It may surprise you to learn that growing upside down tomato plants is quite popular and has several distinct advantages over the normal method of growing tomato plants from the bottom up.
Here Are the Advantages
First, tomato plants grown from the ground generally need to be supported so that the tomatoes themselves can be kept from settling on the ground where they can rot or be subject to pests. The need for support stakes is completely unnecessary when the plants are suspended in the air.
Second, the improved air flow around the plant and the decreased stress on the branches leads to bigger, better fruit that will tend to ripen faster.
Third, suspension in the air protects the tomato plants from attacks by predators or pests.
That having been said. you should bear in mind that one drawback of growing upside down tomatoes is that you will be somewhat limited in the variety of tomato plants you can easily grow upside down. It works much better and is much easier when you use the smaller tomato varieties such as cherry or grape tomatoes, as opposed to the larger beefsteak tomatoes.
What You Will Need
This is fairly simple. All you will need to grow tomato plants upside down are several large (preferably 5 gallon) plastic buckets with lids and handles. You can use paint buckets which can easily be obtained from a hardware store.
Additionally, you will need a coffee filter or newspaper, light potting soil, preferably with vermiculite, a two inch drill or simply a box cutter if you don’t have a drill, and of course, you will need tomato seedlings.
You will also need some sort of support structure such as a plant hanging frame, or simply a strongly supported clothes line.
This Is How You Do It
Drill or cut a two inch hole in the bottom of the paint bucket. Keep the bucket right side up and place the newspaper or coffee filter inside the bucket to cover the hole.
Fill the bucket with the potting soil and place the lid firmly on top of the bucket.
Turn the bucket upside down, exposing the two inch hole. Pull the coffee filter or newspaper out through the hole and reach into the hole and clear out a pocket for the seedling placement.
Take your tomato seedling out of its little pot and gently fit it into the two inch hole.
Carefully reach in and replace the soil around the seedlings if you can, and then replace the coffee filter inside the hole, so that it covers over any exposed dirt.
Now pick up the bucket and turn it over. Remove the lid and fit the handle of the bucket on to a spar, hook or support of the plant hanging frame, or slip it through the clothes line. The bucket should now be hanging right side up with the tomato seedling underneath.
Now water the soil in the bucket generously until the soil is thoroughly saturated and some water starts to drip on to the ground from the two inch hole underneath.
That’s it? Make sure you grow your upside down tomatoes in a place that gets at least 6 – 8 hours of sunlight a day, and water it several times a week.
Many gardeners prefer upside down tomatoes for the superior taste and quick easy cultivation. They also make a great conversation piece for your garden.