We struggled with too much shade at our previous home, but we had plenty of sunshine on our driveway. My husband, however, remained steadfast in his refusal to rip up the concrete to put in a garden. Not to be dissuaded, I came up with an alternative plan to utilize the space: upside down tomatoes. You’ve seen those Topsy Turvy contraptions, right? I decided to create one of my own with a bucket I had on hand to see how well it works. It took about two hours, including paint drying time. If you’re not painting, you’re looking at 20 minutes or so to put one of these together.
How to make a planter for upside-down tomatoes
Drill a hole in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. I used a 1.5″ or so hole saw. (I also opted to paint the bucket so it wasn’t so glaringly white.) Set the bucket up on blocks of some sort. This will allow you to place the tomato seedling without smashing it or requiring a lovely assistant.
Cut a piece of scrap fabric roughly the size of the base of the bucket. Cut a slit to the center of the fabric.This does not have to be neat and tidy, as evidenced below. You’re doing this only to help hold the soil and tomato seedling in place until it gets rooted in. Place the tomato seedling in the hole, with the greens hanging below the bucket. Pull the edges of the fabric slit together, snug around the stem. You can see in the photo on the right (below) that my poor little seedling lost all of its surrounding soil in the transfer. That little dark line in the center of the bucket are the roots of the seedling.
Gently add soil around tomato roots and continue adding soil until the bucket is nearly full. I used a mixture of roughly two parts potting soil, two parts peat moss, and one part perlite for a lighter mix, since it will be hanging.
In the left photo, you can see the little planted tomato hanging there between the blocks. And in the photo on the right, you can see the tomato bucket hanging from the outside of the carport.
I made two of these planters for upside-down tomatoes and hung them in two different locations. Here’s what they looked like a couple of months later.