Asked on Apr 24, 2012

I've tried topsy turvy tomatoes for past 3 years with very little result - plant usually ends up spindly and tiny tomato

Lisa McDanielKim PStephanie


Am I doing something wrong? I've used miracle grow soil mixed with regular planting soil - never seems to thrive.
14 answers
  • 3po3
    on Apr 25, 2012

    Lori, are you growing the tomatoes from seed? And how much sun and water are the plants getting?

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Apr 25, 2012

    There's very little soil in those containers and tomatoes are heavy feeders. I suspect regular fertilization is one of the keys to success. And, as Steve suggests, getting sun is crucial.

  • Lori W
    on Apr 25, 2012

    I watered once a day and the tomatoes are in full sun. I have always purchased tomatoe plants, not seeds.

  • 3po3
    on Apr 26, 2012

    I would go to a good local nursery you trust, and ask them for fertilizer recommendations for these planters. I think Douglas is on the right track.

  • Julee J
    on Apr 26, 2012

    I have heard of other people with the same problem. Apparently, the container is a little small for the root system needed and container dries out too quickly

  • Debi M
    on Apr 27, 2012

    The topsy turvy didn't do well for me either. A friend of mine used a five gallon bucket and her tomatoes were huge. she just cut an X in the center of the bottom of the bucket, hung the bucket up and filled it 1/2 full of potting soil. I'm trying that this year.

  • Lori W
    on Apr 27, 2012

    Great suggestions - given me new hope - I'm definitely going to try at least one in the bucket - see what happens!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Apr 28, 2012

    Good luck, Lori. Let us know how it goes.

  • Susan S
    on Apr 30, 2012

    Lori - same here as Debi said. My husband has tried them the past 2 years w/just so so results. Even if a light weight soil is used and not even filled to the top, it gets extremely heavy. He hung ours off shepherd's hooks and still had to anchor them w/wire to a deck post to keep them from falling over. Think we'll go back to a large plastic tub - holes drilled in bottom for drainage.

  • Stephanie @ Garden Therapy
    on Aug 14, 2012

    It's definitely tricky. I've written a whole post on this here:

  • Stephanie
    on Aug 15, 2012

    I have tried the topsy turvy with no results. My Dad starting using the buckets and got great results. I used buckets this year with amazing results!

  • Kim P
    on Sep 8, 2012

    I used that topsy turvy last year, and had about 5 cherry tomatos. (I live in a apt and have a small yard but tons of slugs) I had always used large planters in the past, and had huge plants with lots of tomatos on them until I tried that thing. This year my cherry tomatos are back in a large planter (with the tomato cage around them because they need the support) and I have a large supply of tomatos, and still lots more on the plants.

  • Lisa McDaniel
    on May 7, 2015

    I have used the Topsy Turvy for several years and didn't have any problems with it. A few yrs (4) I bought some that came with a stand, I forget the cost but I ordered 2 not realizing that they came two to an order, so that gave me 4.I had pest problems in 2013 and didn't get many 'maters. And in 2014 I had birds wanting to nest in it which I thought was awesome ! I thought at first my hubby was stuffing grass in it as a joke until I went to clear it out and realized I had just thrown a nest WITH eggs in it on the ground. I put it back and let the birds win that year. This year I bought plants as I didn't have the space to grow from seeds. And while it has 6 holes only 2 have the foam circle to hold the plant and keep the soil in ( my guess anyhow ) I used 4 since I am the only one who eats them I figured I'd get some off of one plant at least. As you can see mine are doing well. I have them in full sun and water every other day or 2. I filled it with soil to about 2 -3 inches from the top.

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