Friday, June 4, 2010

Make Your Own Topsy Turvy Tutorial

This is a Topsy Turvy. You can buy them anywhere from hardware stores to big box stores to even grocery stores. Interesting idea that allows you to hang your plant and then grow it upside down. Great for small gardens or apartments. But UGLY. It's a green plastic bag thingy. Bleh. And it's a small bag- meaning you will need to water that sucker more than once a day.

So last year a neighbor made his own version with painter's buckets. Hung them up just like the famous version above but also planted herbs in the top portion. They did great. So I insisted my father make me some this year of course. And so far they are doing quite well. They are heavy as sin so be sure you have someone who has strong arms to help you if you have wimpy arms like me.

Its so easy. Get any sturdy plastic bucket (or I'm sure a sturdy metal bucket would work well too). So a paint bucket or kitty litter bucket or whateversonhand bucket. Cut a hole in the bottom that is large enough to shove the bottom of the plant up into. You can't do it the other way around because it will likely break off the branches and such. So cut a hole. Dad used a saw but if I were doing this single wimpy girl style, I might also try the hole punch method. You know, take a hammer and a nail and make so many connecting nail holes that it eventually makes a cut out circle. But that might take a while so find a dad or husband if you can. Or be my hero and use your own saw.

You can of course use a white bucket. But a little spray paint goes a long way. We used black to make them sort of blend in more but you could of course do any color. Or even allow your kiddos to paint on them. I mean, at the end of the day it's an upside down tomato plant in a paint bucket. Don't make this overly complicated.

You will also need to figure out how and where you will hang this. Because the rest gets down after it's hanging up. As you can see below, these are hung from a brick wall using a metal hook. To lower them (when dad first hung them I couldn't reach the herbs), he added metal chain. This can be purchased at any hardware store and is very inexpensive. Be sure that you hang them from something sturdy though. These are VERY VERY HEAVY after all is said and done!

After you hang your bucket in a very very sunny location (see the yellow leaves, I made the mistake of first hanging them in a location that didn't receive full morning sun. They've since been moved to this wall and are much happier and full of flowers.), add some good soil. Then shove the tomato plant up the bottom. Then add more soil. You might need to sort of hold the plant and move the soil around to ensure it is tucked in nicely. Add herbs or flowers on top. And sit back and wait for every neighbor to think you are brilliant! They will react as if you just invented the internet. At first you will tell people you saw it online and then eventually you will tire of that story and will just smile and say thanks.

There are several reasons to make your own instead of buying them. First, if you have access to buckets and have spare paint on hand, this project is nearly free. Even if you don't (and I bet you do- how about a cousin or friend who is having work done on their home or has six cats that you sometimes find wandering the block? Ask to take their buckets off their hands. They will be happy to get rid of them.) , it's still a cheap project. Also, it offers about three times more soil for your plants. Plants like soil. The buckets also hold heat in them quite well. Tomato plants like to be toasty warm. They also hold water in them well. I water them no more than once a day- and if its overcast sometimes I don't water them that much. You can paint them to match your decor. And last but not least, it's just plain fun to say you made your own (better) version of something.


Suburban Princess said...

Great idea but they are just as ugly as the store bought one :O( Maybe the buckets need to be painted or something :O)

c said...

I'm thinking about using buckets instead of the topsy turvy next year, or actually in addition too. however, as of this moment, the two tomato plants I planted in the ground are looking much better than my TT one!


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