Copyright © 1997-2009 Demand Media. All rights reserved.
Posted: Mar/19/2007 9:38 PM PST
http://Start1.notlong.com 4 May 2006 Pictures depicting the method I chooose, with captions on the bottom left of the pictures.
2006 Experiment: There is a lot of babble from commercial interests about growing tomatoes upside down. Mostly about supplying the containers. There are few convincing pictures on the internet, so I am trying an experiment by growing two and possibly three plants.
At first sight there seems to be some advantages to this method, no staking, freedom from soil pests and fungi, complete control over watering, and small space requirements.
I have three plants set ready to grow on an eight foot frame in full sun. The tomatoes are Manitoba and Russian Krim. I intend to add one more, Sweet Million.
So far the plants are outdoors during the day, hanging upside down. I find the plants curl their leaves to find the sun, so I rotate upright to get straight growth on alternate days. Plants have some structures called statoliths which cause roots to grow toward gravity and stems to grow away from it. Also, the five gallon pail I chose is semi-translucent, and the roots are now completely at the other end of the bucket, which may be the plant trying to grow upright. I added a black cloth to eliminate light at the end oposite to the plant. I have not added water after the initial wetting at the time of planting. The perilite in the professional soil mix seems adequate.
The plants are very healthy with super strong stems. They cannot be put out until about the third week of May. I have two similar plants for garden use which will be a sort of control.
Here are pictures of the support for the upsidedown tomatoes. The location is full sun and the support is more than adequate.
8 My 2006 Hanging, http://Hanging1.notlong.com
Hanging tomatoe plants upside down. The Manitoba and the Russian Krim I grew from seed. I purchased the Sweet Million from a greenhouse. It is too small to hang upside down, since the bucket shields the plant from the sun most of the day, so I will leave it upright until it gets larger.
I put a stake inside the bucket to tie the main stem to keep it straight, since it tends to curl due to the effect of statoliths, plus the leaves tend to follow ths sun.
I have clear plastic bags to cover in the event the weather turns cold, which is highly likely until the first of June, but the long rang weather forcast is favourable.
I also have hooks to tie the plant if the fruit gets too heavy. They will be tied to support holes at the bottom of the bucket to take the weight, thus preventing breaking of the fruiting stem. To water the plant I simply remove the lid of the bucket.
4 June 2006 http://xrl.us/mzmb captioned indicating growth 4 June 2006. The middle tomatoe is sweet milliom, it was planted later than the Manitoba and Russion Krim.
19 June 2006
UPdate on plant growth 19 June 2006. Pictures are captioned.
25 July 2006.
The experiment of growing upside down tomatoes has been abandoned. The method is simply without merit. The vegetation is stringy, possibly due to the container partially shielding the plants from the sun. The fruit is marginal compared to typical growing methods. So, if you are limited in space use a 5 gallon bucket and grow upright. The media and various fast buck artists have produced containers for growing tomatoes by this method, without any evidence that it has merit.
I have grown tomatoes in 5 gallon containers right side up almost the same as growing in a garden location, and the fruit and plants were as good as it gets.
It does have a bit of merit; in that, it is a conversation piece when a group is around at a barbeque.
Location: Southern OR
Posted: Mar/22/2007 11:47 AM PST
Thanks for sharing your garden journal Durgan.
Location: north carolina
Posted: Mar/22/2007 1:54 PM PST
I agree, i tried one year to grow upside down tomatos and they always seemed like they were straining to turn up and find the sun. I had very little yeild and the fruit was not very good. Straight up is the way i'm going.
Thanks for sharing Durgan.