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first time (hanging garden)

Madera Acres, CA

Will my plants be to close as they grow & will it harm them if they touch each orther? I have tomatoes,strawberries & bell peppers in the white bucket.

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Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Im not an expert on close planting but when it comes to container plantings, I know the plants you mention will not make it unless you put them into a larger container as there will not be enough soil to support the amount of plants you have in one tub, also you need to realise that ALL hanging containers for some reason require a huge amount of watering as while hanging up, they dry out very quickly, think washing on a line to dry, it wont dry if left in a heap but hang it up to dry and within an hour it will be bone dry. I know that example is a bit of drama but the principle is the same regards drying out fast.
You must also be prepared to feed any fruiting annual plants as you want to get as much fruit from them as possible but dont over feed, that is just as bad as no feed.

Hope this helps you a little and you can adjust the soil and watering to cope with this way of growing.
Best of luck. WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

Thank u ..oh yeahhhhh..love this knowledge that being offered.

Madera Acres, CA

WeeNel I know u are correct.but as for my topsy turvy ivehad several friends tell me they worked great and good yeild of fruit/tomatoes.i dont let them go without attention & water.I do understand I can get alot more fruit with bigger buckets.I wonder how many tomatoes ill get with the topsy turvy.ivge heard good & bad.buthave seen real pics of awsome results from these things.any opinions?

Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

As a tree has grown, my topsy turvy is in too much shade for tomatoes, but makes a great home to several foliage plants that manage to overwinter in it the past few winters. I had given up on the "lid" immediately, and it's wired to its' support too well to bother moving it. The vines in it now are from cuttings stuck in the top, not the bottom. By the end of summer the past few years, they've covered the TT. So whatever happens this year, wanted to assure you the TT's should last for a few years.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

In truth, as I've said, I have never grown using this method, BUT I would imagine the outcome will all depend on a) the type of tomato your growing, Maybe the tiny basket or trailing cherry fruits would be a good testing plant, b) also depends on care, attention to watering /feeding AND climate as ALL baskets, hanging or otherwise dry out very fast in the heat even in the evenings when the sun has gone down.

As all gardeners will say, including myself, give it a go, learn from any mistakes / problems that occur and be ready to change things IF need be for the following year.

I've seen some great pictures of this method also but, they have been from the company that sells the baskets AND plants, so like doubting Thomas, I always err on the safe side by thinking the pictures of the growing plants yielding dozens of fruits have been grown in special area looked after by professional tomato growers because some friends who did try this method has nothing like the expected results to the extent that some actually discarded the trial way before the end of season due to the attention required, the difficulty watering and feeding within a busy lifestyle and the results were less than favourable well before the trial was completed.

Please believe me, I am NOT telling you not to grow anything this way, I was giving my own opinion / pit falls etc re this type of method from my own experience with hanging baskets planting which I still do but informed you of the type of constant care they require while growing. IT might be great if your able to apply the kind of care needed so as said, give it a go and what have you to loose, only a few plants.

Hope this helps clear up a few points re this method of growing fruit.
Have fun and remember your life will not depend on lots of tomato's or just a few.
you will have learned a lot along the way as we all do.
Best regards and happy gardening. WeeNel.

Lakewood, CA

I've grown several different types of tomatoes as well as bell peppers in Topsy Turveys with good results. I would prefer to grow in the ground but my younger dog will pick anything that remotely resembles a ball. Attached are pics from several weeks back. I live in zone 10b and have to water daily. Good luck.

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Lakewood, CA

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This message was edited Jul 6, 2013 10:30 PM

Madera Acres, CA

Jaguirre..Nice pics.the plants look great which makes me wonder what type of soil & fertilizer you use?or is ita premix soil?

Lakewood, CA

I used an organic potting mix and an organic fertilizer for tomatoes from my nursery. I'm not 100% sure of the brand names but will check this weekend.

Madera Acres, CA

Ok.WeeNel id like to ask when you live in a area that has heat waves (california),central valley.it is just to hot my tomatoes have stopped growth completey but still look strong & healthy.So heres the question- "will it help to move my tomatoes (which I've already done) to the shadiest part of the house that only gets abot 3-4 hrs. of sun daily &by the time the sun hits em it is real hot already so I put up a shade sheet but it still lets plenty of sun threw"....will this be good,I can't see leaving them in the blistering sun would do any better.I know its not good to keep moving your plants but the sun is also frying the pollen & flowers.I got real happy(novice gardener) when I seen my plants flowering I still have flowers that look as if they are perfect & may set fruit.BUT THE PLANTS HAVE NOT GROWN IN SIZE AT ALL..I see tomato plants in backyards of other people & theirs are real bushy..haha..oh & I had them in the direct sun for a few weeks jus frying the heck out of em before I moved them..so lay it on me.I NOW HAVE THEM IN A SPOT THAT KEEPS MORE SHADE BUT NOT MUCH SUN & I PUT UP MURLAP SHADE MATERIAL BUT IT'S HOLES ARE THIN & SUN GETS THROUGH.I'm confident in my decisions & often trust my own advice but I also respect others especially folks that know the history & real facts.I appreciate your time truly.looking forward to a response

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Thumbofgreen, Can you tell me what type of Tomato Plants you have as even though I don't use this method of growing tomato#s, I can tell you that tomato plants are greedy feeders, Must have a good drink I would say in your case morning and night,
IF you have tomato plants that are normally grown in say final size pots of 10-12 inches with good quality compost and when flowers appear, they are fed at a regular interval.

I do grow a smaller type of tomato that's fruit's are cherry tomato's and these can be grown in a smaller pot as the plant is smaller buit fruit's are abundant.
These smaller tomao plants can be grown in much less amount of soil BUT, in your type of heat I would think they require a larger size of pot rather than the small type you have.
It is a well known fact that ALL hanging baskets, pots and other containers like the plastic sleeves that are popular now, these all dry out very fast and the soil gets cooked also, there is a lot of root within the soil as the plants get growing and this means less space for the soil to take up the amount of water the plant requires to stay healthy. even feeding more often wont change that as again, less soilto hold the water with added feed.

To be honest with you, IF you have been trying to grow the normal type of tomato, I would consider taking them down, re-pot the plants into larger pots and better quality compost / soil with compost mixed as you need humus to help hold onto moisture, and feed at the times you need to use feed as more flowers are produced. Also IF you do go for larger pot's, try find a saucer to sit the pots into so that there will be water there to be soaked up, I pour excess water away from the saucers after an hour.

IF in fact you are growing the trailing type of plants with the smaller fruit, then maybe they just need put into a larger container to give them more soil to help the uptake of more moisture.
Remember tomato's are mostly water with skin to help hold the moisture /juice within.

Maybe NOT what you wanted to hear but maybe others will come on board and help you out with other ideas, is there any adverts you can find showing this type of growing method, if there are, then maybe worth getting in touch, tell them the name pf the plants you have, the soil type, the container size and also the temps the plants are in.
By the way before I close off here, I think you were right to remove the plants from the hot sun BUT if you go back to growing in the normal large pots with a saucer under the pot, then you should be able to put them back in the sun for a bit longer.
Hope I've given you food for thought and something can be done to help you out as your working so hard to make this tomato growing a success.
Best of luck. WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

WeeNel...here are a few picks.I'd say I'm doing good for getting a late start.My plants should be bigger but here in California I still have plenty sunny days.I took a break from all (point of views) internet & personal.I took my own advice & I'm doing great but I also took what I've learned here & moved along.out of discipline I told myself to not get carried away asking to many diff.people.I've relized a lot of people have there own opinion & it became to overwhelming.but things are looking great.I do have fruit on my tomatoes & bellpepper,strawberries,peppers pretty much everything I planted but all is a little behind in season but doing good..here is a few pics

Madera Acres, CA

If u zoom in u can see fruit setting (little balls)..must say i was excited .."tomatoes".

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Madera Acres, CA

Here is the topsy turfy..not to big but honestly I drive around my city & I see people with these topsy ts. & they are dieing,yellow leaves & jus look unhealthy.I have ATTENTION FOR DETAIL & I never leave my plants unattended.I jus dnt think they understand how much u cant half ass using these topsy turfys.they dryout fast due to (space) & u must add (fertilizer)cuz we only have so much room for roots..I do alot.as far as adding soil..I have peat moss mixed in.& also I am patient & gentle as far as fertilizer.

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Madera Acres, CA

This is jus one of my bellpepper plant(setting fruit).its awsome

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Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Thumbofgreen, I'm so glad you sent in an update, these tomato's look good to me, your NOW sound good and more settled into growing stuff, it shows in your attitude and the proof of the pudding is in the making /growing ha, ha, ha.
People don't only have their own opinions at times, BUT, they also learned their own methods of doing things that work for them, and by taking a backward step from asking too many different people questions and getting bogged down with all the varying ways to do the same stuff is overwhelming to the extreme, as you pointed out.

NOW you've done the right thing at last, learned a lot BUT at the end of the day, went with your own gut instincts that probably include a bit of this and a bit of that you learned along your journey.
I'm so delighted for you, very proud of you for sticking with it and happy to learn you have finally relaxed.
Probably the plants feel that loss of tension too LOL. By the tone of your words, you have sent that tension along the road to your neighbours with their poorly looking plants ha, ha, ha.

Pleasure to have been part of your journey into gardening and maybe you will still keep growing and asking questions. OH YEH, and savour that first taste of a home grown Tomato.
Good Luck and Kindest Regards. WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

All is well although I do have a tomato plant in a topsy turvy that just won't grow.it looks nice & healthy but no progress from this one plant..I believe I know why.Wheni started my garden I mixed peat moss with the soil to keep moist longer since I was using containers.I think I put to much peat.IT BLOWS MY MIND THAT I HAVEN'T WATERED THIS PLANT IN ABOUT A WEEK & AHALF & THE SOIL IS STIL MOIST..HAHA.this is the onlyplant that I some how went wrong.it jus stays moist I can't believe it

Madera Acres, CA

Hey WeeNel..its real exciting because I'm a greenhorn gardener.but id like to show you the progress of my bellpepper plants boy these things are getting huge.when I'm off work I post a few pics.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

thumbofgreen, cant wait to see the fruits of your labours and just as excited as you are because I feel I lived and breathed topsy turvy Tomato growing plants ha, ha, ha.

Pity about the single plant that has not done so well, as you say, probably too wet at the roots and not enough nutrients getting held in the roots, but again, you have learned and discovered where it went wrong so your doing great.
Very proud of all your hard work.
Best Regards. WeeNel.

Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

Agreed, this has been exciting to "watch." Sorry about the one tomato also, but that's a lesson nobody believes until they see it personally. (Most) plants that never dry out/stay too wet, do not do well. Continued good luck and learning!

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Thanks for joining in Purpleinopp, I felt for a few weeks it was just me and thumofgreen against the world LOL, I'm just so happy for thumbofgreen that everything all of a sudden began to fall into place and it sounds like they are also starting to enjoy his first step into gardening.
I still remember my plastic container I filled with cotton wool and wet it, spread Cress seeds onto the wet cotton wool and within a few days I had what I thought was a forest of lush green edible plants, jeeeeez I was about 5-6 years old, I have never eaten cress since then. Here in UK boiled eggs and cress mixed together is a favourite sandwage filling, NOT even IF you paid me to eat it would I be able to swallow it, We were brought up to know you cant waist food so if you grow it you eat it, Yeh, that went out of the window when I had my own home ha, ha, ha. IF you cant eat it, find someone who can, that will do nicely ha, ha, ha.

happy gardening and kind regards. WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

Sorry I havnt put up any pics like I said I would..my phone has no memory so ill have to clean it out & I will show you those bell peppers they are doing great.such a fun plant to grow(as if it needs nothing but a lil watering)& the plant is happy growing in size by the day..not sure if I mentioned I also have more vegetables growing that arnt in the pics..I have chocolate,lavender,purple bells also I plated these a lil late & out of six i only kept three,so it will be fun to see which ones I have kept(they were all diff.types).so it will be a surprise.I also have a Roma tomato plant that is just loving the weather & doing great especially with this cool down.I have jalapeno peppers doing good lots of little peppers everywhere.& only on plant of strawberries.also doing well but going slow..now I must introduce one of my first problems "APHIDS"..they have arrived.haa.but I am staying calm & not stressing to hard.I was a lil worried at first but they are only on the (mixed variety) of bells.so 3 plants.I've been lightly spraying an organic spray in the evening.most go away but they come back pretty quick.I'm open to any suggestions on these little critters.thanks.may all have a good day,thumbofgreen

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Tut, Tut, Tut, thumbofgreen, what a bummer, your doing the right thing by spraying, not sure what your using but I first try using washing up dish soap, a teaspoon in water and mix with a couple of pints elbow tested warm water, spray this on the plants and don't forget to do both sides of the leaves and stems, you said the go away but come back next day, well these little bugs lay eggs at the rate of knot's and one little fly or aphid can lay hundreds of eggs that develop into new flies within hours. next day they lay eggs in the hundreds and before a few days pass, you have thousands, so keep at it.

If there is a heavy infestation, I gently quash the collection of aphids on each leaf then spray the remaining ones off with the liquid soap as this helps clean all the dead or injured ones off the leaf. keep at the spray for as long as it takes and it will eventually get rid of them all.
Best Regards. WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

Baby bells.I love these.maybe cuz they seem less stressful compared to my tomato plants.

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Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Thumbofgreen, Once you got to grips with your new found way of growing your Tomato's, the Stress you had should have receded, I hope. Way at the start, don't know who was more stressed about these plants, you or me, LOL.
The Pepper plants look great and do remember, your growing them the way nature developed them to be grown, I hope the Aphids are terrified of your spray gun and just take off ha, ha, ha, but keep an eye on all the plants your growing as once you have these bugs, they do move along the growing area and latch onto any other plant they fancy, keep lifting up the leaves, especially the young tender new leaf tip's as these are an even easier target for those horrid little creatures, and it's easier to crush a few new infestations with a little cluster than to tackle a plant that is smothered in them.
Proud of your new found skills and very happy for all your enthusiasm towards your new found hobby, gardening can be a life saver to some and a torture for others but for either, it's healthy and rewarding and you learn new skills as you progress.
Stick with it and just enjoy your fruits of labour.
As always, best regards and happy harvesting.
WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

jalapeno peppers..I understand my plants arnt very big but I appreciate having the chance to show someone especially after all the work,thinking & headaches..not to say the hard work is done but I must say it is exciting to see fruit that you yourself has grown..I've had a little break from the labor (beside these aphids) but I'm thinking I got till about fri & ill have to put cages on my tomatoes.let's see how that goes.& I will have to find a new location of course cause rite now they are hung up on a fence for good sunlight.I can't put cages there.kinda worried about the move but it should go well.

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Madera Acres, CA

Update-topsy turfy setting fruit.

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Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Now the Tomato's have started to set fruit, it is time to begin feeding the plants, give a liquid Tomato feed half strength for the first time, then a few days later, give the second half dose, the following week if all is well after that first feeding, give full dose every few days till the fruits are ready.
Always feed only the recommended strength given on the bottle of feed, as over feed can cause mountain's of Problems, and also you need to stick to a strict watering regime or the fruits can split, if you neglect the watering then add a good amount (That will be needed) you cause the fruits to split and this allows diseases to get into the fruits, it also attracts wasps and ants that love the sap that seeps from the fruit as it contains sugars.

this all sounds a bit dramatic and dont want you to fret but these problems dont happen over night they are slow to get hold and you will notice these problems IF they were ever to arise.

Take good care and keep in touch with the progress, it is great to read the next stage of your growing project.

Best Regards. WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

Hey thanks again WeeNel.will do.I've heard about the splitting.but it still helps with you reminding me as to how serious it can effect the plant..yeah I gave it half dose of fertilzer last week.almost time for full dosage.I REALLY USE THIS ADVICE SO PLEASE CONTINUE TO TELL ME THE STAGES AS I WILL DO THE SAME.anyhow,check out what I did today.almost shed a tear cuz I ripped off a few small branches(one which had fruit on it)but not to worry it will only help the plant grow in other areas.lol
Have a good day fellow gardeners I'm tired gona relax & get ready for another day.but not before a little me time.haha

Madera Acres, CA

Caged-due to dogs & lots of children.lol
I know its a little cluttered in there

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Madera Acres, CA

Darn it...one bellpepper turned brown on bottom half.WHY?

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

This problem is caused when the soil has been allowed to dry out before giving water and it seems to happen at a crucial time when the fruit are developing, I would remove any fruits, Tomato's, Peppers, cucumber or any other type of fruiting plants you have that are showing signs of this END ROT disease.
I promise you Thumb, this is quite a common disease and you will learn as you go along all these things to watch out for and be able to be way ahead of these problems or spot them sooner next year when you get growing again. IF you dont remove the fruit, the brown spot will form a mushy pulp and it will then spread to the whole fruit which in turn will spread as a fungus to some other fruits.

For now, just make sure you keep up the watering and dont allow the soil to dry out. also remember to feed half dose every week to ten days as the plants will be using up lot's of energy forming and filling out fruits, that includes Tomato's, Pepper's and stuff like that.

Now you've had your little rest, " me time" it's time to get off your bum and go to it LOL. It's 10 : 30 evening here and I am bushed too but our weather has turned cold, wet and nasty so hope our summer has not left us, I had to rush out and put some plants in my greenhouse for shelter from the cold night air, seems ridiculous to some people and me too.

Keep focused and keep an eye on the plants for trouble,
Best wishes and kindest Regards. WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

e I always run and put my problem here on the forum cause I know ill get great answers but before anyone answers I'm gona take a stab at it & say I have B.E.R due to over feeding.I say this cause the past few days I've been busy & rushing in my garden & I'm watering this plant too much..

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Well then thum, you've answered your own question clever thing, stop watering and use the finger test, poke your finger into the pot a few different places and if the soil is dry, water, IF wet, don't water
your doing good for someone who has never grown fruiting plants before. stop fretting and just go with your gut feeling as before.
Best Regards, keep up the good work. WeeNel.

Madera Acres, CA

You nailed it...I let them dry up the other day.then I watered heavy.I am positive that is what happened..

Madera Acres, CA

Ok WeeNeL I need ur opinion.should I spray a little milk on the bellpepper plant to control calcium levels.I read that this is quite common..or should I jus let it be & keep a consistant watering schedule.regardless I think I'm gonna crush a bunch of eggshells & boil them(not for long I dnt want to kill the calcium it offers) then water the plants with eggshll water.
????what do u think.

Madera Acres, CA

I almost want to cut open the topsy turfy & put it in a larger container.that bag they are in seems way to small.honestly this will be my First & last year using the upside down tomato grower..the branches curl up toward the sun & are gona snap when fruit becomes heavy & the biggest defect is the water drains directly on the plant..beginning to get annoyed by this t.t...although my plant is doing well.these thugs are just a hassle

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

The best thing to take from your first go at growing things is to take all you have learned and next year you will not use the methods that you struggled with but advance to the methods that gave you confidence, watched good results and go on from there.

I don't know anything about spraying milk onto foliage IF anything, I would go against it as lot's of insects can be attracted to the smell of sour milk as it deteriorates BUT please believe me, I know nothing about this stuff or the results,
Calcium, can be added at the time you feed your plants, instantly, all you need is look for liquid feed that has a higher ratio of calcium, look for feeds that have seaweed extracts as these are NON chemical and help with flowering, green up a plant if flagging, and help with fruit formation BUT as always, Thumb, never make the feeds too strong and IF using another type of feed when using a new type, stop using the old feed or you will over feed and have a build up in the soil.

I was trying to give you that same info re the container the plants (Topsy Turvy) were in at the beginning of your new venture as Tomato plants in fact ALL fruiting plants have and need a large intake of water but as a constant flow or watering regime and NOT let the plants sit in wet soil BUT, with the Topsy ones, there is not enough soil in the container to hold onto water / moisture and as the plants mature / grow more roots, these take up lots of room within the container too so you have to ask yourself, how much room is left for soil to get wet allowing roots to soak up there natural amount of water / feed.

As I've said before Thumb, this first season should really be fruitful BUT most importantly, a learning curve for you, and I think your doing great, all you and every gardener can do this year is the best they can as believe me, your not the only person who has struggled with Tomato's, Peppers and more, it's been excessively hot in some places that dont normally get so hot for LONG periods, and spring was very, very slow to get off to a start too for lot's of people and for many others, the growing season didn't get going till way into JUNE, that's late for growers as these type of plants only have a short few months to grow, form flowers then try against boiling heat to form fruits, so it's really a hard year for more folks than you can imagine and not just in USA, Canada, Most of Europe and here in cooler UK we have had cold, wet and dark spring then immediately right into excessive hot sun and we are really NOT used to that. we have had tree's wilting in parks and that's NOT the norm.

You have to stop beating yourself up and try accept this is as new a type of growing method as it is a really difficult growing season for most.

Best Regards and good luck. WeeNel.

Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

Sorry I haven't had much to say, you don't want advice growing veggies from me. I do well to get anything from ground plants, let alone in a container. I still think topsy-turvy is better suited to creeping tropical succulents, but love watching anyone do anything with one. Especially the thing that's probably most difficult - to use as intended.

Cheering you on!

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