Intro: Super-Sized Upside-Down Planter
Everybody's seen the Topsy-Turvey Tomato planter on TV or at Wal-Mart but why buy when you can build. I along with a lot of you have seen upside-down planters made from 2-liter bottles but they have a couple of flaws. First of all they aren't very sturdy, in windy conditions they can blow around or the plastic itself can break or tear under the weight of the plant. Secondly, they are kind of small, which isn't a big deal if you're growing small tomatoes, chiles or something else that doesn't grow massive. But what if you want massive, In a smaller container you'll get root-lock early on and the plants growth will be stunted. What if you want to grow giant Beefsteak tomatoes or bushels of cucumbers. That's where this planter comes in. I've utilized a 5 gallon water dispenser jug and 12 feet of old plastic coated clothesline for the construction.
I got this jug from a friends office, it had a crack in it. Once these bottles have cracks in them they are worthless as water dispensers and some places will just throw them away. You can probably find some at small offices or even if you ask you local water distributer (culligan, etc.). The clothesline I just had lying around because it's just one of those things that are just handy to keep around.
Step 1: Section the Bottle
I used 3/4" masking tape to mark off a cut-line along the last clear section. This leaves a lip for the "lid" to grab hold of. Many of the planters I've seen people make don't have any form of lid so they are more prone to evaporative loss.
I used a metal cutting band saw but you can use a hacksaw, snips or a strong pair of scissors.
Step 2: Two Parts
You should now have 2 parts a lid and a planter. Make sure you sand the edges that you cut so there aren't any burrs.
Step 3: Fit the Lid
Test fit the lid to make sure it fits over the base. It should fit snugly without needing to be forced. If it does have to be forced cut a little more off of the edge of the lid until it fits.
Step 4: Drill, Baby, Drill
Now drill 8 holes, 4 into the base and a corresponding hole that lines up just below the rib in the planter.
Step 5: Tie It Up
Now use the clothesline (or whatever you've decided to use, just make sure it can withstand the weight of the plant and the wet soil, so, medium duty nylon rope would work or even a light duty chain) to lace through the hole so you have 2 loops coming out of the top. This will keep the top from coming off but still allows you to lift it for watering. I joined the 2 loose ends with several tie-wraps on the side so it wasn't under as much stress as it would be if it was butted in the loop. This gave me loops about 3' long (you can adjust the length to fit your application.
Before anybody starts flaming me or calling the cops, the roadsigns in the background were all legally obtained. The state of Missouri switched to aluminum signs and all of the old steel signs went to scrap.
Step 6: Plant Your...uh...plant
This is the tricky part, trying to get the plant through the hole without damaging it. First of all make sure the plant is dry. Wet leaves will stick to the plastic. Next, wrap your hand around the base of the plant like your, well, you know, and slowly twist the base of the plant with the other hand and pull the plant through your wrapped hand. Now use a piece of paper (wax paper preferably but not mandatory) and wrap around the plant in the same direction you just coaxed the leaves and stick the plant through from the inside of the jug. Gently add soil to fill the rest of the jug. Do not water it just yet.
Step 7: Just Hanging Around
Hang your plant in a suitable spot and make sure what your hanging it to can support the weight. Now water your plant. It might take a couple of waterings to completely saturate the soil. Remember, the soil will settle after you've watered it a couple of times so you may need to add some more.