Topsy Turvy Planter review: Tomatoes can grow upside down

The Product: Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter
The Price: $19.99 plus $7.95 shipping and handling
The Claims: Grows delicious tomatoes without the back-breaking work.
Buy-O-Meter Rating: 4 out of 5

Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter is a wacky, yet effective, way to grow tomatoes upside down. It's part of a line of Topsy Turvys that also grow strawberries, herbs and hot peppers.

I grew cherry tomatoes the Topsy Turvy way -- out my kitchen window on an eave hook that once hosted a bird feeder -- and the old fashioned way -- in my garden.

Topsy Turvy

I opened the plastic Topsy Turvy planting bag, slipped the tomato seedling into the slot, poured in potting soil and snapped on the lid -- the hardest part of the process. I watered the hanging plant every couple of days (the planter dries out quickly) and fertilized two or three times.

About eight weeks later, through a steamy summer, I had 40 or so cherry tomatoes hanging from a very unhappy vine. The poor thing seemed confused, growing down then up, searching for sun, afraid it might fall.

Somehow the cherry tomato plant stayed snug in the soil, though I wouldn't trust the planter to hold a vine of Big Boys or Beefeaters. The Topsy Turvy harvest was quicker and more bountiful than the seedling I planted in my garden. Near the end of the growing season, however, I ran out of space under my first floor kitchen window, and the plant was dragging on the ground.


My garden cherry tomato plant was hardy, leafy and handsome.

But in the same eight weeks, it produced only a handful of tomatoes, although its numbers finally caught up to Topsy Turvy. The garden plant needed staking, weeding and protection from deer and rabbits, who ate half my crop and probably wondered, "What the heck is that thing hanging outside the window?"

Bottom line

No planter can replace the satisfaction of tilling soil and nurturing a slender seedling into a luscious, tomato-dripping plant.

But not everyone has the space or desire to wrangle vines or pick cutworms off leaves. For them, Topsy Turvy is a great way to grow tomatoes -- upside down.

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