Topsy Turvy tomato planters

shermthewerm(8 PNW)March 26, 2009

Has anyone tried these? I was thinking about buying a couple of them this year in addition to my other plants (I wouldn't mind having some tomatoes that my dog can't reach--she loves to eat them!)

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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

Sherthewerm, I haven't tired these but I have read many favorable reviews on them. My neighbor is going to try them this summer. I'm going to wait for his results ;)


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 11:24PM
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shermthewerm(8 PNW)

I've read the reviews, too, but I can't find anyone who's actually bought one! Thanks for your response.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:06AM
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I bought two of these last year. I'm in the Pacific Northwest, which has a fairly short growing season. I first tried out cucumbers. Here's a pic:

Sadly we got hit with a June frost and it died. My next victims were tomato plants. I spent a lot of time watering them and the planter filled right up with roots. Sadly I had a very meager harvest - and all of the tomatoes had blossom end rot.
If I were to try them again I would only put one plant in the bottom and none on the sides - there isn't enough space for all of the roots.

I would also set up some sort of drip system to make sure it was kept consistently moist. When you've got a lot of surface leaves they suck up the water right away. I thought the container was rather small for the root mass I found when I took it apart in the fall.

The Gardener's Supply company has a version that solves these problems. It's much larger, has only one plant, and has a water reservoir on top that wicks water into the container, solving the over/under watering issues that can result in blossom end rot.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardeners Revolution Planter

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 1:58PM
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ajpa(z6 se PA)

I've been seeing the TT planter locally at KMart and Boscov's (in the as seen on tv section) for $10.
They only have one plant hole, at the bottom.
I just bought one -- I'm going to try a Tumbling Tom in it. My plan is to leave some space on the top and put a plastic container with small holes in the bottom as a water reservoir.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 7:28PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Food for thought. Tomato plants have very large root systems, so the bigger their container, the better for the plants and for your harvest. For $10.00 you can buy a very large, pretty good looking, very very long lasting pot. I'd be willing to bet that the TT would not hold up for more than 2 or 3 seasons, tops.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 11:38PM
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Here's what my son said about the. He lives in South Philly and has no yard.

I had a mixed success with the Topsy Turveys.
I definitely preferred having the upside-down tomatoes vs. tomatoes in containers.
But if I had a yard, there would be no question that I would just put the tomatoes in the ground!!!
However, if you do use the Topsy Turveys, make sure you have a good place to hang them!
Pros- Saves space, easy to water and keep moist (vs. containers), bore a lot of fruit
Cons- after a while, it is necessary to tie up the vines, or else they flop over from the weight of the fruit. it might be better to use cherry or plum tomatoes. Also, I found it difficult to do the initial setup (filling bags up with dirt and trying to insert the small plants in the upside down hole).
Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:45AM
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I suspect you'll also have better luck in those planters with "patio" or other compact, determinate, bush tomatoes. Indeterminate vining tomatoes just get huge. I haven't tried the topsy turvy - but I grow Bush Champion and such in buckets with regular cages and they stay small enough that they ought to be fine in the topsy turvy planter.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:27AM
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shermthewerm(8 PNW)

Thanks! I think I'll give it a try--experimenting is always fun. Good tip on choosing a determinate tomato; that makes sense.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 5:06PM
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We bought 4 of them. We built a huge arch (10 ft. high and 10 feet wide) out of 6 inch PVC pipe with internal 4 inch PVC pipes for additional support. We sunk the side supports into deep holes containing concrete.

However; we are using the picture on the package and some guessing on how to actually plant these things. The booklet that came with the planters says "Instruction and recipe booklet" but contains only recipes. Being a manual reader, this is maddening!

So, if anyone has a clue on how BEST to plant in the topsy turvy, I would sure appreciate it if you would pass it along.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 6:16PM
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ajpa(z6 se PA)

wiseleigh, there are instructions (pdf) on the official website

The steps are basically
1. remove lid
2. reach in & remove split sponge from bottom
3. insert plant through bottom (i.e. squeeze leaves through hole from inside the bag)
4. insert sponge back in through top
5. add soil (leave 2 inches from top)
6. replace lid
7. water

I have also read advice from a customer that they get heavy, so only half-fill it with soil then hang it up before adding the rest of the soil. Another suggestion was to leave more space at the top and add a water reservoir (leaky jug?)

Here is a link that might be useful: TT website

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 1:50PM
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ninjabut(USDA z 8,CA)

I've heard that these are a big waste of $$$$.
You can do the same thing with a 5 gal bucket for a whole bunch less $$ and the same, if not better results.
I have a good sized garden, but I'm going to try maybe a cherry in an upside down 5 gal bucket this year for fun.
Good luck! Nancy

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 9:30PM
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recently i purchased a TT, the required potting soil, transplant tomato. Watered daily as istructed. Used firtilizer solution in the water mix that said it was good for tomatoes. However, it started turning black along the edges and wilting away to the point i decided to start over. When I examined the soil and plant after i removed them i realized i overwatered. I took the advice from the folks at home depot on variety of tomato (celebrity) and soil (a mix between organic and scotts absorbent). I planted 3 in the bottom and they already look like they are getting black on the edges and the TT is still holding in of the moisture. The plant always has dirty water on it and is always wet. IS THIS PRODUCT A JOKE AND I NEED TO CUT MY LOSES? OR I AM DOING SOMETHING WRONG?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 9:44PM
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You shouldn't water it until the dirt on top starts to get dry. If you've put it in a less sunny spot you won't need to water as often. You should never trust an instruction as simple as "water daily". You always have to adjust for your location.

Unless you disinfected the TT, my guess is that the new ones you planted got infected by the old mold. Also, I'm not sure that putting 3 tomatoes in one TT is a good idea.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 6:56PM
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