For many of us, garden space is at a premium. This sometimes makes it so that we must choose between what we really want to plant and what we have room to plant. Although such decisions may riddle some of us with despair, this is when we should stop looking sadly into the dirt and instead look hopefully towards the sky to locate a spot from which we can grow tomatoes upside down. Sure, it may sound silly to grow tomatoes upside down but this method has actually proven to be quite successful. By taking advantage of aerial space via this form of container gardening, you can increase tomato production and save space in the actual garden for other plants, giving you much more bang for your garden space buck.
The way upside down tomato gardening works is by taking advantage of gravity while the plant grows. When water is added, it along with nutrients flows downward directly to the roots of the plant where it is then utilized for growth. This method is beneficial for many reasons such as pest reduction; since there is no ground contact, pests such as slugs are less able to make their way onto plants. Caring for suspended plants is also easier in that you do not have to stake them. There is none of the back pain involved with bending over to trim leaves because trimming is greatly reduced and weeding is eliminated entirely. Upside down plants are also more easily pollinated due to better air flow.
Although there are many reasons to consider upside down tomato plants, it is not a journey that is smooth sailing all the way. You will have to water more frequently because that same gravity that moves water to the roots can also drain too much of it and cause it to run over the plant itself which may cause blight. Be careful when watering not to overcompensate for drainage, however, as you could end up with blossom end rot. Setting up the upside down system also takes a bit of time and additional materials in order for the endeavor to be a success, some of which can be a challenge if you’re not particularly handy. To make this easier, however, you can purchase planters that are pre-fabricated and ready for immediate use.
If you wish to make your own upside down tomato planter, there are a few steps you need to take. First of all, acquire a few five gallon buckets. Each bucket should hold one plant or possibly two at the most. Measure a few inches down from the rim of the bucket and drill two holes directly across from one another. These should correspond in size with the cord you plan to pass through them for hanging purposes. You will also need to punch a hole in the bottom of the bucket and drill one small one each side to add in distribution of draining water. Most five gallon buckets have a ring in the center of the bottom that is the ideal size for the purpose of plant location; all you have to do is remove it for your plant to grow through (small seedlings are best). Next add some newspaper to the bottom of the bucket, creating a hole for the plant to pass through in it as well. Gently pass the plant through the newspaper and bucket hole and add soil to fill, then hang your completed bucket planter.
Also helpful is planting bush varieties as these do not get too heavy for a bucket to support. In order to save yourself some trouble and guess work with watering, soil containing retention material or a water reservoir can be added. In the end, however, for a little bit of handiwork and the cost of some buckets, you will be gifted with delicious tomatoes growing down on you from above.
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