I love tomatoes. Fresh off the vine, they might be my favorite food in the entire world. Unfortunately the ones purchased from the grocery store so rarely (if ever) have the same trancendental flavor. Thus I must get my yearly fix in the few short weeks that they are available locally during the harvest season – perhaps late July (at the earliest) through September. I have a good deal of plants at the community garden, a half-dozen varieties ready to be staked up to old trellises one they are big enough. And to maximize my harvest, I have a perhaps another dozen lined up in large pots in the sunniest sliver of my backyard.
This year, however, I devised a plan to use the last few square feet that might get enough sun to support life: I made four upside down (inspired by the “seen on tv” infomercial for the topsy turvy garden’s friend) tomato planters to hang along my small back porch.
The construction was simple and, at about $20 for all materials including the plants and dirt, cheap. First I bought 4 white buckets about a foot high and maybe ten inches in diameter. I cut a hole in the bottom (using a drywall saw was relatively easy) about 3 inches wide. Next I devised plant holders: one could hang them from screw hooks secured along the edge of a back patio, but I chose to have a 2 x 4 cut into four 18″ long segments and screwed them to the floor of my small porch so that they hung over the edge, about 5 feet from the ground. They key is that the location gets good sun, and the plants can grow about five feet from the planter.
Next I carefully threaded the seedlings through the hole, broke up the roots a bit, and watered them before adding dirt to fill the bucket. On top of the bucket I planted herbs. I hung them up and watered them again. Ta da!