Growing Food Upside Down
Growing crops upside down from homemade or commercially sold planters have taken off.
According to the company that licenses the Topsy Turvey planters, sales this year have doubled since last year, with 20 million sold since 2005.
For those with a garden hassled by weeds, pests and blight, this method or growing saves time as it reduces the need for pest control, which makes growing organic crops a cinch.
But there's no need to buy a fancy planter. Anyone can practice being green by using cast-offs such as gallon milk jugs, plastic buckets, soda bottles, even heavy-duty plastic trash bags, plastic reusable shopping totes, kitty-litter containers, laundry hampers, and used tires.
For those who are more aesthetically inclined, fancier water-proof containers can be bought cheaply from any home improvement center.
Simply cut a two-inch hole in the bottom of any water-proof container, thread a seedling down through the opening, pack strips of newspaper around the root ball to keep it in place and to prevent dirt from falling out. Fill the water-proof unit with organic soil mixed with organic compost, hang them up with sturdy steel hooks bolted to any structure exposed to sun and air, water the plant at the large opening at the top, and leave the rest to gravity.
This novel method of planting is especially well suited to indeterminate tomato varieties, cucumbers and peppers. Indeterminate tomatoes adapt well to being hung upside down because they have more sprawling stems, flexible stalks, and issue their fruit throughout the season rather than all at once.
Tomatoes are a particularly great choice because this humble fruit can be transformed in any kitchen into salsa, tomato paste, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, soups, juiced and even sliced thinly and dried in a food dehydrator. Homemade frozen, canned and dried tomato products can be enjoyed year-round.
Using an upside down system of growing crops has the advantages of saving space and money. There's no need to spend money on stakes, chicken wires, cages and it discourages pests, fungus, and weeds.
Now, those living in apartments with a window will be able to grow something deliciously edible. No space and no time won't be a valid excuses anymore.