I think we’re going to try again this year.
On the heels of failure last year.
I’m not really sure where Kris came up with the idea. Perhaps it was on a stroll through Home Depot, but it amounted to growing a tomato plant out the bottom of a pot. Right: upside down.
You get said plastic pot, cut a small hole in the bottom and feed a just-growing plant out to the waiting world, fully confident that sufficient water will remain in the pot to feed the inverted roots. Maybe that’s where we went wrong — the watering part.
For the record, Kris has had reasonable success over the years farming tomatos in the traditional manner. She grows at least four different types in a terrace above the pool, typically seeing an impressive crop every year. Based on that success, the inverted version seemed no big thing. Granted, you can get the whole thing in kit form, but that hardly seemed like a challenge — at least the first time around.
So we set to work. According to the information we had, we cut the holes in two plastic pots to be only slightly larger than the the plants that were roughly three to four inches high. On top of the plants we stuffed a soil of sorts that was mixed with very small wood chips — you would think were there to retain the water ( probably our critical mistake). The trick was to avoid damaging the fragile plants. Using coarse wire we secured each pot from latticework near the pool, adding enough water to actually run from the holes. We took “before” photos and waited for the miraculous transformation.
About three weeks went by. Nothing. Four weeks. Still nothing. Six weeks, untold gallons of water, and only minimal growth from one of the plants. Finally, we admitted to the obvious: upside down tomatos were not in our future. In fact, as the season went, the tradionally planted tomato plants on the terrace didn’t do a whole lot better, thanks to the attack of the spider mites (another story).
Our conclusion: use real dirt. Or get the kit.