This spring I was excited to find the Topsy Turvy tomato growers at the low, low price of $5 a piece at our local Menards. I had been eyeing this product for more than a year, but last year they cost about $20 a piece, and I wasn’t willing to spend that kind of money on these devices.
Our yard is fairly small, but in my ideal world my husband and I would be able to grow a large amount of produce and preserve it for the winter and early spring months. Using my skills as a professional organizer, naturally my first idea was to more effectively use our vertical space since our ground space is fairly limited. I purchased nine of this Topsy Turvys and went to work planting my little seedlings in them (the one on the far left is a different brand, but it did no better than the Topsy Turvys).
This photo was taken the middle of June.
Although our tomato harvest in general was terrible this year, the tomatoes that were planted in the ground yielded at least 2-3 tomatoes each, the plants in the Topsy Turvys produced only diseased fruits, if any at all – we may have gotten to eat one of the Topsy Turvy tomatoes.
I recently learned that the type of disease that was manifesting in the Topsy Turvy tomatoes (end rot) is often caused by the plants not being able to absorb enough calcium, which can be caused by inconsistent water availability, especially in containers. I did notice anytime that I watered the plants it seemed like the water just ran straight out of it – so perhaps the soil I used (a potting mix with a slow release fertilizer) was not holding the moisture properly.
At the end of the season I pulled down the Topsy Turvys and was quite disappointed to note that there was no way I’d be able to reuse these containers as I had hoped. The plastic sack structure that holds the soil is made out of a type of plastic that apparently can’t take the heat – it was severely faded and the majority of the bags were either ripped or starting to rip – I’m sure glad I didn’t pay full price for these!
I have yet to hear one good thing (from a real person, not the web) about this type of container growing system. I absolutely can’t believe that on the Walgreens website that this product got even 3 out of 5 stars in their customer review section. Have you used this product? If you have, please take a moment to leave a comment below about your experience with it.
I am however, still very much intrigued in how we can increase our garden produce using vertical spaces. What other solutions have you small-space gardeners used to increase your production?
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