The Topsy Turvy® started the upside down container gardening fad, much to the chagrin of gardening purists. Growing vegetables upside down has recieved mainstream recognition by being profiled in newspapers and magazines. There is even an upside down container DIY project in Gayla Trail's latest book, Grow Great Grub. While you can buy several upside down planters like the Topsy Turvy® you can also make your own upside down planter for plants like tomatoes and peppers.
One day while cleaning out food from the fridge I came across a deli container I was going to toss out. Being a frugal gardener I decided to recycle the container in the garden.
After 20 minutes I had an upside down hanging pepper planter made from items I already had around the house and garden. What you'll need: 1)A plant or seedling. 2)A plastic container or bucket. 3) Twine, wire or something similar. 4) Potting soil mix: the lighter the better. 5) One coffee filter
I used what I was told was a pequin pepper* which remains a relatively small plant throughout my growing season. I chose this small pepper because the container is small, it used to hold 5lbs of potato salad, it wouldn't get too big or heavy for the container.
The plastic container I used to make my upside down pepper planter.
Step #1: I cut a hole in the bottom of the recycled container to act as a drainage hole for the pepper planter and to allow me to thread the plant through.
Step #2: Pokes holes into the side of the container because it didn't have a handle like a bucket. You can use a strong twine or wire to create the handle. I used a garden weed eater string that I had laying around.
Step #3: Took the coffee filter and cut a small circle and a slit to the center. The stem of my hot pepper plant was place in the center of the hole I cut out.The coffee filter will cover the drainage hole in my upside down pepper planter so the water slowly seeps out and the soil stays inside.
Step #4: I placed my coffee filter around the root ball of my pepper plant like so. Make sure the stem is in the center of the hole you cut and that your filter is wrapped tightly around the root ball of your plant. Now, flip it upside down. This is where the upside down part comes in.
Step #5: I inserted the upside down plant into the hole I cut out in Step #1 while making sure the coffee filter stayed in place. Then, I filled my container with potting soil mix. Make sure to you use a light potting soil because when your container is wet it will be heavy and may snap whatever you're using to hang it with.
Now I have an upside down pepper planter that is obviously homemade, but was a fun garden project.
The container I used to make my upside down pepper planter has a lid that I was going to put back on after the container was filled with a potting mix. Once I put it on it dawned on me that I could use the top portion of my upside down container to grow something else. So, I put in some "Windowbox" mini basil seedlings in. This basil is a small compact basil, sometimes called a "bonsai" basil because of its compact growth habit.
When you first plant your upside planter, whether it is with a tomato or a pepper plant, the foliage of your plant will be upside down. As you can see from the upside down foliage of my pepper plant.
Within a day or two of being planted upside down your plant's leaves will orient themselves correctly so that the sun shines on the upper-side of the leaves.
I'm hoping that by being half covered and half open my planter will be easy to keep moist and make watering simple. In the week since I created it I haven't noticed any excessive drying out of the soil medium. I've actually not watered it once in the week since I planted it. Do I think growing plants in upside down containers create healthier plants or gives you a better crop yield? Probably not, but this is my first year trying it. Can't be any different than right-side container gardening. Although, I do see some benefits of growing veggies and herbs in upside down containers: If you don't have space to set another container on the floor or ground hanging it upside down is a good space-saving technique for gardeners with precious little space. Also, if you have kids or pets around who are always picking fruit before it ripens hanging tomatoes and other plants out of their reach it a good idea.
* I grew pequin peppers last year and the peppers on this plant are much larger than pequin; I'm thinking this plant was missed labeled.