This is my third year using the Topsy Turvy planters, so I think I have enough experience with them to review them accurately. I give them a grade of C-, maybe a D+. The good thing about these planters is that they can be real space savers and insect problems (slugs in particular) are greatly reduced when the plants are up off the ground. On the other hand, some crops work better than others (I’ve found peppers are most successful even though these are marketed as tomato planters) and they don’t seem to be terribly durable. If you look in the photo above, you can see that one planter is being held together by duct tape and another has a broken wire support. I’ll keep using them until they fall apart, but I won’t replace them. Instead, I’ll look for other hanging planter ideas. Suggestions certainly welcome!
Also in the greenhouse, the dill and cilantro I started from seed are doing well. I started these in a small wooden planter and will be moving the seedlings to new homes over the next few weeks.
Moving outside, I was really pleased yesterday to see that my outdoor peach tree (as opposed to the mini dwarf peach in the greenhouse) has a lot of baby peaches this year! It looks like it actually pollinated successfully. I planted this tree six years ago and have had pretty much nothing off the tree, which is why I bought the mini dwarf trees to grow in the warmth of the greenhouse. The greater Seattle area is not ideal for growing peaches. In spite of the fact that I bought the one variety that is supposed to do OK here, the Frost peach, I have not had good results and have actually been thinking about taking the tree out. Just in the nick of time the tree decides to actually do something! Now, there are still a lot of steps in the fruit maturation process and I might not get any peaches in the end, but it is great to see that I have a chance of getting some peaches from the over six or seven dozen baby peaches on the tree right now.
Oh, the asparagus bed, my gardening heart breaker. Now, I do I realize that an asparagus bed is a long-term proposition and that it takes a number of years to become established. My asparagus bed remains pathetic, two years into the process. Some of the asparagus crowns clearly died, because the overall number of spears is low. And, I think moles are creating problems in this bed. Some of the asparagus shoots have come up but then end up looking desiccated, as though they are being sucked dry. I wonder if moles are chomping them from underground. Looks like I’ll need to dig the whole thing out and do the hardware treatment for this bed as well. Oh, why didn’t I think to use hardware cloth when I built these beds a few years ago?!?
Even when you blog about the less than successful ventures…you are especially encouraging! To be a backyard gardener or farmer you must learn, learn, learn and continue to be persistent! Practice in a time of plenty (availability elsewhere) will yield success when you might be dependent on it! Thanks Sandy, even though we are in different climate zones I glean much from your persistence!
Thanks for reviewing the topsy turvys. I hear so many people talk about getting them but no one really talks about how well they work. We have a terrible rat problem and I’m going to build a hardware cloth box that fits snugly inside the raised beds this year so I was wondering if building an overhead structure from which to hang topsy turveys would be better. Perhaps not worth the effort involved building something strong enough to support a large number of plants but the space savings is tempting…
Besides peppers and tomatoes I wonder what else could be successfully grown upside down? I suppose cucumbers or pumpkins? Any other thoughts? And why do you think the peppers do so well in them – more sun at the roots?
Sorry about your vole problem. At least I don’t have to deal with that! As disgusting and dangerous as rat urine is at least I can see what is going on with the plant damage.
My asparagus are 2nd year and doing somewhat better than yours but I’m assuming it’s a 3 year proposition for a reason. I’m hoping next year to see some nice spears rather than the 1 or two per crown.
I love the peach report too since I just put in 2 frost peaches this year. Not expecting anything from them but I’m shocked and excited to see the second year apples and cherries loaded with fruit. Thanks for the update!
Cucumbers also do well in the Topsy Turveys. I’m not sure why my tomatoes haven’t done as well as the marketers imply they would, but I just haven’t had good luck with them. I am tempted by these planters at Gardener’s Supply, but they are more expensive that the Topsy’s. I guess you get what you pay for.
Nancy, your comment was so nice to read! I am trying to take the long view with my projects and not get overly focused on instant gratification.
I found your blog surfing the web awhile back, and love it! I’m on the East Coast, about 30 minutes south of Boston in MA. I also am a novice gardener and grow many of the same items you do. Except cilantro. I’m a bonafide cilantro hater. Sorry. I’m in the process of hardening my transplants this week so I can put them in the garden on Mother’s Day. It’s a long standing tradition that my husband takes care of EVERYTHING that day so I can work outside. Love it. I also have a humor blog at http://www.eastcoastmusings.blogspot.com, and occasionally post about my garden. Most of my blog-readers don’t want to read about my gardening adventures (sigh) but I love writing and reading about the topic! Thanks for your great postings!
Cilantro is one of those love it/hate it things. I like it in salsa, but that is pretty much it.
Glad you enjoy my blog!
Everyone who has given a report on the upside down planters has not provided very encouraging reviews. They do have the appeal of providing less slug problems though.
If it is any consolation, my asparagus patch at this homestead has been a dissappointment for me too. We had a really high producing asparagus patch at our central Washington homestead and I had hopes for a good one here too – but it has been a marginal producer at best. I am tempted to pull it up and start over somewhere else.
I have a friend who is planning to make “topsy turvys” using buckets, and funnels at the bottom. I think her idea will work. I’ve got two TT to try out this year, and I think I’ll be making my own after that.
My parents have Brown Turkey Fig trees. We LOVE them!!
Darn those rodents! We have a raised asparagus bed in our Pleasant Hill, Oregon garden, and the voles discovered it a few years back (and the rest of the garden as well, I might add). I have the same experience — the shoots come up, and then before they are quite big enough to harvest, they become dessicated and shrivel up. Argh! I know it is voles because every so often I can see their runs in the bed. Still, by and large, we get enough to satisfy us, so I am not motivated to upend the bed, put down hardware cloth, and start over. Yet. Good luck with “spare’grass”!
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