Upside down gardening is a viable alternative for those with very limited space in which to garden and for those that might have a little trouble getting down to ground level to weed and tend plants.
No garden tilling is necessary and those plants that must normally be staked, don’t have to be anymore. None of the harvest will ever touch the ground, giving gardeners another benefit to upside down gardening.
In an upside down garden, plants are suspended and hang down while they grow. You don’t need special pots but need to modify what you can get in a garden store.
The best type of pot to use for upside down gardening is plastic buckets and plastic hanging baskets. Large crops like cucumbers or tomatoes do well in a 5-gallon plastic bucket, and smaller crops can get away with a large hanging basket. All you do is drill a hole in the bottom. This hole must be about two inches in diameter so the stem of the plant can come through. Make holes smaller for smaller plants.
Use plants instead of seed in upside down gardening. Turn the hole-drilled planter right side up and place a small square of coffee filter over the hole. The plant will need to be anchored for a while until the roots start to grow and stabilize it in the pot. It also helps keep the soil in. Just make a small slit to allow the stem of the plant to come through.
Place the pot on the edge of a table or bench so that the hole is off the surface. You might want someone else there to hold the pot in place. Carefully insert the stem of the young plant through the slit and ease any leaves out through the slit and hole. This must be done carefully so as not to cut off any branches.
Hold the root ball in place and fill the pot with soil up to an inch of the rim. Tamp down as you fill to make it as stable as possible. Use potting soil instead of soil from the garden so the pot stays as light as possible. Plant lettuce or parsley seed in the top of the soil if you like to make multiple use of the planter, or plant some low growing flowers to make it look pretty, like petunias or moss rose. Hang the bucket or basket in a sunny place and water it completely making sure the water gets to the bottom.
There isn’t much maintenance to an upside down garden. There shouldn’t be any weeds to deal with, so the only thing that must be done is to water the pot regularly. It is suspended and moisture will evaporate quickly.
Water from the top and make sure it gets all the way to the bottom of the pot every time. You may notice the stems that should be growing downward take a turn and start to try and grow up. This is normal. Let it go because once fruit comes on the vine, the weight will make them go back down again.
You cannot grow huge tomatoes or other vegetables because the strain on the plant will be great. Try Roma, grape, cherry or other small types of tomatoes and don’t let cucumbers get to big before harvesting. Pick your vegetables before they get giant. The best thing about upside down gardening is you don’t have to bend down to pick anything.
Of course, tomatoes do well in in an upside-down garden as do cucumbers, but only use vining cucumbers because bush varieties do not do well. Small varieties of eggplant are suitable as are pole and bush beans. Try any type of pepper in an upside-down pot.
Upside down gardening is fun to do with kids. They enjoy seeing the plant come out of the bottom of the pot and have an easier time harvesting the vegetables. It is also great for older folk who might not have the ability to get down and dirty in the garden anymore. If anything, it will have all your neighbors talking.