Growing upsidedown Tomatoes

Discussion in 'Photography and Art' started by Durgan, May 4, 2006.

  1. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    http://www.durgan.org/4%20May%202006%20Testing%20Growing%20Upsidedown%20Tomatoes./HTML/ Pictures depicting the method I chooose, with captions on the bottom left of the pictures.

    There is a lot of babble from commercial interests about growing tomatoes upside down. Mostly about supplying the containers. There are few convincing pictures on the internet, so I am trying an experiment by growing two and possibly three plants.

    At first sight there seems to be some advantages to this method, no staking, freedom from soil pests and fungi, complete control over watering, and small space requirements.

    I have three plants set ready to grow on an eight foot frame in full sun. The tomatoes are Manitoba and Russian Krim. I intend to add one more, Sweet Million.

    So far the plants are outdoors during the day, hanging upside down. I find the plants curl their leaves to find the sun, so I rotate upright to get straight growth on alternate days. Plants have some unknown structures called statoliths which cause roots
    to grow toward gravity and stems to grow away from it. Also, the five gallon pail I chose is semi-translucent, and the roots are now completely at the other end of the bucket, which may be the plant trying to grow upright. I added a black cloth to eliminate light at the end oposite to the plant. I have not added water after the initial wetting at the time of planting. The perilite in the professional soil mix seems adequate.

    The plants are very healthy with super strong stems. They cannot be put out until about the third week of May. I have two similar plants for garden use which will be a sort of control.


    http://www.durgan.org/5%20May%202006%20Support%20for%20Upsidedown%20tomatoes/HTML/

    Here are pictures of the support for the upsidedown tomatoes. The location is full sun and the support is more than adequate.



    Durgan.


    Anyway, I will periodically update.

    Durgan[/SIZE][/FONT]
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
  2. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Two pictures of the hanging.

    Two pictures of the hanging.
    http://www.durgan.org/10%20May%202006%20Hanging%20upside-down%20tomatoes/HTML/

    Hanging tomatoe plants upside down. The Manitoba and the Russian Krim I grew from seed. I purchased the Sweet Million from a greenhouse. It is too small to hang upside down, since the bucket shields the plant from the sun most of the day, so I will leave it upright until it gets larger.

    I put a stake inside the bucket to tie the main stem to keep it straight, since it tends to curl due to the effect of statoliths, plus the leaves tend to follow ths sun.

    I have clear plastic bags to cover in the event the weather turns cold, which is highly likely until the first of June, but the long rang weather forcast is favourable.

    I also have hooks to tie the plant if the fruit gets too heavy. They will be tied to support holes at the bottom of the bucket to take the weight, thus preventing breaking of the fruiting stem.

    To water the plant I simply remove the lid of the bucket.

    Durgan.[/FONT][/SIZE]
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006
  3. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    I don't want this to sound rude, but what is the point of growing them upside down exactly?
    It seems like a lot more effort to grow them this way, as I don't need a big stand, and I get huge amounts of tomatoes the old fashion way. All I use is a pile of dirt and a stick. It seems like taking something simple and adding a lot of equipment to make it complicated. It's interesting, but I think I'm missing the point.
     
  4. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Many people don't have the pile of dirt. How about people, who live in apartments with a balcony? What if the production is greater and the maturing time is shorter? Is this not a desired aim?

    As I mentioned in the first post, there is a lot of babble about this on the internet. I simply want to prove or disprove the method to my satisfaction. If it works well I may extend the experiment next year. This is an experiment for me to see if the method has some validity. Bunking or de-bunking the current thought, which is an intricate part of human nature. Some people call it research.

    At first sight there seems to be some advantages to this method, no staking, freedom from soil pests and fungi, complete control over watering, and small space requirements, plus maybe a perfect tomato.
    Durgan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2007
  5. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks for the answer, please keep us updated as to how well it works,
    cheers Carol
     
  6. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    http://xrl.us/mzmb

    Pictures captioned indicating growth 4 June 2006. The middle tomatoe is sweet milliom, it was planted later than the Manitoba and Russion Krim.

    Durgan.
     
  7. toutlan

    toutlan Active Member

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    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?p=44670#post44670
    here are mine .2 are sweet 100 and one is roma. i thought at first they were going to grow too up right but as soon as fruit started they dropped quite nicely.my biggest prob is having to water so often...definately should ahve went with a bigger pot.but as you know tomatoes root ball arent very big so thats why i went small.will see how this yaers go and next seaon i will adjust.thinking about about trying some other veggies next year...poss. cucumber and squash. kinda dont think that will work do to weight of them..but,,why not try i say
     
  8. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    The purpose of growing tomatoes is to produce fruit. Your pictures depict a lot a stringy vegetation. I suggest this method, judging by the pictures, is a total failure. I intend with my little experiment to prove once and for all if this method of upside plants has any real merit. So far there is no real attempts to prove or disprove the method, It is mostly hype by people trying to sell the containers for growing. My experiment is relatively scientific, and I await the results with some interest. A miracle needs no evidence, but a fact need strong supporting evidence. Plus, the experiment needs to be repeated over and over again, preferably by other people, to see if there is any merit to the system.
    Durgan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2007
  9. toutlan

    toutlan Active Member

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    three words...interesting...fun...different
     
  10. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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  11. Woodsprite

    Woodsprite Active Member

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    Wow! Love your Manitobas! Am I mistaken or is the ratio of fruit to the size of the plant higher than most tomato plants? Great experiment photos!
     
  12. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Manitoba is relatively new. I have grown them for about three years. They fruit early and all through the season. The tomatoes are good quality with a nice flavour. They are about palm size. They don't appear to have suckers like normal plants, but strong stems that are congested in some cases; in fact, it is sometime difficult to pull the tomatoes off, but they are always good quality. The fruit must be kept off the ground, and have lots of air space or they rot badly. I have picked two off the upsidedown plant, but the normal one in the garden also has ripe tomatoes only one. So far the experiment has not demonstrated any advantage in the method. I strongly suspect that growing them upright in a five gallon bucket would produce the same of better results. The Russian Krim will be a more substanive case to make judgements, since the Manitoba seems to produce no matter what one does. The Sweet Million is not doing too well. I think the soil was too heavy. Anyway I will make a final analysiis when the season ends to get a feeling for the trend. If highly positive, I will repeat next year with more stringent conditions and better controls. In conclusion, the method has no merit up to this time.

    Durgan.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2006
  13. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    The experiment of growing upside down tomatoes has been abandoned. The method is simply without merit. The vegetation is stringy, possibly due to the container partially shielding the plants from the sun. The fruit is marginal compared to typical growing methods. So, if you are limited in space use a 5 gallon bucket and grow upright. The media and various fast buck artists have produced containers for growing tomatoes by this method, without any evidence that it has merit.

    I have grown tomatoes in 5 gallon containers right side up almost the same as growing in a garden location, and the fruit and plants were as good as it gets.

    It does have a bit of merit; in that, it is a conversation piece when a group is around at a barbeque.

    Durgan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2007
  14. Re: Growing upside down tomatoes

    I just read your post saying you abandoned your upside down tomato experiment concluding there was no practicle advantage to it. I tried it for the first time this year and think I discovered one distinct advatage, at least for this part of the country. Every year following the first fall rains blight seems to hit tomato crops in the Fraser Valley, this has occured for the past thirty plus years that I am aware off. This year my upside down tomatoes are free of blight and I am still picking them as of today.I spoke to a friend last week who said the blight had struck his tomatoes a week or so earlier following the first significant rain of the season.

    I put this down to the fact that the upside down tomatoes were not in contact with the ground.

    Would anyone care comment on this?
     
  15. toutlan

    toutlan Active Member

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    i abandoned mine as well, but for different reason.they required watering at least twice daily.i needed to install a dripp system.i had romas,that didnt doo to well becuase of water issues and cherries that did extremely well.i had to leave town for a day and a half in hot weather and all but one cherry died.i will attempt in spring with irrigation and see how that does.i mainly like this method because no weeding necessary and insects were zero problem.they did get somewhat stringy and werent very attractive after a couple of months,but i did have fresh cherry tomatoes for my meals when ever i wanted.


    more next spring
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2006
  16. They sure go through the water all right, mine were using two litres (more than 2 American quarts) a day during the hottest part of the summer, however we have had a warmer, sunnier summer than we usually get. Global warming??

    I certainly will be doing it again next year the no weeding, no staking and no ground rot or slug/snail damage make it well worthwhile.
     
  17. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    When I was in college, about 1984, for an extra credit project in Horticulture class, I devised a project of growing a plant upside down. Maybe it was a bean, but I forget, now.

    Anyway, the grow lights were below the upside down plant, and the entire growing operation was concealed from natural sunlight by enclosure within a very large box.

    Part of this experiment dealt with my interest in light, gravity and the effect of auxins in plants. Auxins is one hormone that affects plant development, including steering plants to light by affecting the elongation of plant cells on the dark side of the stems.

    When all was said and done, it appears that gravity was a powerful influence.

    The plant's tendency, was to try and grow away from the direction of gravitational pull. It never did grow straight down toward the light.

    What I believe will happen, is that a tomato plant can grow some upside down growth, but the natural system of the plant will be a bit "out of whack" and backfire when the final crop is harvested.

    In an apartment situation, or similar with limited space, it would be just as practical to grow upright plants, placed on a shelf with grow lights overhead.

    In short, you will be growing struggling plants, not thriving plants.

    But it may still be fun. I enjoyed the experiment when I did it.
     
  18. I note that in your experiment you blocked off all natural light from above and grow lights below were the only light the plant had. I think this would cause problems because you then had the two "insticts" of the plant fighting each other, gravity wanting it to grow up and light wanting it to grow down. In a outdoor setting the natural light from above allows the stalks and leaves to curl upwards, as is their natural tendency.

    I have attached a picture (hope it works, I've never done it before) of one of my plants taken about a month ago, as you can see it was doing quite well. I'm now picking the last of the fruit and bringing it inside to ripen.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. ginger749

    ginger749 Active Member

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    I cant see what all the fuss is about.

    Here in good old Australia,

    We grow all our tomatoes upsidedown???

    We are located at the bottom of the GLOBE.!
     
  20. Cindi

    Cindi Active Member

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    Scorpio: Not sure what the "quote" means in the bottom bar, but I am going to try and see what happens. I live in Maple Ridge, as well, in Webster's Corners actually, in a very cold spot, seems like just a little dip in the road as well as as ravine can actually make a huge difference in the amount of sun, cloud, wind, cold can make. We are still growing great tomatoes, this is October 30. They are in a little greenhouse that has good ventilation. We use TURKEY manure, I have spoke of this before, and I cannot believe what this product has done for my gardens this year. It is unbelievable, I have actually grown carrots this year that matured to beauties, never in the 16 years that I have lived here could I grow carrots, and I have tried every year. We have canned, pickled, frozen, dehydrated more vegies than anyone in their world could imagine. I think I have gone off-topic, but I must proclaim to all, the value of turkey manure. I have seen the results!!! We still have green tomatoes maturing and coming along, basil as well (in the little greenhouse of course). Anyone else had experience with the turkey manure? We have chickens as well, we will implement that with the garlic that we grow. We are having fun!!!!!
     
  21. Hi Cindi,

    Nice to hear from another ridge resident; the "quote" at the bottom simply means that my previous post will be quoted above your reply, it all came through perfectly.

    Good to hear your tomatoes are still usable, we had one of our last fresh ones today, brought inside to rippen a few weeks ago but still 'way better than any store product.

    I'm an old country boy from Agassiz, we had turkeys when I was a kid so I know the manure is potent.

    Having fun is what life is all about, and growing things is creating life.
     
  22. Thats the problem with you Aussies, you don't know which way is up, unless it's bottoms up.

    Cheers, scorpio
     
  23. ginger749

    ginger749 Active Member

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    I`ll drink to that!

    Anyone got a Jack Danials?
     
  24. nhadji

    nhadji Member

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    Sure some of the tomatoes growers have sense of humor. The fact is we are living up side comparing Australia, but if we want to grow tomatoes, UPSIDE
    we should Avoid to get tomatoes Seeds from Australia
    nhadji
     
  25. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    I was always thinking that growing upside down tomatoes would do the trick. No more staking required. Well, I am disappointed that it;s not worth it. BUt, at least somebody else tried it so I don't have to try it now.
     

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