How to Make a Topsy Turvy Planter


Growing tomatoes upside down, such as in the Topsy Turvy planter, offers several benefits to your plants. First, it keeps them off the ground, which helps prevent your fruit from rotting. Secondly, gravity helps deliver water to fruit more effectively. Lastly, because the plants are at eye level, you don't have to bend over or kneel down to care for them. You can make your own planter out of simple household materials.

Step 1

Choose a bag with sturdy handles. Reusable canvas or nylon shopping bags work well for this project. Tug on the handles to make sure they're strong and able to support the weight of being filled with potting soil.

Step 2

Use duct tape to reinforce the area where the handles meet the bags. This is optional, but it can strengthen your bag's support system. Do this if you worry that your bag's handles will detach from the bag.

Step 3

Open your bag and line it with newspaper. This will help hold the soil inside of the bag while you create holes for your plants.

Step 4

Fill the bag three-quarters full with potting soil that is moist but not wet. Test the strength of your handles by lifting up the bag and determining if they're holding well.

Step 5

Hang your bag in a location where it will be at least 5 feet off the ground and where it will get a minimum of eight hours of direct sunlight per day.

Step 6

Use your utility knife to carefully cut two 3-inch "X" shapes on the very bottom of the bag, one on each side. Do not cut into the newspaper; try to only cut the bag. Create two shallow "X" cuts on each of the bag's remaining four sides.

Step 7

Stick your fingers into the "X" cuts you made to tear a small hole in the newspaper and to displace enough soil to insert the small tomato seedlings. Do not make the holes too large or the soil could spill out. Losing some soil is normal. Repeat with each hole until you have planted each of your seedlings. When you are done, you should have an upside-down tomato planter with six active plants--two on the bottom, one on the front, one on the back and one on each side.

Things You'll Need

  • Canvas or nylon grocery bag
  • Duct tape (optional)
  • Newspaper
  • Utility knife
  • Potting soil
  • Step stool (optional)
  • Six tomato plants


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Keywords: topsy turver planter, upside down tomato planter, growing tomatoes

About this Author

Lillian Downey has an extensive and diverse background, including studies in English, social work, women's studies, non-profit management, political science and nursing. In addition to writing, she has worked as a sex-ed teacher, clinic manager, pregnancy options counselor and mental health professional. She served as Editor-in-Chief of Nexus Journal of Literature and Art and an Assistant Fiction Editor at the Antioch Review.