LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter is a space-saving, hanging planter that claims to grow a wide variety of veggies all season long. I purchased some soil and a seedling and headed to my apartment to put it to the test. Out of the box and I was on my way to set up the Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter. 'The world's easiest way to grow tomatoes.' That's the claim on the box, so I started by drilling a hole and setting the provided hook. With a piece of webbing, I dangled the planter to waist height and it was ready for planting.
I said, "Now that we have the Topsy Turvy rigging all set up and it's hanging at about waist level, it's time to insert the plant, upside down from the bottom."
I then carefully installed the pant with ease and locked it into place with a thick sponge. Next I filled the Topsy Turvy with almost two bags of soil and hung it in place, leaving a few inches form the top of the bag as directed. I poured plenty of water slowly into the top until it began dripping. The instructions emphasize plenty of water. Excess water drips from the bottom, so it promises no overwatering.
So as the days passed, I continued to water my tomato plant and it would grow by inches almost daily. It made a turn upward and spread its leaves toward the sun. After around three weeks, buds sprouted and shortly thereafter, I had some green tomatoes growing. All signs pointed to a healthy plant, until one morning I found the plant wilting. I noticed the stem was brown and decaying, so I supported the plant upward with a string. After a few more days, there was no improvement.
I said, "A decaying stem, wilting dead leaves, and only a couple buds of fruit, after over thirty days of care, the Topsy Turvy certainly wasn't the easiest tomato plant I've ever grown."
So after dropping $25 for a planter, soil, and a plant, I would say my green thumbs up topsy turvyed to a thumbs down NO for this week's "Does it Work?" test. The Topsy Turvy alone sells for just under $10 locally, but you have to purchase seedlings and soil separately. If you've had success or have run into the same problems with the Topsy Turvy, I want to hear from you to put your testimonials on kplctv.com. Submit your e-mails to email@example.com.
Web Extra: In all honesty, I was leaning toward giving the Topsy Turvy a YES until about a week prior to finishing this segment. The plant was growing rapidly and looked healthy for a while. To me, it looked like the no overwatering claim was a bit flawed. Not so much the plant having too much water, but more so what happens to the excess water. The images on the box show the plant growing down, but mine tilted in an up direction about an inch below the base of the planter. It then grew out horizontally. It seemed the excess water dripped down the stem and worked to slowly break down the stem from the outside with rot. This is what I am contributing to the death of my plant. I can't confirm this killed the plant though. A gusty wind from a storm, too much sun, very hot weather, or a diseased plant may have been contributors. Regardless, I made my YES/NO decision based on the primarily claim that it's the easiest way to grow a tomato. To me, this was not easier than placing a tomato plant in the dirt of a fenced garden as I did many times as a kid in Pennsylvania. I used an Early Girl 50 breed of tomato plant with Miracle Grow potting soil. Below is my care log for the plant.
TOPSY TURVY LOG
PLANT: Early Girl 50: Indeterminate $2.50
SOIL: Miracle Grow Potting Mix $10