DIY Topsy Turvy Tomato® Planter

DIY Topsy Turvy

When we lived in California we could grow tomatoes without even trying! Our tomato plants would get so big that the hubster would have to tie them up to 6 foot steel rebar stakes. One summer we canned over 50 quarts of tomatoes!

Unfortunately, since moving to Utah, it’s been a whole different story! I can hardly grow a good tomato to save my LIFE here! It’s been frustrating to say the least. The growing season is just so short here. I haven’t figured out a way to make it work.

Topsy Turvy

But of course I’m entirely too stubborn to give up, so a couple of days ago I decided to try a new approach! I decided to try my hand at a DIY version of the popular infomercial product..the Topsy Turvy® Upside Down Tomato Planter.

To be quite honest, even if I was willing to pay $19.99 for one of those things (which I’m not), I wouldn’t do it because I just think they look sorta cheesey.  (No offense to the Topsy Turvey owners out there!) Of course what I came up with doesn’t look a WHOLE lot better…but at least it didn’t cost anywhere NEAR $20. As a matter of fact, I think it ended up costing less than $4.00 including the large tomato plant!

Most of the versions I saw of this online were made in a 5-gallon buckets, but I decided to go the plastic garbage can route instead. It wasn’t quite as big and it wasn’t quite as heavy.

In less than 20 minutes I had an upside down hanging tomato planter that I have HIGH HOPES will be the answer to my tomato-growing woes in Utah!


How To Make Your Own Upside-Down Tomato Planter

What you’ll need:

  • A tomato plant or seedling.
  • A plastic container or bucket.
  • A drill or knife for cutting the hole in the bottom
  • Twine, wire or something similar.
  • Potting soil mix


DIY Topsy Turvy

Turn the trash can upside down and drill a hole in the center of the bottom. The hole should be about 3″ in diameter.


DIY Topsy Turvy


DIY Topsy Turvy

Turn your tomato plant upside down and guide it through the hole.


DIY Topsy Turvy

Fill the upside-down trash can with enough potting soil to cover the roots of the upside-down tomato plant plus a few more inches.


DIY Topsy Turvy

Drill small holes on each side of the trash can and thread enough twine through to make a handle.

DIY Topsy Turvy

Photos by Anna Gleave


Hang your new DIY planter from an S-hook on a sturdy structure or a strong tree branch.  Make sure you place in an area that gets plenty of sun!


DIY Topsy Turvy

Water the plant well and frequently.


Then stand back and cross your fingers yours will SOMEDAY look like this……………………


DIY Topsy Turvy


What are YOUR secrets for growing tomatoes?

Print Friendly
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter11Pin on Pinterest3.5kGoogle+0

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. Rebecca B says

    This is really interesting. I live in Illinois, and I don’r have a problem with space or growing tomatoes, but I do have a problem with bunnies. I’m wondering right now just exactly what you can grow upside down….

  2. bella lewin says

    i lived for a while in the very cold and not very sunny netherlands and the tomatoes never really riped wel . i tried cherry tomatoes and that worj out really , becauce they are so small ,then get plenty of sun to riped . it is much faster and. need less sun. the. one that where green at the end af the seasons , i would make a green tomatoes chutney out of it. good luck.

  3. JAMES R. says

    OH WOW!!!
    I never would have thunk that….

    That is just so totally cool!!! 8-P

    Off to Waldo Mart I go, time to go shopping!! 8-P

  4. Lynne says

    Love this idea. I hope you will do an update in a month or so to show us how it worked out :-)

  5. Carlyn says

    I’m sure going to try this! Will let you know when I harvest the first of my bountiful crop of tomatoes. Thanks!

  6. Cindi says

    We also live in Utah, and I feel your pain about growing tomatoes! We found the Topsy Turvy planters this year in Dollar Tree, and have 3 planted and hanging. We have no idea how these will work. We also planted tomatoes in large containers on the deck to see if there will be any difference in how the plants grow and produce. I like your idea of the trash can, and I hope it works for you…be sure and let us know!

  7. Susan says

    Sure hope this works for you! I do have the Topsy Turvy Tomato and Pepper planters…I can’t get either of them to grow…not in my garden or in the TT planters! My FIL grows amazing tomatoes (and lots of other goodies too), and he is only 7 miles from me. You may have better luck with using a black trash can…the warmer the soil (up to a point) the better the plants grow. I’m looking forward to hearing how your tomatoes do!!

  8. Donna says

    You are amazing! I love this SO much! I can’t wait to make mine this week! Any ideas for cukes or zucchini? I don’t have much space. Thanks Jilee you are a blessing!

    • Melinda Miller says

      Donna..I have a friend who grows cukes and zucchini just like this. They do make some smaller patio sized plants that makes it easier to grow in a small space!

    • Lori says

      I cage my cucumbers just like I do my tomatoes. It worked great when I did it the first time two years ago, so I think doing cucumbers upside down will work great too.

    • Barbara J says

      I use a tomato cage for cucumbers. I plant 2 or 3 seeds just outside the cage, then train the stems to grow up. My zucchini still take a lot of room, but I do a second planting about halfway through the summer and get another crop before the frost. Then I make curried zucchini soup and freeze it!