Upside down tomatoes

I thought I’d give this a try, because I love the idea, although unproven.  Last year my tomato planted upside down in a juice jug was a total fail, probably not least because of the transparent jug, and inadequate gasket around the stem of the plant.  This time I roughly copied the technique of a guy I met hitchhiking (cute, and he gardens!), and the summer will tell if it’s a success.  Both of us saw this in the Lee Valley catalog, and although the special pots they sell are certain to be sophisticated technology, there has to be a way to make them work low-tech.

First things first!  Drive the nails or hooks where you’re going to hang them.  Because the moment you have one full, you’re gonna need to put it somewhere to get it out of your way.

The supplies: 2 gallon pots with 1 1/2” holes bored in the centre with a spade bit. I made two hanging loops off the top with baling wire by drilling small holes in the side of the pot lip. 5ml poly cut to more than cover the inside bottom of the pot, with an X slit in the center, and palm sized squares with one slit in them.
Seedling out of the pot, using the small plastic squares around the stem, with the slits opposing. Does that make sense? These two pieces collar the stem with their slits facing opposite ways. Then I plunged the root ball in the water to soften it.

It might have helped to have a 2” hole, because this part, folding the plastic over the root ball and stuffing it into the hole in the pot was very difficult. It meant jamming it brutally from the outside, and tugging hard on the plastic gusset from the inside. Felt very damaging.
2011 edit: Instead of wrapping the root ball with plastic first, just squish it good enough to get it through the hole
2011 edit: Once the ball is through, then put the two square slotted pieces (in my hand in this pic) around the stem under the root ball as shown in the second photo, above, and you can snug them up tight and make sure they’re flat.  Then add a little soil and water the surprised root ball.
View from inside the pot. The root ball and its two collaring plastic pieces have been pushed into the pot and through the poly piece covering the whole bottom of the pot, where the small pieces are smoothed out flat. The root ball is quite smushed and battered. The plastic around the stem of the plant is tight.
I was hanging them off the handle of the wheelbarrow to fill them from above with mixed dirt, and watering them once the pot was half full. Most importantly, don’t forget and set the pot on the ground anymore. It’s tough to remember. There’s a delicate little plant poking out the bottom now.
2011 edit: Here's how to set them so they don't get damaged. Nice stable surface too. I had such silly notions in 2010:) Also, I used a combo of baling twine and baling wire this time around, because the baling twine is a lot easier on the hands carting them around, but the baling wire is better for hanging them from.
I hung these three experiments from the eave and watered them. They look to me a little surprised to be inverted, like upside down question marks.

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