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Avatar for scottwhisler
Mar 23, 2018 5:39 PM CST

Hello all,

first, a preface: I do not know anything about growing plants, so, I'm sure my questions will be below the level of even the lowest hobby gardener, but, after reading some of the forum questions, this seems like the place to get good answers. So, my apologies in advance.... if I seem clueless, it's because I am.

Anyway, a few months ago, my daughter (6yo) received a topsy turvy planter as a gift. She was incredibly excited to grow tomatoes (and peppers..we added a 2nd one with jalapenos)

We started them a few weeks ago, and they are definitely growing. They appear to be healthy, but, other than some google pics, I have no idea of what they SHOULD look like.

I'm sure the real gardeners consider the topsy turvy to be the lowest level of gardening, as the people i have spoken to at nurseries here (in Arizona) instantly try to get me to grow them in the ground.

However....my daughter is insistent that we use them (and, since it was a gift, I tend to agree).

She now wants to add some more, so, I am basically looking for advice as to the best type of peat moss/fertilizer/plant food, etc, so that I can maximize the growth, and help give her a positive experience.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Scott (and daughter)
Mesa, Arizona
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Mar 24, 2018 8:51 AM CST
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Beekeeper Vegetable Grower Enjoys or suffers hot summers Seed Starter Region: Alabama Garden Procrastinator
Container Gardener Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Zinnias
ProMix vegetable potting soil appears to be pretty good. Some of the best looking potting soil that I've purchased in several years. It was recommended to me here on the forum and I started my seedlings (tomato & pepper) out in them . The seedlings are doing great. In my area Wallyworld stocks it. You might consider getting some Epsoma Tomato-Tone fertilizer. Also, be sure to keep the plants well watered being as I seem to recall that the bags/buckets are prone to drying out quickly.

I agree about what all folks have said about the upside-down growing containers. Why not tell your daughter that *you* want to have some of your own, too, and plant a few in-ground or in a large container. Later, the two of you can compare the two different growing methods and see which works out better and produces better. Seeing is believing and once she experiences the two growing methods and the results she will most likely be convinced of the better growing method (who knows, though, the topsy-turvy may produce a bumper crop! Big Grin ). Kids do like unique and different things, but they are also competitive and like positive results.

Here is a short article discussing some pros and cons of using upside-down planters along with a few tips on using them. http://www.tomatodirt.com/grow...

As long as ya'll are having fun and it sparks an interest in gardening inside of your daughter it's all worth it. But, for a child that young, a failure might throw a bit of cold water on things for her. Those first impressions and all that jazz.....

Best wishes,
Ed
South Alabama Weather

If you think I posted a snarky comment please be patient with me. I’m practicing so maybe next time you’ll know for sure it was snarky. nodding
Avatar for scottwhisler
Mar 25, 2018 7:37 AM CST

Ed,

Thank you for taking the time to respond, and for the recommendation. I will pick up some ProMix, and some Epsoma.

Also... great idea about the competition of in-ground vs. upside down. I will plant a few of my own, and I'm sure she will want to "win". (if we get a crop from either, I'll view it as a win)

I will read the pros and cons article, and see if I can learn a little more.

Thanks again,

Scott
Avatar for scottwhisler
Mar 25, 2018 9:23 AM CST

here's where we stand so far....green planter is tomato, red is jalapeno
Thumb of 2018-03-25/scottwhisler/98f913


Thumb of 2018-03-25/scottwhisler/4a0f70
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Mar 25, 2018 11:44 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
looks awesome! it should be a great activity for you two.
If you loved me half as much as I love you, you wouldn't worry me half as much as you do...
Avatar for scottwhisler
Mar 25, 2018 12:26 PM CST

Thank you, Sally. We are having a great time. I need to learn along with her, so, I am grateful for the replies on here.

(I also like kettle chips....)

:)
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Mar 26, 2018 8:19 AM CST
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Beekeeper Vegetable Grower Enjoys or suffers hot summers Seed Starter Region: Alabama Garden Procrastinator
Container Gardener Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Zinnias
Well, maybe not so much a competition but rather a "research project" that the two of you can do together. Smiling
South Alabama Weather

If you think I posted a snarky comment please be patient with me. I’m practicing so maybe next time you’ll know for sure it was snarky. nodding
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Mar 26, 2018 10:42 AM CST
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
I noticed that the peppers refuse to grow downwards and turned rightside up.
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Mar 28, 2018 5:32 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Newyorkrita said:I noticed that the peppers refuse to grow downwards and turned rightside up.


There's a great science lesson right there! You can't make plants grow 'down'
If you loved me half as much as I love you, you wouldn't worry me half as much as you do...
Avatar for scottwhisler
Mar 28, 2018 11:38 AM CST

NewYorkRita and SallyG,

You are both correct....the peppers are reaching more skyward every day.

We are planning to plant some things in the ground as well, so, we'll see how those go.
Avatar for scottwhisler
Mar 29, 2018 6:48 PM CST

Are these budding peppers, or something else?

If they are, and peppers are a-comin'.....

my daughter wants to now grow everything in the produce aisle.
Thumb of 2018-03-30/scottwhisler/b2afc9
Avatar for Saltflower
Mar 29, 2018 8:23 PM CST
Name: Deborah
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Rabbit Keeper
I've been reading this thread because I just love the idea of teaching kids to grow food. It's GREAT that now your little girl is getting interested in growing what she sees in the store. How about lettuce, strawberries, peas?
Avatar for scottwhisler
Mar 30, 2018 10:01 AM CST

Saltflower:

Strawberries are next on her list.
(She also wants to grow watermelon)
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Mar 30, 2018 3:07 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
when the flower falls off, you'll see a tiny green bump forming.. looks like it is

watermelon takes LOTS of room.
Strawberries, might get some fruit even with a pot of them.
If you loved me half as much as I love you, you wouldn't worry me half as much as you do...
Avatar for Saltflower
Mar 30, 2018 7:19 PM CST
Name: Deborah
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Rabbit Keeper
She'll have fun having her own strawberries on her cereal!
Avatar for scottwhisler
Apr 1, 2018 9:36 AM CST

6 of our seedlings sprouted yesterday....she will be excited. (beefsteak tomato)

also ordered seeds from Victory:

black cherry tomato
pepperoncini
cherokee green tomato


Thumb of 2018-04-01/scottwhisler/71e170
Avatar for Saltflower
Apr 1, 2018 10:36 AM CST
Name: Deborah
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Rabbit Keeper
Great! Wouldn't it be fun if she takes some of her harvest for show and tell?
Avatar for scottwhisler
Apr 1, 2018 1:32 PM CST

that is a great idea, Saltflower!

:)
Avatar for scottwhisler
Apr 3, 2018 10:16 AM CST

I think this may be the first pepper...
Thumb of 2018-04-03/scottwhisler/a6ef72
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Apr 3, 2018 10:24 AM CST
Name: Ed
South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Beekeeper Vegetable Grower Enjoys or suffers hot summers Seed Starter Region: Alabama Garden Procrastinator
Container Gardener Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Zinnias
Looks like one to me!!! Thumbs up
South Alabama Weather

If you think I posted a snarky comment please be patient with me. I’m practicing so maybe next time you’ll know for sure it was snarky. nodding

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