Upside Down Tomato Plants

Sunny Side Up – Growing Organic Tomatoes

You’ve heard of turn that frown upside down but what about your tomatoes? Apparently, reversing each of these can lead to big smiles… or at least a look of bewilderment. We recently got cable for the first time in about seventeen years (yes, I’m serious) and apparently there’s a new product out that will grow tomatoes upside down. According to my son who first spotted the infomercial, we just “had to have one because it was the coolest”. 

I was a little judgmental, especially after the Snuggly ™ commercial I saw with entire families at ballgames looking like total dorks wearing, um… clothes made from blankets. After not watching television for so many years, I must admit I felt like I had been shoved under a rock somewhere. I laughed and thought it’s no wonder we are in a recession with people buying products such as these but as an entrepreneur I secretly coveted the marketing power that made my son turn to a pile of consumer putty within sixty seconds.

I firmly told him no explaining that all those gimmicks were a waste of money and then paused as I seriously fantasized about throwing the tube out of the window. Then as my life would have it, we were visiting dear friends and as we approached their front door, I looked to my left and saw a tomato plant hanging in all of its glory — upside down from a tree.

I rolled my eyes so hard they almost fell out of my head, trying to redirect my son’s attention in the opposite direction. To no avail he saw it and pointed in a way that would’ve made the best of bird dogs jealous. He bounced and exclaimed that these awkward looking contraptions were not all those words I had said they were. 

Chatting inside while kids circled us, I brought up the tomato plant that stared at me through the window as if it were a huge white elephant begging to be mentioned.

“Okay so, what’s up with the whole tomato growing upside down thing?” I asked. “Did you actually buy it off of TV?”

My friend’s face lit up like a light bulb. You really must know her and her passion for life to even begin to imagine the excitement that immediately began oozing out of her. She is one of those people that make me feel sane when I tell her the quirky little things about my green life and obsessions.

She started waving her hands around and telling me about how she saw them and decided it would be a great recycling project. She then explained how her husband, who she is madly in love with, joined in on the project with big 5 gallon tubs from work. She explained how it had better air circulation and was harder for pesky rodents to get.

I asked about watering and it seems to be all the same. Tomatoes need lots of water in this South Georgia heat. You just simply pour it in the top of the bucket and gravity helps it get to the roots.

One big perk about this reversed method of growing is no more stakes! I recall times of getting way too intimate, down on the ground, wrapping and redirecting thick vines of heirloom tomatoes to keep them from drooping on the ground.

My friend says it’s also the perfect solution for a yard with poor growing conditions. “It takes time to tend to soil and some people just want to grow tomatoes without figuring their ground’s pH,” she explains.

The more she talked, the more I believed. I guess I respond better to this type of marketing because I left ready and willing to begin my own recycled upside down tomato garden.

As for the television, I guess it has somewhat earned its place in my home but with great censorship of course. However, one more infomercial with families dressed in blankets and I may consider hanging a tomato plant in its spot!

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