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Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters.

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FamilyGardening
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Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters. Empty Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters.

Post  Dadoo 4/27/2011, 12:26 am

Last year I planted tomatoes, spinach, Romain lettuce, lemon balm and asparagus in hanging containers with good success. However, the plastic bags that hold the growing medium have broken down, ripping and in general became a mess.

As it happens, Menard's offers ninety-eight cent reusable cloth bags with a ninety-eight cent rebate so I've purchased a dozen of the bags- (a lovely green by the way...). These bags are going to replace last years hanging Topsy Turveys. To that end I'll be experimenting with self fabricated 1/4" soaker hose rings around the root balls to deliver moisture to the plants. Intermittently, I'll supplement the plants with worm and or compost tea.

If I can get 2-4 years from the cloth bags I'll consider it a grand success.
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Post  boffer 4/27/2011, 12:31 am

And I'm sure they're prettier than small five gallon buckets.

Irrigating Topsy Turveys can be a booger for sure; best of luck on your endeavor.
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Post  Miss M 4/27/2011, 1:12 am

Sounds like a great plan! I'd love to see how you retrofit the bags. Hope you do a picture-laden how-to! What a Face
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Post  Dadoo 4/27/2011, 1:24 am

@boffer wrote:And I'm sure they're prettier than small five gallon buckets.

Irrigating Topsy Turveys can be a booger for sure; best of luck on your endeavor.

Er, ahem, yes they're prettier than the buckets... Plus my lovely wife would plant me in the garden if I hung those Lowe's silver buckets on the shepherd's poles.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 4/27/2011, 9:12 am

@Dadoo wrote:
@boffer wrote:And I'm sure they're prettier than small five gallon buckets.

Irrigating Topsy Turveys can be a booger for sure; best of luck on your endeavor.

Er, ahem, yes they're prettier than the buckets... Plus my lovely wife would plant me in the garden if I hung those Lowe's silver buckets on the shepherd's poles.

Now I'd like to see a picture of the hanging buckets! Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters. 889526
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Post  boffer 4/27/2011, 9:27 am

Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters. Xxxtom10
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Post  muffinator 4/27/2011, 9:33 am

Boffer, do the vines on your plants break when they bear fruit? I tried an upsidedown planter I got at the Christmas Tree Shops last year and they did wonderfully- until the tomatoes got so heavy the vines broke. I was able to duct tape them back together and tie them up, but do others have this issue?
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Post  boffer 4/27/2011, 9:47 am

@muffinator wrote:Boffer, do the vines on your plants break when they bear fruit? ...

LOL I should be so lucky! I'm the wrong person to ask about how to deal with an abundance of big fat maters. When it comes to growing tomatoes, my climate is not kind.

But now that you mention it, I could see how the vine could need support. Maybe just a few strings at the right places?
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Post  Miss M 4/27/2011, 11:03 am

Maybe it has something to do with the kind of tomato. I had a Creole tomato in one last year, and had no trouble with the vines breaking. But they don't get bigger than medium-size, so maybe that's it.
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Post  acara 4/27/2011, 12:55 pm

Originally "topsy turveys" were the family-sized coffee cans hung from the roof eaves/gutters with wire .... and that was 50+ years ago.

As far as tomatoes went, it's my understanding that it was used primarily for bush varieties (determinates).

In the warmer climates with long growing seasons for toms'; I suspect a vining tomato would simply laugh at you & change directions back upwards, within a couple of days.

It's hard enough to keep vining toms' going straight up a stake or trellis if your mounting point isn't on a East/West axis. Another problem down here is the mildew/fungus-factor. I'd probably wager money against anyone trying to grow a indeterminate heirloom down here in zones 8-10 in one of those topsy-turvey set-ups. My guts tell me you'd either have a tangled broken mess (growing in the wrong direction), or be battling massive fungus attacks.

However, I have used the newer incarnations of the product for hybrid cherry varieties like Juliet and Sprite before.


Last edited by acara on 4/27/2011, 1:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  walshevak 4/27/2011, 1:03 pm

I sent my friends in PI a topsy turvy and they say the tomatos are growing in a U shape. Probably indeterminate because the seeds that came with the kit croked after 2 weeks.

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Post  CindiLou 4/27/2011, 1:24 pm

I tried one in a bucket last year. Had some cherry tomatoes but it is not easy to water. This year I was going to try a pvc pipe with holes and sand like I use in my strawberry pots. Thanks for the determinate idea Acara. I had an indeterminate last year and the vines would twist and grow back up after a few inches.
I had geraniums and thyme on the top of it.

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Post  acara 4/27/2011, 2:01 pm

For watering, I just run a 1/2" header out to the area, then run a 1/8" feeder line off that, up the pole or wall, down the wire and into the opening. I usually install a cut-off valve and dripper or mister head and tuck it into the top cover.

You can see the set-up in the top of this picture (coming down to the baskets);

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Post  Aub 4/27/2011, 10:30 pm

My sister had a Topsy Turvey but it didn't go so well. We have since started calling them Topsy Turvey Tomato Killers. Laughing
I think I would rather have mine growing up a trellis.
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Post  Miss M 4/27/2011, 10:55 pm

I did have a couple of problems with that Creole tomato I mentioned in mine, though I don't know if it had anything to do with the Topsy-Turvey. It had a spider infestation (never seen that before), and the tomatoes below the center would get splits around the stem. I think this was due to the excess water draining out of the hole and all over the tomatoes.
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Post  priehl 5/11/2011, 1:25 pm

I tried this in Mexico without much success. But I didn't have much success with anything in Mexico. When we left, I spread my lovely fish-carcass-and-market-veggy-scrap compost and planted beans for the house sitters. They told me they had more than they knew what to do with.

So it goes back to this story I read somewhere ;-) about moving just as you get the soil right ....
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Post  quiltbea 5/11/2011, 4:59 pm

Is there room for another Topsy Turvy story?
I planted one a few years ago and the tomato twisted upwards and took so much energy trying to straighten up, I only got a couple tomatoes on it.
That was the end of that experiment for me.
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Post  priehl 5/11/2011, 5:31 pm

Hey, I just realized that since I'm in the southern hemisphere my tomatoes already are topsy-turvy by y'alls's standards.
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Post  CindiLou 5/11/2011, 9:28 pm

@priehl wrote:Hey, I just realized that since I'm in the southern hemisphere my tomatoes already are topsy-turvy by y'alls's standards.

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Post  middlemamma 5/12/2011, 3:39 am

I will be honest...I have never used one...

but I look at them and I just wonder who ever thought a plant would grow DOWN?

I don't get it...plants grow UP...why are we hanging them upside down again? Growing against gravity? Roots growing opposite gravity, plant trying to grow against gravity, watering against gravity? I mean I get that the OBJECT is space saving...but it baffles me. Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters. 601593

But then again I AM the Village Idiot for a reason.
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Post  walshevak 5/12/2011, 6:19 am

I caught a sale last fall on a different brand. (at Lowes - $2.50) and sent 2 to my Philippine family. The first try was a complete failure, but the second try with compost instead of the prepackaged stuff if doing better.

cherry tomatos blossoming
Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters. Mater_10

trying cukes
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Post  priehl 5/12/2011, 6:39 am

@middlemamma wrote:I will be honest...I have never used one...

but I look at them and I just wonder who ever thought a plant would grow DOWN?

I don't get it...plants grow UP...why are we hanging them upside down again? Growing against gravity? Roots growing opposite gravity, plant trying to grow against gravity, watering against gravity? I mean I get that the OBJECT is space saving...but it baffles me. Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters. 601593

But then again I AM the Village Idiot for a reason.

I think it has to do with the economy of tensile versus compressive strength as well. Consider all the effort that goes into supporting a large tomato plant from the bottom, whereas in a (the one and only I've seen) indoor commercial tomato growing operation plants are supported from the top with string. Doesn't seem like a big deal until you consider 4-5,000 plants in one place - the amount of material required to support them from below is vastly more than from above, given the structure to hang strings from.

Likewise, a tomato plant hanging upside down not only needs no external support, but doesn't need to put energy into growing a 'trunk' to support the weight of the fruit from below.

Regardless, mine didn't work. But then, I didn't have Mel's Mix. Sad
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Post  Tril 5/12/2011, 6:51 am

We have a company here in Maine that grows tomatoes in water (no soil)... year round in greenhouses. I honestly don't know why I'm bothering to grow my own since these are TRULY vine ripened and taste like "summer".

Check it out! http://www.backyardfarms.com/growing/index.aspx

I'm waiting for them to grow cucumbers.... Success of the Topsy Turvey hanging planters. 959632
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Post  Dadoo 9/19/2011, 6:07 pm

Well, I wanted to find a cheaper way of growing things in hanging containers after using the TopsyTurvys last year.
This past April I set up 15 hanging bag planters complete with irrigation and a solar light in each bag.
The plan was to grow tomatoes, cukes, blueberries, and eggplant out of the tops and or bottoms of each bag.
Since the cloth bags are organic, (you know... like leaves, grass and other compostables) the addition of water and microbes broke down the bags to the consistency of paper mache'. The entire bag (including its handles) broke down and my plants found their way down the the ground. All the bags were installed the same weekend so I was able to rescue a few of the tomatilloes and a lemon cucumber plant. before those bags also let loose.
Lesson learned but not deterred.
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Post  FamilyGardening 9/19/2011, 7:48 pm

last year was the first time to use a topsey....we planted tomatoes in them....i think we only got like two very small tomatoes from three topsey that we hung up....this year i planted sweet banana peppers and ....well.... see for you self Very Happy they loved being in the bags!....they do hang down and do grow up....the vines are heavy...but they are thick and seem to hold them up well.....being in the PNW i have found it harder to grow peppers....i have baby them with compost tea and kept a close eye on them to see when they needed water....it has payed off though Very Happy

here is pic's i took today.....i will be harvesting them soon to pickle....this will be my second batch to harvest from these plants! cheers

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