TEN REASONS TO GROW YOUR VEGGIES UPSIDE DOWN
- SPACE. If you don’t have space for a regular garden square but still want home-grown tomatoes or cucumbers or peppers or any of a gazillion other edible crops, you can throw your seedlings into a 5-gallon bucket, or an upside milk jug or 2-liter bottle and hang them from a fence post or a shepherd’s hook and voila!
- WEEDS. No weeds! In a regular garden you gotta keep the weeds from stealing the good nutrients and be careful not to disrupt the roots if you pull them because it can harm your actual crop. In a hanging garden, weeds are rare!
- PRETTY. You can paint the containers or wrap them in pretty shelf liner. The whole concept feels pretty bohemian and hippie-ish, but people are getting creative these days. But, you can add beautiful flowers on top to conserve moisture and protect the whole thing, all the while harvesting from below. Wouldn’t wave petunias look marvelous from up there?
- WATER. Less water. You water the containers and not a whole big garden plot of dirt.
- PESTS. The little critters like grubs and cutworms that are just waiting to munch down on your garden goodies and ruin them before you get the chance to enjoy: they don’t even know where your garden is when it is hanging! They are too short to get there, Ha! Take that, you little evil-doers! (And those egg-laying moths? They’ll now be at eye-level where you can battle them more effectively).
- NO STAKES OR CAGES ON VINING PLANTS.
- YOUR KNEES. “Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone,” could not be more true. If traditional gardening is hurting the bod, just think: you can water and harvest from a standing position.
- NO TILLING OR DIGGING. Takes less than 30 minutes to put together a bucket for hanging. Nearly painless.
- PREMIUM SOIL Because your “growing plot” is so small, you can afford to put the best quality, pre-fertilized soil in the container. Black gold!
- TIME. You’ll have more to enjoy the actual stuff you grow. Look up some recipes for all those juicy, red, home-grown tomatoes or how to utilize the many varieties of peppers you’re growing! You construct, you remember to water to and feed, you harvest. Delicious!
- BONUS (because I said there would only be 10): HEALTH. You can know what you’re eating from your own upside-down farm is healthy and pesticide-free because you grew it. Good for you. Good for your family.
The main drawback for me, frankly, is how sort of odd-looking they are. I hate the vinyl ones you see in TV ads and most of the online examples leave something to be desired, but I am on the look-out for how to make them more beautiful because until I get my farm and I am stuck with my small, suburban yard, I have to use available space!
I grew one tomato plant upsidedown last year (a 5-gallon bucket wrapped in a bamboo shade for aesthetics. It grew at a very fast pace, which was fun. Then it got hammered by a terrible hail storm in late June and one half of the mass and length were shredded. But it still produced a good amount of tasty fruit. I will be growing more upside-down stuff this year. I’ll keep you posted!
NOTE: This was in yahoo-news yesterday: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/20/garden/20tomato.html?no_interstitial