 years ago
Thanks for the warning.
for my next one, i'll limit the 12" basket to one tomato plant with one globe basil on top. over the last couple of years it seems when i plant basil with my tomatoes there's no problem with hornworms; that could just be coincidence, who knows? now, maybe if i knew how to fertilize for all the stuff that's in my current basket it could better sustain itself. it sure looks nice with all those marigolds and basil on top.
codongolev6 years ago
better than those hideous green cylinders they sell on tv that are supposed to blend in with your garden somehow. maybe people these days grow green cylinders, I dunno.
redsauce6 years ago
Great idea, though I had a little bit of an experience with it that I'll relate. I did this using a double-hook 'shepherd's crook' design that I purchased from Home Depot. Got home, filled up the 12 inch baskets (one for each side) and the hook immediately bent over pretty far. The baskets were way too heavy (didn't think of that), but I luckily had a perfectly sized clothes-line setup so have used that. Just be careful and know how heavy these are and how bad the basic shepherd's crook is for a two basket setup (or at least the one I bought was.)
My shepherd hooks bent, too. My son placed the brace near the concrete patio and it held better. I also took the tree support that was no longer needed for the tree and used it on the bottom of the pole.
And here's the picture of the clothesline set-up I have now.
suenami4 years ago
Is it because we don't have opposable thumbs?
I've been wanting to grow tomatoes upside down so I'm glad I've found this. I'm sure those green topsy turvy tomato planters do a great job but they are an eye sore. That's a huge problem for those who live in a condo, like myself, and my neighbor was asked to remove hers because of it.
I know that this reply is months after your comment - but I hoped it would make it's way to you anyway. I, myself, have been dreaming of planting tomatos (and other things) upside down for a while now. I had a really difficult time obtaining an upside planter - I first got an off brand from Big Lots with an even louder print than the topsy turvy. Anyway, I did finally find a wide array of Topsy Turvys at my local Home Depot - they even had a hose attachment bell shaped wand, to easily water your upside down plant.

Like you, I've had the same concerns in terms of whether or not the apartment management where I live was going to have a problem with the design on the planter (too bright, etc.). They're pretty layed back here, but still it's a concern. In addition, some of the Topsy Turvy (and knock-offs) seem somewhat flimsy and I wondered whether or not they were going to make it through a second season or if the roots might be able to grow right through them. At $10 a pop for the actual Topsy Turvy - this is a valid concern.

I wanted to let you know about an online company, Gardener's Supply (www.gardeners.com) that has a really great upside down system (Revolution Planters) as well as numerous wholistic, fabulous looking planting/gardening aids (for both full garden growers and patio growers).

The upside down planters offered by Gardener's supply have several features, including a way to zip and unzip (helpful during planting process), steel wire cages that the bag sits in, and a dark green attractive growing bag. Currently, the Revolution Planters are on sale at a 'Buy One, Get One' price - so you get two of these very sturdy planters for $14.99. I haven't researched it fully, but these are so sturdy that I'm sure you could problaby get at least two years out of them.They also have an 'Aquascale' that you can purchase separately to help you gauge how much to water your tomato (an important concern with any hanging planter).

Anyway . . . for this year I have decided to return my unused Topsy Turvy and to do a lot of research towards getting a more attractive and functional system for next year. I am physically disabled with mobility impairments and the poor little tomato plant didn't fare well with my delays in getting it repotted (I had planned on planting it into a topsy turvy). It seems to have the early blight as all the leaves have darkened and the few flower buds are also very dark. Sorry little tomato :-(.

I have enough to do right now anyway. I would like to research how to grow Campari Tomatos in an upside planter for next year, as they are my favorite tomato. I may go ahead and get the Gardener's Supply system - while it's on sale - and that way I'll be all ready for early Spring next year. Best of luck on your upside down tomato venture and on all of your gardening forays :-).
mcaliber.504 years ago
how would gender effect the difficulty of this exactly?
Nick_Zouein4 years ago
What to do with the roots when they start growing out of the soil ?
Hi,I bought 4 planters on sale for $3.99 each and have set them up using the advice given here. I'm not sure I've got the soil mix right, but, only time will tell. I used newspaper to "anchor" the plant inside the "x" to try and insure the plant wouldn't fall out. I'm currently using plastic wrap to create a green house on the top to try and keep moisture in, but the herb/flower idea sounds great. I have been lucky so far this season that I have been able to remove the wrap when it was raining and putting it back after it stopped. When I picked the plants up at the green house I grabbed a summer squash plant by mistake and decided to plant it like the rest as I figured I had nothing to lose. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for all the good ideas.
my friend and i used this method and it. worked. amazingly! it was cheap, very quick and has brightened up our backyard significantly. thank you!
appieh585 years ago

This is a great tip.
I found a video about upside down tomatoes.
You can watch it on my website. Its only a few minutes and very instructable.

zenilorac5 years ago
gardening tip- push the plants through leaf-first, not root first as  plants with damaged leaves will still grow,  damage roots however may kill the plant.

teraharvey5 years ago
I have been trying to grow tomatoes upside down for the last 3 years and have gotten a bit better each year but I would seem to have problems with drying out and blight. Last year another gardener told me about making sure there was alot of vermiculite at the top of the bucket (at the top when upside down) -this is to keep the moisture where the drinking roots of the tomato tend to be - they are generally deeper when grown the right way up but at the top of the upside down planter.

So I would stress the importance of point 6 - mixing the compost with vermiculite. This tip really seemd to bring my crop on last season. This site I found has a couple of informative articles on this whole subject of growing tomatoes upside down - http://www.practicalhomeandgarden.com/the-upside-down-tomato-garden
I would just like to add that horticultural vermiculite can be difficult to find in many locations.  If you can not find horticultural vermiculite, pearlite is easier to find and performs the same basic function, though the vermiculite does it better in my opinion.  Keep in mind that the peat moss also helps with moisture balance.

I was determined to use the SFG mix in my gardening and it took me three years to get a local lawn and garden shop to carry it in the bulk size and now the local Lowes carries the small bags that would be sufficient for a hanging planter. 

Granted, I am just trying this out this year, but one thing that I do really well is researching something before I do it.  I have seen a lot of sites that, when using a 5 gal bucket, suggest leaving the lid on the top, and cutting a hole in it.  Until I saw all the posts about the dirt drying out, I couldn't figure out what that was for.  I would imagine that even with a regular basket, you could still put a lid or cover on it with a hole for watering on top. 
I love this concept and hope to implement it this year. For the person who wanted a solution for what to do about water while away...I think one could prop a soda bottle with tiny holes in it to "self" water a bit while away for a couple of days maybe??? For the people concerned about fertilizer dripping on the plant... use organic types like worm poo (okay okay...castings!) or compost tea. You can even spray either on the plants. I've heard that the worm castings even provide some deterrent to pests. Google and you'll find plenty of advice on how to "make" your own.
marysaint5 years ago
I just wanted to let you know how successful we were - actually my husband.  We live in Florida and he started this in August, our hottest month.  He is now going through his 3rd yield and it appears that there is another one coming.  He did have to hang it from the overhang because the shepherd's hook wasn't strong enough.  He waters them 2 times a day and fertilizes them regularly also.  He has had plenty to share with family and friends.  So with all that...Thank you. 
samg19656 years ago
I am glad I found this!!! I have no gardening experience, but want to start a small garden on my deck. I was considering the very same method for hanging tomatoes. I agree that this is more decorative that the Topsy Turvy. I do have three questions.... 1)What is the minimum basket size required to adequately soil the root system? I've seen these baskets in 12", 14", 16", etc.... I have space limitations so the smaller the better, however, I want them to be productive. 2)Do standard tomatoes require larger basket capacity than cherry tomatoes? 3)I also thought it might be decorative to plant basil out of the top of the basket while the tomatoes hang thru the bottom. Is this advisable or will the roots choke one another??? Thanks for the ideas and feedback!!!
patchouli716 years ago
I hate to say this, but the Topsy Turvy product is only about ten dollars. Not much of an investment. Unless you're attempting to re purpose some materials you have laying around, the by all means do it. I have one Topsy Turvy and four hanging baskets currently growing and have to admit that TT gets the best grade!
The TT might work better, but I think this method (especially with the herb garden on top) is much more decorative.
I was wondering if you ended up having enough dirt for roots in the end. What size hanging planter did you use? What is the purpose of planting the peas - what is the benefit to the tomato plants? Thanks!
I think I'll do this with basil plants on top. They do add to the taste of the tomatoes and both take the same fertilizer.
I think a mini herb garden on top sounds good.
That's what we did with our upside down tomato basket. In the first few weeks the herbs fleshed out great and filled the basket on top helping to retain the moisture in the soil and the tomato grew well too until the "vacation drought of '06" wiped them out. We had to be away for a week and my plants suffered badly from no water. (couldn't find a plant sitter). We have now invested in a drip system but have yet to try the upside down plants again.
My basket from '06.
zoe_roses (author)  luv2homestead6 years ago
The peas were to help keep the water from evaporating, and to help produce somehting faster fromt eh basket, the peas died due to heat before the tomato plants started producing. There was enough soil, but it was hard to keep the soil moist enough. I live in Texas, where it is very hot in the summer.
The peas are what are called nitrogen fixers. Basically, the provide fertilizer for the tomatoes.
mpgs3247 years ago
I would like to know why you planted peas at the top to "help it along"? What kind of peas? I am not a gardener so please don't think this is a silly question.
Any kind of peas that you think would be nice, you really can't mess it up. Peas are legumes and legumes have a handy way of increasing the nitrogen content in the soil they grow in. Which is why they are companion plants in many organic gardening situations- You get to eat the peas and increase your soil's nitrogen at the same time.
zoe_roses (author)  ikaruseijin7 years ago
Actually I planted Peas to try and help prevent water evaporation, it gets very hot here. It is cool now and It will not get very hot before the peas die off, but It might help.
Try lining your coco liner with a plastic shopping bag(like an old wal-mart bag) and trim off excess. A thin layer of wood chips or other mulch on top will slow evaporation. Try Marigolds as companion plants - tomatoes love 'em and bugs hate 'em,
you could also put in beans and I hear basil grows well with tomatoes as well so maybe one or a mixture of these things but be sure that you get rid of the plants before the tomatoes tangle with them too much.
Parsley and basil are both good companion herbs for tomatoes, so you might try planting these on top. Also, tomatoes actually ripen best when they are lightly shaded by their own leaves.
I have no probs with growing the toms in baskets but was just wondering what time of day is best to water them. I hear so many wives tales and i yearn the truth. Any takers. :)
Early is best. to much water can encorage mold and fungus thru the night
deadeye11226 years ago
tomatoes and peppers want to grow up. will they eventually go down from weight and gravity or should I assist them with a weight? first time I've tried this. seems the hanging plants are grow faster and are stocker than the ground plants. thanks for your info.
aborrello6 years ago
I think yours are the best looking of all the methods I have looked at. I am trying this out for the first time and did not like the looks of the commercial planters. Yours are very decorative! Thank you very much for the information and pics!
jennsaid6 years ago
I have tried this and it works well. It also works with bell peppers.
Utahtabby6 years ago
You can just plant them upright in a hanging bucket and let them spill out over the edges. Tomatoes are VINES and prefer to lay on the ground or hang down instead of being forced upright, also you can prune off the ends if they get too long. That will force them to put more effort into growing the tomato fruit itself = bigger fruit.
Just make sure bucket has enough drainage holes and make sure you are hanging in them in bright sunlight and watering every day. And a 5 gallon bucket of dirt, plant and water could weigh 50 pounds or so, so hang them using strong eyebolts and a strong support rafter or whatever. Vegetable plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day to bear fruit (tomatoes, peppers, etc). Also use a food-safe bucket, not one that held motor oil, etc! And fertilizer can be organic or artificial but don't get the crazy idea that fertilizer is poisonous! Pesticides and herbicides are. If you like natural things, use natural organic fertilizers -- but even fish emulsion can have mercury and steer manure can be from cattle fed bizarre stuff and shot full of hormones, so good luck finding actual completely 'natural' fertilizer.
As for using a nice organic fertilizer; start a vermiculite system and use the juice that forms in the bottom (mixed 1:20+ with water) and water occasionally. Its the best fertilizer I've found,and you know whats in it!
Could this put excessive strain on the base of the plant when it starts to fruit, as the plant will grow upwards? Perhaps you would need to use some sort of stake, or prop, to support them, as you would with the conventional method of growing them.
Thats what is happening to mine already. They seem to have a "mind" of their own and insist on growing right-side up. What gives? Bad tomato plants...
All plants will grow towards the sun, thus, they are supposed to do that.
ezchuck7 years ago
I have a 5 gallon bucket with a tomato plant in it. It does not seem to be doing so well, I water it and hve it in mirical grow potting mix, and on my patio where it gets sun. The only thing I did not do is to build up the root ball from the bottom of the bucket. Should I give more time?
I had a similar issue last season. trying to keep watering is so critical, especially as it begins to bear fruit. I would get black spots on the tomatos. These from either: 1. lack of watering (timely) and the plant feeding off the fruit 2. over watering Most for purchase ones I have looked at includes some sort of reservoir at the top of the bucket. I would like to find a DYI solution for this. The other is to add something like Soil Moist to balance out the soil conditions between waterings. I tried to just stick in 20oz soda bottles. but it didn't alway leech readily enough. These were e
Black spots on the tomatoes could be blossom end rot and it is due to a calcium deficiency. It usually occurs from sporadic watering, the plant drying out and then getting soaked. It can be treated with a calcium spray or even a milk spray (google for more info), you can also try to prevent it by adding crushed egg shells to the soil.
make sure your bucket has holes, dont over water, I would add compost preferably vermi compost, maybe just as a top dressing (then your rootball would have more room too). Hard to say w/out seeing your plant. good luck
LadyHvnly6 years ago
by growing upside down, are the worms less likely to plant themselves on the plant? THE HORN WORMS ATE MINE LAST YEAR!! the ate it overnite!!! i really like your description and instructions.. will give it a shot this year along with my square foot gardening also.. which i love doing.. any updated pics?
Can I plant on the top like a flower or something for color? I'm going to get this ready now and my husband is so excited. This beats ordering somehting for 9.99 or 19.95.
I too would like to see a couple of updated pics with the plant hanging. I think it would help you get more visitors if you updated the main image to include the plant and not just the finished product.
awang86 years ago
I was just wondering, wouldn't the plant try to grow upwards, thus creating a lot of strain? Leaves will ALWAYS grow towards the sun.
halolord6 years ago
Just wondering Would the plant get enough sunlight. Wouldn't the basket over shade it?
pcfrost2327 years ago
I'm guessing the fence is supporting some of the weight and these may not bend because of that.
cd41 pcfrost2326 years ago
Sheperd's Hooks are hard to bend under the weight of a pant, unless you somehow have a giant plant, then i suggest you start trimingf it with hedge clippers.
Blackbirrd6 years ago
I love the idea of cocoa fiber instead of 5-gallon buckets, much more attractive! I work in a garden center and customers constantly ask for buckets to start their upside down tomato plants for the season. Regarding LadyHvnly's pest problem, you may want to check and apply an organic insecticidal soap at first sight. And don't forget your local county extension office full of Master Gardeners. Free help and advice on all sorts of garden, composting and pruning techniques.
This is a perfect project/lesson to do with my last child,soon to leave home.
kagera6 years ago
It would be very easy to set this up to self water. all you would really need is a container for water, a pump and tubes, and i timer. I plan to do just that when try this this this spring!
grannycat076 years ago
This is timely, because 1) I just received a plant catalogue that suggests certain cherry tomato plants as suitable for this (I live in France, so the names won't match for you, but a good nursery will advise you), and 2) I just bought some small tastey variety of strawberry plants, couldn't get the trailer-type, but planted around the bottom-sides, with one on top, should work well, and foil the snails!
bobbeth66 years ago
Having been called a disgusting tub of goo, and never an ugly five gallon bucket, I thus take no offense to the latter which you referenced. No offense taken. I love your instructable and will give it a try. Would this method work for vining beansplants? This seems a likely good choice as an alternative crop.
:D This sounds so cool! Especially the planting the peas on top thing. ...it would've been nice if you could show us a picture of how the plants looked...more grown up(?)
Gangie6 years ago
My first go! I planted my USD toms in plastic buckets! Lid 'on' of course, to hold the soil in when inverting bucket for planting. A Stanley knife is perfect for cutting your hole, about 80 ml round (depending on the size of you seedling). Plant seedling as normal, and water through hole. Leave this way up until seedling has doubled in size and the root system is firmly established, then turn it up for hanging using the bucket's own handle! Lid is great to retain moisture or remove when raining or watering/feeding. I can email pics if anyone wishes. Also would welcome any suggestions to improve my system. Cheers Gangie.
Bullseye546 years ago
Hi. I came across your site while looking for info regarding hanging tomatoes. I just received a hanging kit for Christmas from a relative and I figure it probably cost them about $30.00. Well, after I put it up I got to thinkin’ that I could make one a lot cheaper. I went and purchased two reusable grocery sacks (the material is identical to the store bought kit) for a $1.00 apiece. Then I bought a 55 quart bag of Lamberts potting soil for $10.00. Throw in two Home Depot five gallon bucket lids at $1.00 each and two Celebrity tomato plant starters at $1.25 each. Toss in a couple of scoops of Osmocote that I had layin’ around and that’s it. Total cost for the two, $16.50. Below is a link to a video of my garden and the hanging tomatoes. I live in sunny south Florida so I start my garden around November when the threat of hurricanes has passed. I was gonna make a video of me making the homemade kits but I probably would have gotten the camera all dirty, haha. Hope you enjoy.


klee27x6 years ago
I'm genuinely curious why you can't plant the seedlings right side up. Without any staking, wouldn't the plant then "spill over" the sides and grow downward, reaping all the benefits of a hanging plant with some obvious advantages?
I found the coconut baskets at Dollar Tree stores - $1 for the coconut liner-thingy, and $1 for the wire hanging basket. They are the 12" size. Should be big enough for 1 tomato on bottom, herbs on top.
I tried this, but mine didn't turn out so hot....didn't seem to be deep enough for a good root system. :( i think i may try some 5 gallon buckets.
pcfrost2327 years ago
I really like this idea and another one I saw online where you use a hard plastic hanging pot and drill a bigger hole in the bottom for the plant then use weed barrier to keep the dirt in. Looks easy either way. Right now I have two upsidedown hanging planters that I purchased. They're light green with dark green pattern and work very well except they're only going to last one year. Paid about $25 for 2 and I hope they don't fall apart and drop my really good crop of Early Girls and Sweet 100s. The plants nearly touch the ground from about 5ft and NO STAKING!! It's fantastic if they weren't ruined in one year. The plastic rotted in just a couple of months and ripping all the way around. I'm afraid they'll drop the tomato plants on the patio and smash them. I'm going to replace them with something more reusable AND less expensive.
pechka7 years ago
Thank you for this! The fair sells these for about $20 each----NOT in my budget. My reason for wanting to grow things upside down is gophers. They don't eat tomatoes, but they eat most other things here. It feels silly to resort to contaner gardening with the enormous garden, but I'm ready.
Have you tried chicken wire buried under your garden to stop the gophers?
cneubauer7 years ago
Saw in a book somewhere planting as you did but using a board to keep dirt in and letting tomatoes grow vertically for a couple weeks to develop the root system....then inverting and hanging and then planting marigolds in the top.
Could/would you post some pictures with more developed plants?
momtohanna7 years ago
are you going to leave your planter on this sheperd's hook? do you think it's going to be too heavy? I am thinking about using your method for cucumbers. I have a topsy turvy type planter for my tomatoes. It has a water reservoir in the top with a wick to water, and it completely bends the sheperd's hook. What do you think? Great explanation. Thanks.
leBeau7 years ago
This looks nice, it would be nice to see a follow-up photo of a full grown plant
yea i agree, wtf? send some updates meng
I have a drip line on my porch. I think a 1/4 inch soaker hose coiled in the basket should solve the drying problem.
martyb7 years ago
blodefood7 years ago
I have seen this type of hanging garden before using buckets or 2L pop bottles. But these look quite elegant!
ravenc837 years ago
I am doing this method right now. it's important to note that you should have at least 2 tomato plants for pollination, otherwise you'll end up with one pitiful tomato like i did last year. adding a 2nd crop on the top of the baskets is helpful for watter retention and kinda makes it all look nice. I currently have 2 beefsteak tomato plants with compact cucumber on top. and make sure to hang on a good nail or hook, depending on which variety of tomatoes the basket may get a little heavy.
dbjccomfrey7 years ago
I just bought 2 self-watering upside down planters for tomatoes to try this method this year. I'm also going to plant one tomato in the cocoa hanging basket upside down and one planted normal on top hanging down, and see which ones do best.They'll all be the same variety. We are also going to make one of these earth boxes soon from a tote. I just brought in my milk jugs and the foam floral stuff to make the other containers I see here. What a good site and useful info with alot of talented creative people. Thank goodness we finally built the garden shed- as I like to collect recycables-milk jugs-coffee cans etc.,On our property- we do have a "Mantis"- excellant product- but go with raised beds, and try not to till too much. I use large amounts of grass clippings for mixing in the beds & mulch and compost,but have refrained from using the shredded paper because of the inks. Soaker hoses-rain barrels- drip irrigation- self-watering jugs, and drought-hardy plants keep us busy. I think the self- watering containers are a great idea & do an excellant job. I'll have to look at the design of the new tomato containers to see if I can re-create the same effect on the cocoa planters, should be interesting anyways!
Keyth7 years ago
I have a question: How heavy do these things get? Thanks.
urbanite7 years ago
I am interested in trying this method, and started pricing out this type of hanging basket. They come in a lot of different sizes. Which size is best? They ranged from 12" to 24". I have a 12" budget, but I'm sure that a larger size would be beneficial to the plant.
Jural urbanite7 years ago
I just bought some of these at WalMart for less that five dollars each. They were 14".
ridenrodeo7 years ago
I am thinking about tring a few plants upside down this year and I am wondering if I am going to have trouble I plant every year and I have plants that are between 10 and 12 foot tall and they produse well. I want to use the soil I plant in everry year. Does this mean I am going to have to hang them 14 to 15 feet from the ground. If so I dont know If I want to try it or not do you have any advice for a first timer on the upside down tomatoes. Thanks for your Time
If you have something tall enough you could just use a pulley and rope and hoist them up as they grow.
I would think that planting companion plants would definitely help the yield of the tomatos. Also You'd have to look at where you're hanging the plants. If it's on a porch, you're possibly sheltering it from the sun that it needs to produce it's own food, reducing the overall yield of the plant. I think I'll be trying this summer!
wocket7 years ago
Cool idea. I'd love to see some update pics when they get growing!
dufflight7 years ago
When the plant gets big does it just fall out of the bottom? I've grown a lot of tomatos and if you put it in the top of the pot without staking it will grow over the side and hang without the risk of it falling out.
jaz467 years ago
are there any types of tom. plants better that other for upside down gardening? How far apart from each container do you hang the plant? what about other plants? Strawberries? Peppers? Lettuce?? I am going to try this this year. I am concerned about the yield tho. I have read its better than the ground method and then hread the opposite. hmmmmm
ChristianR7 years ago
Great idea! Do you see any reason why this would not work with cucumbers as well? I'm also growing pumpkins... but these would require a very strong hook to hang them... ;-)
I think this would work well for cucumbers though it may produce some odd, gourd-shaped fruit. I remember growing water melons which decided to take over my chain-link fence and ended up producing gourd-shaped water melons.
caveman427 years ago
I've used a topsy-turveytopsy-turvey I was given for christmas a few years ago. My growing was only impeded by the nasty fact that I have a north facing growing area, so it didn't get enough sun. It still produced more that I thought that I could have from my back porch. I think that the biggest difference is depth. It seems to me that the biggest differences in the topsey turvey approach and the hanging planter above is that the topsey turvey is taller and capped at the end to prevent direct sunlight, reducing evaporation and giving the plant a deeper root system.
I hope your luck is better than mine. I did this last year using a large colander & soil. I watered it the same amount as as identical plants in my raised bed garden which as every other day. It did not dry out. The upside-down one produced exactly 3 tomatoes whereas the ones in the soil conventionally planted produced 10-12 apiece over the season.
You can't really compare the container grown tomatoes with the ones grown in the ground. The container grown tomato plant has a limited root system therefore it will automatically produce fewer tomatoes than one planted in the ground. The same happens to flowering plants: container plants are smaller and produce fewer flowers than the same ones planted in the ground.
Sure I can. The only reason I tried this to begin with was that the yields are supposed to be comparable, upside-down vs. ground grown. (Google "upside down tomatoes") What is odd though was that my plant grew into a U-shape in that it tried to right itself. All the pictures I've found online show the plant hanging essentially straight down. Maybe there is a type of tomato better suited for this than the ones I had, Early Girl.
I just made this. Instead of using one tomato plant in the bottom I put a total of four, one on each bottom corner of the basket.
bambauer7 years ago
Please add photos later in the growing season to this Instructable. As it stands now, there's no assurance your experiment will actually yield tomatoes. Left us know. Great start!
tallchick07 years ago
Could you grow cucumbers by the same method?
grue7 years ago
umm, whats the purpose of this?
tyeo098 grue7 years ago
Tomatoes need 'help' growing upward, a vine rack and whatnot, so this way, a vine rack is not needed, as the plant will hang down, fed by the force of gravity. I guess it would produce plump(er) tomatoes due to teh effect on gravity and the nutrients in the plant, having a tendency to flow downwards. Instead of being forced up the stalk, they will flow much easier down the stalk, allowing for a healthier plant all around, but like he said, they will dry out faster due to this effect. Lol tomatology.
Plant rely on capillary action to move fluids (and the nutrients dissolved in them) throughout a plant. Gravity is not a factor. The plants will hang down as they do not have a support structure to grow up. Unfortunately this method will not produce plumper tomatoes.
Nicely written. I'll have to try one pot like that this year, and compare it to the trellis aided uprights. One REALLY GOOD method to combat this excess drying.. AND prevent weeds taking over the top(unless you LIKE them there... there are some pretty flowering kinds native to my area, that don't use much water/nutrients, and help stabilize the soil at top too) is to use a nice mulch. I normally plant hot peppers in among the larger tomatoes plants anyhow, so maybe, I'll try those as a top side plant.(nice shallow roots, and they LOVE the hot sun) Don't forget to feed your tomatoes, as appropriate.
SteveGerber7 years ago
What's the advantage of planting the tomatoes through the bottom? Why not just plant them normally in the top of the basket and let them cascade over the top edges of the hanging planter?
Vtraven7 years ago
Wow, this looks so easy and fun! Can't wait to get started. Thank you.
nagutron7 years ago
Lovely Instructable! I hope to see some photos of your tomatoes when it comes time to harvest :)
Yeah, I agree. This looks pretty cool. I want to try it.
Rob K7 years ago
Good inbstructable. How well does this work with watering..daily..weekly? My mom was thinking about somthing like this.
Instead of planting in the top of the basket, try covering with clear plastic to reduce water loss due to evaporation. It would be like an upside down terrarium. Clear trash bags over right side up containers work well for starting seeds and growing herbs and succulents. Just take care not to over water, especially in humid environments so as to avoid disease or infestation. Only works in high sun here on the Gulf coast. Shade makes mildew and mold. Yuck! Great instructable!
bqbowden7 years ago
I tried this two years ago and it did not work well. However I like the way these are done so I may try again this year. One suggestion about watering - buy a water trickle kit. The have small "trickle" attachments which attach to small plastic hoses and will allow you to water each pot from your garden hose. Attach the connector to your hose valve and add a timer to let you water them automatically without you having to remember (or forget like I often do) to water your tomatoes.
GibbonsRock7 years ago
Nice instructible Zoe! It's warming up now and we are looking forward to planting the vegetable garden that will be watered by therunoff generated by daily mistings of our chameleon room. In our last house, we discovered chameleon sewage must be an ideal fertilizer for regular tomatoes and peppers grown the regular way (growing upwards). Our tomatoes were the size of softballs!

This year, in our new house I was thinking of doing hanging tomatoes and I may very well go with your idea! +1!
arnoldt7 years ago
Perfect timing, I was just looking for a way to grow some tomatoes in my yard. Thanks
AndyHope7 years ago
Awesome, my mum has done the same but with strawberries!
fegundez17 years ago
I have orchids and strawberries as well like this.In answer to the cucumber and pumkins the fruit will need some support or it will break the branches.
SWV17877 years ago
does the tomato plant hang strait down when grown or does it bend up to the light?
zoe_roses (author)  SWV17877 years ago
the pictures I have seen the tomato is a buch, some of the ends will bend up, but mostly it just grows down.
I like the idea, but it is not suitable for wetter places, in Scotland you can grow tomatoes outside, but only the hardier types. It would be too wet, I find that the lowest leaves die, which I think means that using the upside down technique would kill the growing. I might try this technique in the greenhouse though.
miah7 years ago
This looks cool and easy. I'm looking to start a garden at my house and don't have alot of sunlit area's on the ground, but can probably grow some tomatoes with this method. Thanks!
Awesome idea! My mom would probably love to try this out, I might show her this, great job!