My upside down tomato garden was a bust.
My upside down tomato garden was a bust.

Topsy Turvy tomato planters: fresh or rotten?

There are two Topsy Turvy tomato planters in our yard, and although for a while it really seemed like they were on the verge of abundance, we ended up with only one large tomato in one of the upside down planters and two smaller ones in the other.

In general, we have good luck with vegetables. We share a garden with our neighbors that -- year after year -- produces carrots, radishes, lettuce, peppers, herbs, chard, onions and yes, even tomatoes. But these Topsy Turvys have us wondering if we suffered a momentary amputation of our green thumbs or if the contraptions just don’t really work.

On the Web site, they cost $19.99, but at most garden stores, they were $9.99. Still, for 10 bucks each -- plus the cost of soil and water -- three fruits is a pathetic yield. Especially when the Web site boasts they give "up to 30 pounds of deliciously ripe tomatoes per plant."

We might give them a whirl again next year if we can figure out what went wrong. They got plenty of sun, which is key to the process because it’s supposed to work like a small greenhouse, and they got plenty of water. (Could they have gotten too much water?)

It’s perplexing, and I would love to hear how your Topsy Turvys did this summer. Were they tomato challenged like mine or is it Bruschetta City at your place?

Talkbacks

phishstyx | April 5, 2010 at 2:04 a.m. (report)

Consistently, folks who use these bags for traditional "container plants" -- with small root habits -- have more success than those who use this system for plants that are usually grown in beds.

Makes sense to me: Gravity will force the water/nutrients to the bottom of the sack. A small root system will enjoy this, but a root system that evolved to seek its nutrients will grow back onto itself, very unhealthy. Of course, it means that most of the bag is actually pointless, because the roots won't go that far up.

Also, the bags are designed to resist draining. Maybe so many users report the bags rip under their own weight, simply overwater. My experience is that it's pretty hard to figure how much to water; several times the top was bone dry, but when I felt the bottom, I could feel the soil being squishy.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Captool73 | Sept. 1, 2009 at 6:51 a.m. (report)

34740 We have one--and planted cherry tomatos. Now, we have an abundance of them, all riprening and in good shape.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

karebear | Aug. 31, 2009 at 4:34 p.m. (report)

I live in a condo with a tiny yard, so these seemed like they'd be ideal for me. But I read a number of reviews on it first, and none of them were good. So needless to say, I never bought on. And as far as too much or not enough water. It's mostly not enough, as it all drains out and doesn't retain the water long enough.
So definitely blame the topsy turvy, not your green thumb.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 3.7
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Jimmy_Jones | Aug. 31, 2009 at 12:26 p.m. (report)

I have a raised bed with 4 tomato plants that I can't harvest fast enough and I have 1 topsy turvy with lots of green growth, but not one ripe tomato yet. They plants are 5 feet away from one another and were planted within a week of one another.

It's the topsy-turvy, not the weather.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 4.2
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Crash | Aug. 31, 2009 at 10:54 a.m. (report)

Nothing wrong with Topsy Turvey - it was the weather. We had plants in our topsy turvey as well as planted upright, and we got the same degree of growth in each. Plenty of stalk and foliage, but poor yield. It's not the planter, but other factors such as weather and care...

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 3.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5


Show me the other 7 Talkbacks
Post your comment/review now 12 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now

Facebook comments

Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.