An upside down start to planting this year

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As I’ve mentioned in several other posts, I’m doing a vegetable garden again this year. This involved a lot of clearing out of weeds and brush from the plots and then tilling. Today I went to the best of the local garden centers to buy the plants. This is in addition to the seeds that I bought a few weeks ago. Of those, I’ve only planted the corn. The seedlings are now starting to emerge, the first ones up after twelve days.

I bought two kinds of tomatoes, a medium sized mid-season variety and a large late-season one, two different kinds of cherry tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, some basil, some Italian parsley, some marigolds (to plant among the tomatoes), and some impatiens to put in the shady area along the driveway. It had been threatening rain all morning, and while I was in the plastic covered greenhouses, all hell broke loose. The sound under the plastic was extremely loud and the rain, coming in waves and various angles, forced its way inside via drips at the seams. As noisy as it was in there, I wasn’t going to go outside and get soaked, until I had to.

I paid for the plants and waited for the storm to pass. And waited. And waited. After ten minutes I gave up and ran to the car, getting drenched in the process. We’re only talking about fifty feet here, but I might as well have stood in the shower in my clothes. I drove home, water dripping down my face onto my soaked t-shirt.

Even though it is unlikely that we’ll have another frost, I can’t just stick these plants in the ground. They would quickly get sun burned since they have spent their entire lives in greenhouses. I need to harden them off, so they will spend a few days on the kitchen porch, then move to a partially sunny area outside, and then finally to their new homes in the garden.

Tomato plant in a Topsy Turvy planter

In the meanwhile, I decided to plant two tomato plants in the Topsy Turvy planters my wife and I bought in late winter, when the urge to garden is strongest. We agreed that we would do one of the late season and one of the cherry tomato varieties.

I found the planters to be very well made and it was a definite plus that the manufacturer included heavy duty screw eyes on which to hang the planters. I mounted the screw eyes in the center of the windows on the west side of the kitchen porch and then my wife and I got to assembling the planters and tomatoes.

Here are some notes from the experience:

  • It is much easier to do with two people.
  • Make sure you don’t crush the plant as you fill the planter, since the plant is on the bottom.
  • Pre-wet the potting soil you will use, or else most of the water you add later will just run out.
  • You need a lot of potting soil.
  • Expect a lot of water to run out, despite your best efforts. Therefore either put down plastic or hang the plants over an area that you don’t care will get wet.
  • Expect to use a ladder to get to the top of the plants so you can water them.

The photo on the right is one of the tomatoes, though I realize now that I forget which one.. Assuming it doesn’t die off soon, I’ll post other photos from time to time so you can see how it is doing.


  1. Hm.
    It looks interesting.
    But what keeps the plant from expressing its heliotropism and growing around the container and back “up”?

  2. The commercial for the “Topsy Turvy” tomato planter intrigued me, but I’m leery of buying stuff from infomercials. I Googled instructions on how to make one myself, and found a few good websites I thought I’d share. If it doesn’t work well, at least I didn’t spend $20 to find out.

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