Can "topsy-turvy" gadget help grow tomatoes?

June 27, 2011 3:21:08 PM PDT
If you're tired of those supermarket tomatoes, it may be time to grow your own. It's not hard to do, but choosing how to do it can get a little more complicated.

That's why Consumer Reports decided to check out a product that claims to help.

It's called the "Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter." Consumer Reports wanted to know if it was worth getting.

Tester Bernie Deitrick found it wasn't all that easy to set up. You have to work a fragile tomato plant through the bag with the stem poking through the hole. Then flip the bag over and fill it with potting soil, and lift the plant, bag, and soil overhead to hang.

All in all, a bit awkward.

Consumer Reports tested it out in a rooftop garden with 24 tomato plants in both Topsy-Turvy planters and regular patio boxes.

Both the patio boxes and the Topsy-Turvy planters yielded about the same quantity and quality of tomatoes. But, testers found the Topsy-Turvy plants are more vulnerable.

"Because the plants are hanging, they sway in the wind, and in fact, two of our plants broke off during wind storms," said Deitrick

Be aware that watering is a bit messier with the Topsy-Turvy. While you can't over water, dirty water drips out of the bottom and leaves stains below.

Also, the soil dries out more easily because the plant isn't shading the dirt.