Intro: Make Virtually Free Hanging Planters/Upside Down Tomatoes
Using a technique I learned several years ago, this instructable shows how to make almost free hanging planters. I wanted to try the upside down technique for tomatoes that seem to be the rage this year. There are many instructables on this aspect, of course, so I decided to slant this tutorial in the direction of nearly free planters. I use small baskets here, but you can use the large clothes basket with a larger trash bag as a liner. Don't plan on hanging these. So for apartment dwellers, or anyone with limited space, you can have a garden with as many varieties of plants as you have room for.
Step 1: Materials Needed/used:
For the planters used in this instructable, I selected the white basket type that I purchased at the dollar store. Then I needed one plastic bag that we all have too many of, and a few pieces of chain, a few s hooks, and a chain link.
Step 2: Cut a Hole in the Plastic Bag and Basket
See picture. The hole is cut so that it is in the center of the basket when pressed into place. Through this hole I will insert the tomato plants that I bought for this purpose. I forgot to take a picture of the hole I made in the bottom...I just used a chisel, placed the basket on a piece of 2x4, and gently cut a hole about 1 and 1/2 inch in diameter.
Step 3: Press Tomato Plant Through Hole
My plants came in jiffy pots, so I just needed to trim the excess material off, gently force the plant through the holes in the basket and liner, respectively. When in place, I added potting soil around the root ball so as to anchor the plant in place, and fill up the basket. It helped when doing this to place the basket on top of a coffee can, with the plant hanging down without being crushed or damaged as I filled the basket.
Step 4: Drill Holes in Rim of Basket
Holes are drilled in the rim so that an "S" hook can be inserted in the hole and be used to suspend the basket from the support piece. I made holes for three chain/hooks so that the basket is evenly suspended when hung up on the support post.
Step 5: Hang Baskets on Support
Ready to hang: I have a support made out of a 4x4 placed in concrete. I use these every year for various hanging planters, containing annuals of varying varieties. This year, of course, for this post, I chose to try the upside down tomato gig. I wanted to see if indeed there is any increase in production, if there is protection from the insects normally associated with tomatoes, and if it is practical at all. Time will tell.
Step 6: July 6 Update!
Here is the upside down basket of tomatoes this date. My conclusions: Tomatoes are great. I think this is a successful experiment, and was fun doing. However, overall, I feel that any added benefits from this method are outweighed by just a few disadvantages. 1: since the root ball is contained in such a small area, more often watering was required. 2. Eventually, the weight of the plant and fruit combined might cause the whole thing to crash to the ground. 3. Not that esthetically pleasing. 4. the old "in the ground" method has been around a lot longer, and with a little care, always works! What do you think? Cman