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How to Grow Vegetables Upside Down

Turn your plants on their heads to thwart pests and eliminate the need for stakes, cages -- even a garden.


  • Step 1: Get a container Find a large plastic container for your upside down plant. Ready-made planters are sold at gardening stores, but you can make your own out of almost any kind of large plastic cylinder.
  • TIP: Reduce, reuse, and recycle by using a 2-liter soda bottle, milk jug, plastic bucket, hanging plant basket, or even a heavy duty trash bag for your planter.
  • Step 2: Cut a hole Use a drill, hacksaw, or sharp knife to cut a half-inch hole in the bottom of your container.
  • TIP: A soda bottle or milk jug already has a hole, but you need to saw off the bottom of it to create an opening at the other end.
  • Step 3: Make holes for hanging line Cut small holes just under the lip of the large open end where you can attach your hanging line. If your container is a bucket, it already comes with a convenient hanging handle.
  • Step 4: Attach hanging line Thread hanging line made of a strong material such as twine, bendable steel, or leather through the container.
  • Step 5: Attach a hook Find a beam or line in a sunny location where you can grow your plant and attach a sturdy metal hook on the underside of it. Now you've done the setup and are ready to plant.
  • Step 6: Insert plant Lower your plant into the bottle upside down and gently pull the green stem and leaves through the hole.
  • TIP: Choose a plant variety that yields small vegetables at intervals, since larger varieties and plants that ripen all at once can put too much strain on the stem. Tomato, cucumber, and pepper plants are popular choices.
  • Step 7: Add soil Spread out the roots in the upper part of the container so they have room to grow. Add soil to the container until it covers the root system.
  • TIP: Mix some compost into the soil to help the plant grow. You can also place strips of newspaper around the root ball to keep it upright and prevent soil from washing out through the hole.
  • Step 8: Make topper plant Plant a small herb or flowering plant on top of the soil above the vegetable roots. Doing so not only helps retain moisture in the soil, but also maximizes space and adds a pleasing visual effect.
  • TIP: If you don't add a topper plant, cover the container with cheesecloth, mulch, or another breathable lid to prevent rapid evaporation.
  • Step 9: Hang and water Hang your upside down plant from its hook and water it daily through the top opening until it literally bears the fruit of your efforts.
  • FACT: Asparagus is the United States' most popular garden perennial.

You Will Need

  • Large plastic container
  • Drill
  • hacksaw
  • or knife
  • Strong hanging material
  • Steel hook
  • Seedling
  • Starter soil
  • Small herb or flowering plant
  • Water
  • Repurposed container (optional)
  • Compost (optional)
  • Newspaper strips (optional)
  • Covering (optional)

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