Friday, August 25, 2017

Topsy Turvy - Tomatoes! Peppers and Cucumbers?


I have used these before and they had some pretty outrageous claims in the past. They did not grow better than anything that I had in the ground!  The original claim was something about the plant producing 30 pounds of Tomatoes!   I did not expect that and they backed off those claims.  They really should be just advertising it as an easier and more convent way to grow! No weeds, no pests, no digging, and no problem, is a good enough reason without 30 lbs. of tomatoes.  I just wanted a nice easy way to get back to some gardening without digging, weeds, and pests.  Most of all, I had this great feeling that I would like to sit there with my plants hanging above! The new tagline is, "The World's Easiest Way to Grow Tomatoes!",  closer to reality.  They are also have new and improved watering system and came with some cheap plastic tomato slicers and recipe book!
Seriously, they might be better off advertised for growing less tomatoes!  Its not a bad thing for someone in a small space and not a great cooking artist, to just want the experience of growing a few tomatoes.  My previous experience was that these grow less and I expected that.  I conned by girlfriend saying that last time we used the wrong soil and look at the new improved watering system!  Many times I grew huge gardens and in the end it was only me caring for all.  This time I had a plan for growing less and making the whole thing easier for me to maintain. 

After growing from June to mid August in the Topsy Turvy, I have made the following observations:

New Watering System

Apparently, the old system would leave many of the roots without water.  The water would fall right through and leave some of the root system untouched and not give time to soak in the water.  The new system has a fine net filter that gradually releases water all around the top of the planter.  It holds 1 gallon of water and takes over 12 hours to completly empty through the plants.  The planter is still dripping water the next morning after an evening feeding.

 

Tomatoes

  • The new watering system is good.  It appears to continue to water the plants for 2 days and holds 1 gallon of water.
  • The tomato yields and size appear low.
    • The tomatoes I'm growing are Better Boys (No special reason, I just bought what the church across the street was selling at their spring fest).
    • 16 oz. tomatoes at about 20-30 lbs. - So the 30 lbs. is actually close to claiming that the plant will grow and produce normal yield.
    • These take 70-75 days to mature, so there is still time, but I would say I have < 20 tomatoes and they appear < 10 oz. in size.  
  • I do believe that the number of plants and hanging over concrete may have adversely affected the pollination lowering the yield.  While they are self-pollinating plants, it does not hurt for there to be more plant options for the bees!  I know more bees fly over grass than concrete!

Green Peppers 

I'm not sure this is recommended, but I gave it a try!
  • Better Belle Green Pepper, I believe someone at the church grew from seeds and sold at the spring fest.  
  • The plant is growing great and the size appears good. I have picked and ate one pepper and it was great.  
  • These are said to have high yield, but only looks like 4 or 5 on this plant! This my be related to my next and previous point on the tomatoes.
  • I do believe that the number of plants and hanging over concrete may have adversely affected the pollination lowering the yield.  While they are self-pollinating plants, it does not hurt for there to be more plant options for the bees!  I know more bees fly over grass than concrete!
  • Just found out that if a pepper grows upside down, before the plant starts to bend upward, you risk having the pepper break off the stem before reaching maturity.

Cucumbers

  • This was really inconclusive, as the cucumbers my have been infected by bacteria wilt or something else as some of the places I cut off have begun growing again. I choose the Boston Pickling for something different.  
  • I cannot say for sure if the Topsy Turvy contributed to the plants condition.
  •  I have previously planted cucumbers in the yard directly in  the ground sporadically  for 30 years with great yields.  I don't believe I have ever chosen this variety and I never used the Topsy Turvy.  
  • I would say it would be lucky if I was to get about 3 cucumbers from this plant.
  • I do believe that the number of plants and hanging over concrete may have adversely affected the pollination lowering the yield.  While they are self-pollinating plants, it does not hurt for there to be more plant options for the bees!  I know more bees fly over grass than concrete!
I saved the best for last!

Habaneros

  • These grew the best! Lucky for me that these are my girlfriend's favorite since I conned her into the Topsy Turvy.
  • All is as expected here, growing great and yield is expected to meet my exceptions.  
  • Will produce around 20-30 per plant.  They do not mature for about 95 days.

Wait, I see they may have actually created one for Hot peppers!


 

 

Onions

No, I didn't plant these in the Topsy Turvy, but I was somehow persuaded to dig up a spot and plant these against my will!  I argued and made her weed and care for that section!

Soil

I forgot a tip I read years ago!  This was to use peat moss mixed with garden soil!  I once again used potting soil which is said to be fine, but maybe not the best option.

 

Current Conclusions

I'm thinking I will grow Habaneros and some other varieties of hot peepers from the Topsy Turvy.  Maybe they should even market the Topsy Turvy towards hot peppers.  I see people eating them all the time on videos exclaiming their awesome abilities to eat the hottest peppers!  I liked using them to make chili, some hot wing sauce, and maybe a little in with my spaghetti sauce.  Girlfriend likes to blend them into Jollof rice dish she makes.  Not sure she has made it the same way twice!  As for the green peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers, its back to the ground for them.  Although, I would consider using a cherry or patio variety of tomatoes.

Official Topsy Turvy Site:
https://www.topsyturvy.com/TOPSYTURVY/6.0000/Index.dtm