Recent recalls of tomatoes in California and Florida reminded us of how good it is to grow your own. We just got the results of our tomato grow-off in which we pitted the Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato planter against tomatoes raised in regular patio boxes. The process was a little messy but the results were delicious.
During the growing season, we planted 24 tomato plants—half in regular patio boxes and half in Topsy Turvy planters, which you’ve probably seen advertised on TV. If not, as the image shows, the $10 planters are plastic bags with a hole in the bottom and wire loops at the top. You put the plant in upside down with the stem poking through the hole, fill the bag with dirt and hang it.
All our plants yielded about the same quality and quantity of tomatoes, but the Topsy Turvy had its drawbacks. For starters, it’s messy. Overwatering won’t drown the roots but dirty water will drip from the bag. That left stains below our planters. Two of our 12 Topsy Turvy plants broke off in windstorms because they can't be staked. And the soil dried out too easily because the plant doesn't shade the dirt.
So although the Topsy Turvy planter produced fine tomatoes and might be fine for someone who wants to grow them on a porch or deck, pots or boxes are a better choice. In the past, we've found that the Earthbox, $30, and the Self-Watering Patio Planter, $40, worked well. Read more...including the reader comments.