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Topsy Turvy Tomatoes Toplef10Topsy Turvy Tomatoes 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Topsy Turvy Tomatoes I22gcj10Topsy Turvy Tomatoes 14dhcg10

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Topsy Turvy Tomatoes

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Post  Shoda 5/20/2010, 4:28 pm

I had a lot of extra tomato plants so I planted some in two Topsy Turvy things a neighbor gave me. I planted them in Mel's Mix and so far they look pretty good.

Do I need to prune off the suckers like I would if they were planted "normally" or would multiple stems work better for these? (the tomatoes are indeterminate).

Thanks for your help!
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Post  Retired Member 1 5/20/2010, 7:03 pm

I wouldn't think you'd need to prune suckers as the main reason it's done on a trellis is to make it "fit" in 1 foot of space. Depending on how vigorous the vines are, you might have to raise the planting container!
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Post  johnfromfl 5/20/2010, 7:08 pm

Lisa:

I have one of those topsy turvy planters and Didn't care for it. Also had to water it more often than a regular SFG. I personally feel it is a waste of money.

On the other hand those that have them need to manage the plant by removing the suckers and regular watering and such. Do regular care as if in a garden.

It might be good for some growers but I had a bad experience. If you have one....I wish you the best of luck.

John


Last edited by johnfromfl on 5/20/2010, 7:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Blackrose 5/20/2010, 7:11 pm

My mother had a tomato in the topsy turvy last summer hanging from a stand that stood about 6 feet high. She says it wasn't high enough. The plant still grew down to the ground and some of her tomatoes rotted from sitting on the ground and some of them got taken over by ants. Would it be possible to prune it so it doesn't get that big and still get a good harvest?
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Post  alijoefam5 5/23/2010, 11:56 pm

I have 5 of those!
My tomato, bell pepper, Jal. peppers are doing great. I'm going to switch out the potting soil and put Mel's mix in them. (Sure they would do better) I also have herbs and strawberries (not doing well) due to the Houston heat! Hopefully I can post pics of my SFG and topsy turvy sometime this week. We had a lot of school activities the past 2 weeks! Razz I say go for it!
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Post  Jola 5/24/2010, 9:32 am

Blackrose, I don't have topsy turvy but I would think that growing determinate type of tomatoes would solve the length problem. Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing so that's why your mom had them eventually on the ground. You can prune them, why not. The only disadvantage of cutting growing tips of indeterminate tomatoes is that they will finish producing fruits on the branch which tip you cut.
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Post  janetgouvas 5/24/2010, 9:56 am

I got 3 of those last year. Zucchini did fine in it but the tomatoes grew just so far and took a U-turn. That kind of defeated the upside down idea. I think it might have something to do with the type of tomato planted. I liked the upside down, space saving, work saving idea but all together I wasn't happy with them. They were heavy and watering them (for me) was difficult. I don't have those handy watering extensions. Also the fabric didn't do well in the desert sun.

Janet
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Post  Jola 5/24/2010, 10:26 am

Have any of you, desert folks, tried wrapping fabric part of topsy turvy in aluminum foil? It should reflect sun, and my guess is, it would help not to overheat that part of topsy turvy.
I lived in Arizona for over a year, and can imagine how hot topsy turvy can be in the sun.
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Post  johnfromfl 5/24/2010, 12:02 pm

since I am in Florida, the sun does not like plastic and kind of rotted the covering of the topsy turvy case. I think, like someone said, it depends on the tomato plants that is why it didn't work for me. It appears that the reviews are about 50-50 on the topsy turvy planter. in my experience I personally feel I wasted my money on the planter. On the other hand, it seems to work for the northern zones and the type of tomato's use. For those that use it and like it, I wish you a plentiful harvest.


For me , it makes a great garden wind sock.
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Post  lonewolfrissy 5/30/2012, 6:53 pm

I have the hot pepper topsy turvey and only paid $1. So far, I got my seedlings planted in it and 3 1/2 of 6 plants that are surviving. They're still little though.
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Post  chjbr63 5/30/2012, 7:25 pm

I did a cherry tomato in an upside down 5 gal bucket last year and it work pretty good. Lots of tomato's but it still grew up and I had to tie off the heavier branches. I put carrots in the top and got about 15 small ones. It started very slow because I put the hole in the center and it was to much shade. Made a new one this year with the hole towards the sunny side and it is growing faster than my other tomato's. I have basil growing on the top and I plan on pruning it a bit this year.
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Post  Jola 5/30/2012, 9:17 pm

Does any of you think that Topsy gets incredibly heavy when filled with soil (even Mel mixture)? I got Topsy last year and it was a disaster. I imagined hanging it on the shepherd hook - ha, ha - how naive of me (hook went immediately down to the ground!). I couldn't even lift it to hang it on the huge hook I screwed to my porch ceiling. I finally did it, but watering was very inconvenient and two miniature tomatoes didn't do good at all in Topsy. I will never again use it!
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Post  quiltbea 5/31/2012, 7:08 am

I had one about 6 years ago and didn't like it. I'm sure I had an indeterminate tomato in it, and eventually the plant tried to grow upwards toward the sun, draining it of so much energy I don't think I got 3 tomatoes from it all season. I've since read that using a cherry tomato would have worked better.

Growing note: You can always cut off the tips of tomatoes. It just stops lengthening and puts its energy into producing tomatoes already on the vine.
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Post  hruten 5/31/2012, 2:34 pm

I have 2 TT planters that have a coconut lining and are self watering types. I did go ahead and use the self watering mix from gardener's supply plus an organic fertilizer. They seem to be doing well and have blossoms on them. I watch the watering closely to make sure things don't get too wet though. They are growing upward a bit, but seem to be leveling off as the plants get heavier. I am pleased with my $7 investment. You can see them in the background.

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Post  Jola 5/31/2012, 8:24 pm

hruten - your set looks really very nice. How heavy are your TT? I have had different type (older?) and mine when filled with soil would bent the hooks and snap the balusters like wooden matches in a setting like yours! What is your secret that your TT do not do that?
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Post  GloriaG 6/1/2012, 9:35 am

Mine are quite heavy but they do OK. I use the recommended "Super Bush" variety of tomato which is a smaller bush variety so it doesn't overwhelm the planter. I hang them from the eves and make sure to water enough when it gets really hot.

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Post  hruten 6/1/2012, 12:16 pm

As an estimate, I'd say about 10-15lbs each. I bought VERY solid and strong attachment poles from amazon to mount these. Link below... The fastener wing nut attaches to the rail in 2 spots which helps distribute the force. I have a shorter version I used for bird feeding in the winter and was very impressed. 5 lbs of seed didn't even moved the shorter version. Note: this is my 1st year trying them, so I will watch for rail damage.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003HE53JO/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

There is also only about 12" of soil in there. The top 4-6" holds the watering reservoir. The soil mix is very lite and mostly peat and perlite (Gardener's Supply self-watering container mix) and I then mixed in a respectable quantity of organic fertilizer. We've been getting lots of rain so honestly, I haven't "watered" them since I hung them up 3 weeks ago and watch them closely to empty out excess water.
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Post  quiltbea 6/1/2012, 2:56 pm

@GloriaG......I applaud you. That's a nice looking topsy turvy setup. Good for you.
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Post  GloriaG 6/1/2012, 11:46 pm

Thanks quiltbea,

This is the third year for this set of planters, which is why the liner looks a little stained now. They are metal framed and really strong with a replaceable lining. Right now the vendor has them on sale - http://www.gardeners.com/Gardeners-Revolution-Planter/39-338,default,pd.html?start=6&cgid=PotsPlanters_HangingPlanters

Personally, what I like about the topsy turvy is that when we had major hail storms last fall I just carried them inside and hung them in the shower until the weather cleared. Didn't lose any tomatoes!
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