A couple of years ago the Topsy-Turvy upside down tomato planter was all the rage. I bought into the cool idea of trying to grow tomatoes upside down. I thought it was a pretty interesting idea.
I ran out to my local Lowe’s store, bought one of the planters, and immediately planted the tomato plant.
A couple months later, the plant was a pitiful mess, and it produced one puny little tomato during the whole season.
I was disappointed in the performance of the Topsy-Turvy to say the least, and pretty much gave up on it. It certainly didn’t produce the abundance of tomatoes that the commercials on TV claimed.
I had decided that messing with those upside down planters was a waste of time and went back to conventional methods of growing tomatoes. Then I came across Gardener’s Supply’s version of the upside down tomato planter called the Gardener’s Revolution Planter.
After researching the Revolution Planter, I decided to give it a try and see if it was any better than the Topsy-Turvy. The biggest problem I had with the Topsy-Turvy was keeping it well watered. Once the scorcher days of summer hit, the soil in the planter would dry out almost instantly. I could water the heck out of it just to check it again in a couple hours to find it was dry again.
What changed my mind with the Revolution Planter was that it came with water reservoir that held a gallon of water to keep the soil consistently moist. It also featured a metal cage construction that should be sturdier than the flimsy bag of the Topsy-Turvy. With the water reservoir and cage construction, I decided to give it a try.
Components of the Gardener’s Revolution Tomato Planter
The Revolution Planter comes with the two halves of the metal cage, four plastic clips that hold the cage together, a canvas-type zippered bag which holds the soil and the tomato plant, a chain and hook system for hanging the planter, and the water reservoir with wicking strips for holding the water.
Assemble the Cage
Take the two halves of the cage assembly and place them side-by-side. Use two of the plastic clips, one at the top and one at the bottom, to connect the two halves.
Insert the Zippered Bag
With one side of the cage connected, unzip the canvas bag and place it inside the cage assembly.
Connect two of the hooks in the hook and chain assembly to the eye holes and metal cage assembly. Only connect two for the time being. The third hook will be connected later.
Make sure to connect the hooks on the cage where the triangular braces are. It should look like this:
Begin Filling the Bag With Soil
With the entire assembly laying on it’s side, begin adding soil in the canvas bag. I’m using an organic potting mixture, but Gardener’s Supply recommends using their All-Organic Self-Watering Container Mix. You can use whatever potting soil you like best.
You want to fill the bag up about halfway and also add a bit of organic tomato fertilizer in the soil. I’m using Gardener’s Supply’s Organic Tomato Fertilizer. Just add a good handful of the fertilizer and mix it in well.
Add the Tomato Plant
With the bag about half full of potting soil, remove your tomato plant from its container, loosen up the roots a bit, and place it in the bag so the stem will come through the hole in the bottom of the bag.
Gardener’s Supply recommends using their Super Bush tomato plant, but any bush-type tomato will work. I’m feeling a bit rebellious so I’m using a Black Cherry tomato plant that I already had. Hopefully, it will work just fine in this planter.
If you have a tall plant, like the one in the picture below, place it so just the top portion of the plant is sticking out of the bag. The buried portion of the stem will grow roots and be a much stronger plant.
Be sure to snip off any branches from the plant that will be buried in the potting soil. I add the cut off branches to the soil for added organic matter.
With the tomato plant now ready to go add more potting soil around the plant.
You don’t want to completely fill the bag at this time, just add a bit more potting soil. With that done zip up the canvas bag using the handy zipper.
Finish Assembling the Cage
With the canvas bag all zipped up, it is time to connect the two halves of the metal cage using the last two plastic clips.
Simply fold the two halves together and clip them so the cage is now completed.
Make sure the two sets of hooks at the bottom of the cage (the end with the tomato sticking out) engage properly.
Hang the Planter Up
With the cage assembled, it is time to hang up the Revolution Planter on its hook. Make sure the hook you intend to use is very sturdy. The planter will be pretty heavy once it is filled with damp soil and water. You don’t want to go outside one day and find your tomato crushed by a fallen planter.
Add more potting soil if it is need at this time. You want to fill the canvas bag with potting soil up to the second ring of wire from the top of the cage. Do not go above this height so you will have room for the water reservoir.
After filling the bag, connect the third hook in the bag and cage so that all three hooks are connected.
Add the Water Reservoir
The last step for setting up the Gardener’s Revolution Planter is to add the water reservoir. Take the reservoir and soak it in some water to get the white wicking strips wet.
With the wicking strips throughly wet, place the water reservoir on top of the potting soil in the canvas bag. Make sure the bottom of the reservoir makes good contact with the soil. Also make sure the white wicking strip ends are tucked down inside the water reservoir. This will wick water from the reservoir to the potting soil keeping it moist.
If the potting soil was dry when you added it in, go ahead and fill the reservoir up with fresh water.
Now the Gardener’s Revolution Planter is ready to go!
You can get the Gardener’s Revolution Planter Success Kit which includes everything you need, such as the organic tomato fertilizer and container potting mix!
Also, the individual planters are on sale right now, buy one, get one free.