The gardening world has been turned upside down by the latest "As Seen on TV" offering.
With planting season here, a lot of people are intrigued by the Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree, which claims to grow tomatoes better and faster by growing them upside down.
The question is, would I flip over the Topsy Turvy?
The idea is simple enough. You just plant, hang, and water for a boat-load of tomatoes. You can hang it from a deck or a yard pole if you have one.
The great thing about it, says the manufacturer, is that you're keeping the tomatoes off the ground. You don't have to worry about them rotting from ground contact, and you don't have to worry about varmints coming and eating them.
Inside the Topsy Turvy there is a split sponge that holds the tomato's root ball in place.
Once the plant is secured, you want to fill the Topsy Turvy with potting soil. You can buy regular potting soil and add fertilizer, or you can buy potting soil that already has fertilizer in it.
The key is to add the soil slowly. You don't want to just dump it in there and smash the root ball. Also, you want to keep the root ball centered as you're filling the Topsy Turvy. You're supposed to stop adding soil when the level is about two inches from the top.
Next, you're supposed to add a gallon of water. Be sure to pour it slowly and distribute it evenly so you don't wash the fertilizer out.
What this is supposed to do is draw the water and the nutrients naturally by gravity down to the roots. And if the bag feels light at times, that means you need water. Additionally, if the plant is looking wilted you should add more water. The manufacturer claims that you can't over-water your plants with the Topsy Turvy.
For comparison's sake, I also planted a tomato plant in the ground, the traditional way, to see how it fares against the Topsy Turvy.
Three weeks later, I reexamined the plants.
The tomato plant I planted in the ground looked fairly healthy.
It had a bud on it and had grown to be about 12 inches in height.
The tomato plant growing in the Topsy Turvy also had grown a blossom. But I noticed a couple of the leaves had a little drying on them. I had been adding water to both plants equally, but this one had some leaves that didn't look so healthy.
The interesting part of it all is that when you measure it top to bottom, the Topsy Turvy plant was about fourteen inches long -- almost two inches longer than the plant that was in the ground.
At this point, I'm not quite ready to give this a thumbs up or a thumbs down. What we're going to do is monitor it over the next couple of months, and then we'll determine if this is a better way to grow tomatoes.
In July, we will update you on how our Topsy Turvy is doing.
I paid $10 for my Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree at Bed, Bath, and Beyond in Mishawaka. You can also buy it on the internet.
Some versions include a growing stand and cost $20, plus shipping and handling.
For more information about the Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree, including purchasing information, visit the official product website at www.topsytree.com .