By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
For some individuals, growing tomatoes can be a challenge.
Space and time are some of the top reasons why people do not grow them.
Another reason is experience and while tomatoes are known to be an easy plant to grow, there still exist brown thumb gardeners that fail at this task.
To help those individuals with brown thumbs and those who say they do not have the space, a simple gardening project has been designed and it all starts with getting to know your local pizza company.
One may wonder why a pizza company, well the answer is simple.
Pizza companies go through a lot of tomato sauce and the buckets that the sauce comes in are perfect for planters. They are plenty deep and the plastic is food grade, which is very important when one is using plastic containers to hold plants that will be eaten.
To begin this process, starts with drilling a hole in the bottom of the container. The hole needs to be large enough to hold the stem of the plant without being too big. So this part may require a little trial and effort. Once the hole has been drilled, add a few smaller holes in the bottom for drainage. Then, thoroughly wash out the bucket with soapy water and a little bleach. Rinse with clean water and let dry completely in the sunlight.
After the bucket is completely dry, the next step is to lay down several paper coffee filters in the bottom of the bucket. Once that is done, guide the tomato plant down through the bucket stem first until the larger hole is reached. Then, gently continue to guide the plant through the hole. Adjust the plant so that there is as much of the stem in the container as possible while allowing at least two sets of leaves to stick out from the bottom. Remove any leaves that remain inside the bucket.
Once this is done, it is time to add soil. An all-purpose potting soil mixed with good amount of seasoned compost is a good choice for this type of container. Prior to using this soil, mix into the mixture magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt. This simple substance will help the plant produce more blooms.
After the soil has been mixed, fill the bucket with this soil mixture and water in. Add additional soil as needed.
To help keep the soil moist, plant the top of the bucket. Basil and/or marigolds are an excellent choice.
Now your DIY upside down planter is ready to hang. When hanging your planter make sure the hook is strong enough and that the planter will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Also, make sure that it is not hung so high that it cannot be watered easily. Not being able to reach the planter easily can cause this type of planter to fail.
Continue to care for the tomatoes in this planter just like you would any other tomato plant with one exception. A planter that is hung tends to require more water and since tomatoes require so much sunlight, this planter dries out easily. So continuously monitor soil moisture.
So until we blog again, may your home be graced with tomatoes from above.