Hanging Tomato Plants

Cooking With Wood

Bruce Wood

I've been growing tomato plants in hanging planters for a few years now. I find hanging the plants upside down makes them easier to care for and less prone to disease. They are easier to pick, they don't take up lawn space and it keeps them away from the animals.

I like to grow heirloom tomato plants to get a wider variety of fruit. Reds, Whites, Yellows, Blacks, Purples, even stripes. There are two types of tomato plants. Determinate and Indeterminate. Determinate plants will grow to a termination point, where indeterminate plants will continue to grow taller and longer like a vine. When growing tomato plants upside down in hanging planters, indeterminate will grow on forever. Yet determinate plants work just as well.

I bought 5 gallon buckets and lids from Home depot, only because they were the least expensive buckets and lids I could find. The Home Depot buckets work well, but the bright orange color and picture of the Home Depot Bucket Boy were not very appealing to my garden plan. So I bought some brown spray paint primer to tone them down. I made a mylar stencil of a geometric design and with the help of my grandson we painted the design on two side of the buckets.

I drilled one 3 inch hole in the bottom of the bucket. Then I drilled several 1 inch holes in the lid of the bucket.

Set the bucket right side up on a couple of planks or inside a smaller bucket so the plant can be placed through the hole and hang down without getting damaged. Place some dirt in the bottom of the bucket and pat it into a funnel shape down to the hole in the bottom of the bucket. Carefully hold the plant upside down and feed the leaves an branches down through the hole in the bottom of the bucket. Place more dirt on top of the bottom of the upside down plant (what!?). Continue placing dirt into the bucket until it is full. Pat the dirt down to make it firm. Place the lid on top of the bucket and snap it in place.

Now turn the bucket and lid upside down (which turns the plant right side up). Fill in any voids in the dirt around the plant through the 3 inch hole in the bottom of the bucket. Add some water if necessary.

I like to leave the potted plants in the upright position for about a week so the plant can start spreading roots and acclimate itself to the bucket.

When ready, grab the handle of the bucket and carefully turn the bucket right side up. Hang the bucket by the handle in a place where it will get plenty of sun. Keep an eye on the moisture of the soil in the bucket. The soil will dry out faster than plants on the ground. It may need a little water every day.

I trim many of the branches that don't produce fruit off the plants. That way more of the plants energy goes to producing tomatoes ( I Hope).



TomatoCAM Gallery

Basic Home Depot Bucket

Drilling Hole in Bucket Bottom

Drilling Holes in Bucket Lid

All Buckets and lids drilled.

Ready To Plant

Full Bucket of Dirt

Lid on

Finished Bucket

All Hung Up

Plants Reaching Upwards
More Photos