There are many items out on the market now that aid in the growing of tomatoes upside down. Three years ago when we set up our garden, they were few and far between and expensive! So we did what we are good at: we improvised. We were among the first in our area to experiment with this new technique in gardening. As I've mentioned before, we live in a rural, agricultural area of the country. I was amused the first couple of years that we grew tomatoes upside down as we had folks that had been gardening for more years than we've been alive, that would drive by our garden just to see how our tomatoes were doing. They were keeping tabs to see if this "grow tomatoes upside down" project was going to work for those crazy kids. Well it did work for us and we've stuck to it. (Minus horrible blight that hit our whole area last year). We even had someone stop when we were out in the garden this spring and asked if we were going to do it again this year. Ah, small town community - makes me chuckle!
For our tomatoes, we started with four "tomato trees". Large poles with a 2"x4" perpendicular structure on the top. We hang a bucket off of each arm and the plants will skirt along the bottom of the bucket and then begin to grow downwards once they reach the edge.
After a minor setback the first year when one of the "trees" collapsed we modified two of the trees into a trough. There are holes drilled in the board that that is the bottom and the plants grow out of there.
From our experience we found that cleaning out and reusing large buckets from laundry detergent is better than the buckets sold at big-box home improvement stores as the reused buckets are intended to carry the necessary weight. We had handles fail on the others which lead to the collapse of one of the "trees".
I love that there is no weeding, no staking of plants, tying up vines or trying to keep fruit off the ground. On the rare occasion that a tomato is ripe enough to drop, it usually lands safely in unmowed grass as we will stop mowing under the plants once they get closer to the ground.
I've written more about growing upside down tomatoes here. Check it out! If you're new to ThrivingMama, you can click the 2010 Garden category below to see what else has been going on in my veggie garden this year.
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