Friday, 09 October 2015 15:17

Types of Garden Series: Upside-Down Gardens

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Why would you grow a plant upside down? That's what I wondered when I first learned about this type of garden just last week. I thought the lady telling me about it was pulling my leg! But no, upside-gardening is a real thing, and though some people may say it's a trend, there are some real benefits to growing plants upside down for both the gardener and the plants that make it worth trying out. Read on for what these are and for how to start making one yourself!

 

Benefits of Growing Plants Upside Down:

 

  • It saves space - urban gardeners with small outdoor spaces can line the upside-down plants above what they have growing right-side-up below

  • It eliminates the need to till, weed, and stake the plants
  • The plants are at eye-level, so there's no need to crouch down to get to them
  • The fruit of the plants are less prone to rot and attacking pests as they hang well above the soil

 

 

How to Plant an Upside Down Garden

You can create an upside-down garden using household buckets, potting soil, organic fertilizer, and a choice of plants that are appropriate to the size of the container and the spot you would like to hang them in. Tomatoes and cucumbers are the two most common plants to grow in an upside-down container.

  1. Drill a 4-5 cm hole in the bottom of the bucket (or smaller holes for smaller buckets).
  2. Next, you'll need a small piece of newspaper, gardening fabric, or coffee filter for anchoring the plant in place until it is strong enough to hold its own. This will prevent the soil from washing through when the plant is watered.
  3. Create a slit in the material for the seedling or small plant, and very carefully guide the plant down and through the hole, upside down. Be very careful not to damage the stem. If you damage the stem, throw the whole plant out and start again with a new plant.
  4. Gently fill the potting soil around the root ball about half-full, tamping as you go. Add a handful of complete organic fertilizer and fill up the rest of the way with more soil 2-3 cm from the rim of the container.
  5. Hang the plant up on sturdy hooks no less than 2.5 m from the ground.
  6. Feel free to plant another small plant requiring the same water and sunlight conditions on the top of the container (right-side up) at this point, just to utilize the extra space and make the container look even more interesting.

Caring for Your Upside-Down Plant: Two Things to Watch Out For

 

  1. Never let the soil go dry -Water the upside-down plant thoroughly until water runs out the bottom. Set-up a self-watering system if possible, as one of the difficulties encountered with upside-down gardening is that when the soil goes dry, it can be very difficult getting the soil to re-moisten again. Water will flow right through upside-down planter soil that has gone too dry.
  2. Prevent the stem from breaking - As your plants grow, they will reach around and begin to grow up toward the sun, which, for heavier, fruit-nearing stems, means breakage may occur. To prevent this, stick a bamboo stake in the bottom hole with the plant, and train the plant to grow downwards along the stake.

 

 

 

A number of pre-made upside-down planter pots by gardening brands are available online within Australia. if you are after something a bit more sleek-looking or for indoor decorating like those pictured above, ordering one of these is an alternative to the DIY approach. There seems to be no limit to what can be planted upside-down, so long as the plant is not too heavy or large, of course.

 

And there you have it! Happy growing upside-down!

 

Please leave a comment if you enjoyed this post, and let me know-- have you ever heard about this type of garden? Have any of our readers actually grown anything upside-down? I'd love to hear from you!

Cheers!

~Christine

 

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