We’ve recently been hearing good things about growing tomatoes upside down, so we decided to not only investigate but also to have a go.
According to those who have engaged with growing upside down tomatoes, it’s a fun and surprisingly productive way of producing the fruits, where many people have reported higher yields compared to those grown in the more traditional way.
One of the main advantages we can see is that growing tomatoes upside down allows people with no garden, or very limited space to still be able to grow tomatoes. It allows you to take advantage of the airspace that you do have available and also frees up floor space to allow you to grow other things.
The principal is quite simple. You take a bucket or large container, put a 1-2 inch hole in the bottom, Carefully poke a tomato plant through the hole and add soil to the bucket.
In the video below, you can see how to grow tomatoes upside down…
One of the things we have learned about growing tomatoes is to remove the bottom two leaves and to bury the plant deeply so that the bottom two leaf positions are beneath the soil.
From the positions where you removed the two leaves, the plant should go on to produce new shoots that will go on to become feeder roots.
We decided to continue this practice with the upside-down tomatoes.
Then it’s just a case of hanging up and watering.
In our particular case, we have built a wood pergola-style framework for our plants to climb on and to hang the buckets on. If you do not have something to hang your buckets on to, then you will need some kind of a bracket or hook. You need to make sure that whatever you are hanging it on is strong enough to support the weight of not only the bucket full of soil when watered, but also the weight of the tomatoes as they grow, which can reach weights in excess of 50lbs depending on what type of plant you are growing.
Keeping the tomato plants well watered is essential in getting a good crop. the additional air movement around the plants should encourage them to grow better, but it will also encourage the evaporation of the moisture within the pot. If your bucket has a lid, it might be worth experimenting with putting it on.
Personally, we would like to grow some other plants from the top of my buckets – perhaps some marigolds as they make excellent companion plants for tomatoes and help prevent the wrong kinds of bugs from attacking.
One year on…
OK, so this is a little addition we’re making to this page. It’s been a year since we originally wrote this article. At that time, we’d never grown tomatoes upside down before so it was an experiment.
Here we are a year later reporting on what happened.
Well, let me bottom-line this straight away for you; Let’s just say, it was a fun experiment and we’re glad we gave it a go, but we won’t be doing it again anytime soon.
In ALL cases, the tomatoes produced from the upside-down arrangement were not as good or as abundant as the tomatoes grown in the conventional way.
Now it may have been down to a number of factors; perhaps we had the wrong kind of tomato plants, bad positioning, poor bucket capacity or just bad luck, but we did grow several species of tomato plant both conventionally and upside-down, and in ever,y case the conventional ones fared better.
So we can only conclude that growing plants in the way nature didn’t intend them to grow in the first place, will unlikely yield better results than conventional growing.
The only time we might consider growing tomatoes upside down again in the future, would be if the area we have available to grow them dictates it.