DIY Upside Down Gardening Ideas
Upside down gardening can be a creative way to grow vegetables for anyone who has limited space and can be an alternative to traditional container gardening. Typically, upside down planters are less work and also reduce weeds and the risk of soil problems and pests.
What Can Be Planted Upside Down?
Upside down tomatoes are fun and easy to grow. Many other fruit, herb and vegetables can be grown in upside down planters. By trial and error, I discovered vining plants and plants with small root systems can grow very well in a container as small as a soda bottle. I had success with beans, peppers, small tomato plants. Larger containers are suited for cucumbers, larger tomato plants and eggplant. Larger tomatoes and vining plants just hang down and never need tutoring and have fewer pests and rot problems.
How To Make An Upside Down Planter
Last year I was trying enlarge my garden by finding ways to use vertical space. I came across a post made by Mike Lieberman from Urban Organic Gardener about making planters from soda bottles. The idea was charming for those who have no space for gardens. I gave it a try with a twist. I planted my tiny tim tomato plant upside down and added a leaf lettuce at the top.
His plants where on top of the soda bottle. I put mine under because the upside down planters are suspended high. There was not much space between the porch roof and the top of the bottle.
Upside Down Planter Improvements
The soda bottle planters are clear plastic and let light in. Vegetable and herb roots should always be in the dark. My upside down planters needed daily watering. During heat waves the plants needed to be watered twice a day. By spray painting the planters white some of the sunlight gets reflected away. I was able to reduce watering.
I found an opaque 1 gallon plastic jug perfect for an upside down planter. The container was large enough to accommodate a plant at the bottom and one at the top. Lettuce, radishes, cress and herbs grow very well at the top, provided the container is large enough.
What Type Of Soil Mix Is Good For Upside Down Gardening?
Upside down planters can dry out quite fast especially if placed in direct sunlight. The soil mix used should hold water and nutrients. The best soil mix that has worked for me, was one that consisted of lots of compost, peat moss and vermiculite. Vermiculite absorbs water and makes it available to the roots when needed.
Upside down planters are great projects for kids or any one with limited space who wants to grow food. Planters are easy to make with recycled material. Choose between soda bottles, suspended plant containers, jugs and 5 gallon buckets, they all work great. But the only advantage I see is for those who have very limited space and want to use vertical space effectively.