A few months ago I picked up a Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter, hoping that this well-known planter would prove to be as miraculous as everyone says it is. I’ve never grown tomatoes before, so I was a little nervous, but the pictures of flourishing tomatoes on the Topsy Turvy box were so fabulous that I went out to buy some Jiffy soil pellets and some seeds as soon as I could. I followed the tomato seed planting instructions to the best of my (limited) ability, and watched the little soil towers with an eagle eye, eagerly awaiting the first sprouts.
Tomato Seedlings Everywhere!
Just as the Jiffy pellet instructions said, tomato plants grow like weeds, and it wasn’t long before I saw the first tiny green shoots. YAY! Once they were big enough, I proceeded to transfer one of the baby plants to its new home. I carefully lifted one and gently placed it upside-down in the planter, following the directions on the Topsy Turvy box to a T, for fear that my little green baby wouldn’t survive the transplant. (Hey, I’ve been coddling the little darlings since they were seeds… I got a little attached, what can I say?)
Tomato Plants and the Topsy Turvy: Houston, We Have a Problem
But wait – there was only one hole in the tomato planter and I had sprouted loads of the little guys. What should I do?
I did what any common-sense person would do – I took a pair of scissors, and subjected the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter to some unexpected plastic surgery. I cut some 9 or 10 holes in the sides, so that it resembled the Topsy Turvy Strawberry Planter, which I bought at the same time as the Tomato Planter.
This way, if the plant on the bottom didn’t grow, I could at least have some tomatoes from the plants on the side, I thought. I had also sprouted some basil and chives, so I inserted them with some baby tomato plants into the Topsy Turvy to try to take advantage of some companion planting benefits. Even after filling it up, there were still some seedlings left, so I put them in individual pots.
Tomatoes Everywhere! Where to Put the Planter…
At first, I hung the planter up on a hook from the roof of my carport, but only a week later the Topsy Turvy Plant Stand went on sale for 4$ at Big Lots. (Joy!) So, I rushed to the store and bought the stand, hurriedly assembled it the next day, and I finally hung up both planters, one on each side of the stand.
Does the Topsy Turvy Tomato Stand Work?
Now, after watching the plants carefully, and struggling through flowers, worms, and nervous weeks of anticipation – the final verdict is in. Out of 10 plants, all of the plants are still alive, and there are two tomatoes reddening on a plant that is growing out of the side (my idea!) of the planter. The bottom plant is so brown and sad that I think the only thing it has on its mind is survival, not producing fruit.
The Bottom Line: Tomatoes Grow Up, Not Down
Some say the Topsy Turvy is miraculous, but it’s only proved disastrous for me. Had I left it to the planter, I wouldn’t even have one tomato from the Topsy Turvy. In fact, the plant on the bottom is still the same size as it was when I planted it in the Topsy Turvy, only more diseased and sickly looking from lack of sun.
On the other hand, the tomato plants I put in pots are thriving, and the first harvest is drawing near. (When I first saw the little bulbous fruits growing, I was SO excited, since I’ve always considered myself to have anything but a green thumb.) Don’t believe me? Judge for yourself!
Basically, the only reason the Topsy Turvy “technology” worked was because I took matters into my own hands, so we’ve learned a lesson here today. If something’s not working, sometimes it takes a little old-fashioned ingenuity, and some scissors, to make it work!
Have you ever ‘modified’ something to make it work for you?