How to Grow Upside Down Tomatoes – Backyard Food Growing

These planters are designed just for growing plants upside down, kinda cool and different. It’s pretty fun and great for small space gardening because they don’t take up any ground area at all. They are commonly used for tomatoes and peppers.

Tomatoes like a lot of warmth and shelter, so don’t place the pots under trees or in the shade. The slugs and bugs love them so protect them with organic pesticide or molluscicide. There is more information on how to combat slugs in this post here. They need good organic fertilizer in order to grow large and plump as well. 

*Molluscicide is a pest killer made specifically for slugs and snails

The Upside Down Planter

This is a simple invention for growing tomato plants easily while using no ground space at all. You just need a good strong hook installed to secure it up above. If you have a white sun-facing wall that’s sheltered from the wind, that’s the perfect spot for the tomato hanger. It’s warm, sheltered and sunny, just what tomatoes love.

How to Hang Them

The hanging system that you choose is up to you but it must be very strong and made specifically for this job.

Screw long hooks into the side of your house or screw a thick plank of wood to the house and then the hook get screwed in to that. Use a screw in bolt like this one to the right. The ones I used are 4″ long with the threads going along half way.

The top priority is to secure the hooks properly and ensure that it’s strong enough to hold the total weight of a large plant, moist soil and the harvest all together.

Plan ahead for 100 pounds or more on the hook. You won’t be able to move or improve your system once the plant has begun to grow.

It will get very large and unmanageable with many branches. It gets very heavy, very quickly. I learned this lesson when I put them on a shepherds hook, well that hook ended up bent right over. I tried a tripod type structure but I didn’t have success with that either so that’s what brought me to the super strong hooks in the wall system.

The hooks and board that they are screwed into are very strong. It’s a 2 x 6 x 12 plank fastened to the side of the house with several 6″ galvanized twist nails placed 12″ apart along the entire length.

The hooks themselves are solid steel, 4″ long with 2″ of thread and are capable of holding 125 lbs each. Those are screwed into the 2 x 6 and into the house as well. That will be strong enough to hold the plant and planter for the whole season.

Watering is very important and the amount of it required will be variable depending on the weather mostly. When it’s a bit rainy and damp outside the tomatoes might not need much water. As the weather turns warmer then you need to increase the watering schedule.

When the weather is hot, you might need to water your plants twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. This will give the plants consistent water that is required for steady healthy growth and will help to prevent the fruit from splitting.

Usually, the fruit will split due the the surges of water from inconsistent watering and even flash rain storms will do it. This happens because the skin does’t have time to stretch to accommodate the rapidly expanding fruit inside as it absorbs the rush of water, so the skin splits.

Fertilizer

I recommend feeding the plants twice during the growing season. Once when you plant them originally and then once about a month later after the plants have had a chance to get established.

This will ensure your plants have the lasting nutrients they need to sustain their rapid growth and fruit production throughout the summer season.

I prefer to use organic fertilizers. My favourite so far is the organic Tomato and Vegetable fertilizer from Dr. Earth. Also, seaweed and fish fertilizers like this one are great too. They are very smelly but the plants love it, but don’t get it on yourself.

Tomato Plant Types

Let’s start with Determinate and Indeterminate. These are the two major categories of tomato plants, separated by their individual growth habits.  

Determinate means that the plant grows to it’s expected height (usually around 3′ – 4′ tall), then stops sets fruit and then spends all of its energy ripening the fruit rather than growing more branches. Determinate plants are recommended for cold climates or short growing seasons where all the fruit needs to be harvested within a short time. Determinate tomato plants are sometimes referred to as “Cordon” tomato plants.

Indeterminate means that the plant grows and continues to make new branches and set fruit continuously until the season ends and the plant is killed by the frost setting in. These plants need a staking or caging system to help them stay supported under the weight of the fruit. Indeterminate tomato plants are sometimes referred to as “bush” tomato plants.

Tomato Plant Varieties

These links below are all to sets of young live tomato plants that you can order from Amazon. These are not seeds.

The young plants will have a much greater head start on growth and the upcoming fruit production over starting seeds. It’s also much easier for a beginner to start with a young plant than with seeds. All of the varieties listed below are Organic, Heirloom and Non-GMO.

Brandywine – Indeterminate – Cold Hardy – Fruit Size 1-2 lbs – 80-90 Days to Harvest
Sweet Millions Red Cherry – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: thumb tip to golf ball – 65 Days to Harvest
Yellow Pear Tomato – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: thumb tip to golf ball – 78 Days to Harvest
Black Krim – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 8 – 12 oz. – 69 Days to Harvest
Cherokee Purple – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 10-12 oz. – 80 – 90 Days to Harvest

Snow White Cherry – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 1″ – 2″ – 68 Days to Harvest
Caspian Pink – Indeterminate – Cool weather suitable – Fruit Size: 10-12 oz. – 80 Days to Harvest
German Green Beefsteak – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 12-16 oz. – 80 Days to Harvest
Great White Beefsteak – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: Large – 85 Days to Harvest
Rare Blue – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: Medium to Large – 80 – 90 Days to Harvest

Sungella Sungold – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: Golf ball – 74 Days to Harvest
San Marzano – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: Large, pear shaped 5″ long – 90 Days to Harvest
Hawaiian Pineapple Beefsteak– Indeterminate – Fruit Size: up to 2lbs – 80 Days to Harvest
Pink Lady – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 3″ – 4″ – Very Early, 54 Days to Harvest
Watermelon Beefsteak – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: up to 2lbs – 85 Days to Maturity

Stupice – Determinate – Fruit Size: 2-3 oz. – Cold Tolerant – 52 Days to Harvest
Roma/Plum – Determinate – Fruit Size: 2-4 oz. – 70-80 Days to Harvest
Black Sea Man Tomato – Determinate – Fruit Size: Medium – 75 Days to Harvest
Tumbling Tom Yellow Cherry – Determinate – Fruit Size: 1″ – 2″ – 70 Days to Harvest
Patio Tomato – Determinate – Great for Containers – Fruit Size 8 – 12oz. – 70 Days to Harvest

I hope you have a ton of fun growing hundreds of delicious tomatoes of all sizes, shapes and colours!

How do you grow your tomatoes? Upside down or right side up?
Please leave a comment below!

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