08 June 2011

Fruit on the vine

Warning: This post is completely off topic -- no quilts!

I spotted the first tomatoes on one of my tomato plants this evening.

I'm trying a new growing method this year. Last year I planted tomatoes in the only patch of dirt available to me, but there wasn't enough sun. In much of the San Francisco Bay Area, summer is foggy and cool and autumn is sunny and hot. So when the sun was high in July, theoretically able to reach marginal garden areas, Oakland tomato vines still shivered and waited for warmer days. By the time it warmed up in September (in truth even autumn wasn't very warm), there wasn't enough sun in the garden. So, a disappointing tomato crop last year.

But I'm trying a new strategy this year.

I'm growing tomatoes upside down on my south facing balcony. I rooted two plants in 5-gallon buckets hung from the rafters. The buckets have small holes cut in the bottom, with a few extra drain holes drilled around the bottom edge. The plants have grown vigorously since I transplanted the small starts a month ago into organic potting mix.

This spot is under an eave, so it will get less than ideal sun for the next month or so. But by the time it warms up around here the sun will be lower and the plants will get sun better than half the day, just in time to ripen up all that green fruit.


  1. Looking very good so far. I will be interested in seeing how they progress. Did you "make" the planters yourself?

  2. Cool, I like those planters. I am anxious to find a house so we can plant fruits and veggies...I want to plant a lot of vegetables!

  3. I've always wondered about that method of growing tomatoes. Let us know how it works for you.

  4. I've been wanting to try growing tomatoes like this, but don't really have the location, so I still plant them in my veggie garden. The thing I always wondered about is if the roots grow upwards... Hmm?

    I think everyone didn't have a great tomato harvest last year. It was just cold a good part of the year. Good luck on your tomatoes!

  5. Excellent idea! You can grow strawberries the same way.

  6. I did a similar thing...on the web i found a site that had 5 gallon tomato planting upwards...well, all i've been able to achieve is 2 little flowers it's now mid August in Eastern Ontario Canada and I am quite disappointed...think there wasn't enough sun...and we had a bit of a drought...any tips would be appreciated...my landlord will not let me hang them off the top of the balcony.