Hanging Container Gardens: A Story Of An Almost-Fail, But Not Quite
It was about six months ago when I saw this article in Rodale’s Organic Life filled with bountiful hanging vegetable baskets. After last year’s container garden garden success, including growing tomatoes up strings on our front porch, I decided hanging container gardens like these—reminiscent of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon—were going to be my produce project this spring and summer.
Not only would they be easy to maintain, like last year’s container garden, they’d also be gorgeous to look at—and practical to boot! All super important for someone, like me, without a green thumb.
Things started off smashingly! My mom helped me pull together plants that would work well in hanging containers (lettuce, herbs, squash, cucumbers), along with beans that would both be a no-fail plant, as well as trailing and drapy (read: no bush beans).
About six weeks have passed since the initial planting, and I’m happy to report that everything (yes, everything!) is still very much healthy and alive.
There’s just one problem.
And, I’m afraid it’s worthy of a big, fat:
Well, maybe not that bad. The plant is still alive and very, very healthy, after all.
It’s just that…well…
Here’s what I was going for:
And, my friends, here’s what’s actually happening:
Not exactly the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” I was picturing. Instead, I have two very sturdy stems of tomatoes, growing exactly perpendicular to the ground, and headed towards the roof.
There’s a chance, I suppose, that once the tomatoes start growing, their weight could bend the stems down to give me the substantial waterfall-with-plants look I was going for.
You know, like this:
Okay, maybe not.
And, so, I find myself in a tomato conundrum: wondering if I should stick it out as-is or if I should try and remedy the situation.
As-is means either we’ll have tomatoes eventually on our roof, tomatoes hanging perfectly from cascading vines, or I’ll wake up one morning and find both stems snapped at the base from the weight of the slicer and cherry tomatoes.
Remedying the situation includes a couple options. And—I’m not gonna lie—I’m pretty sure the odds of me killing the tomato plants in the process are very, very high.
I can re-pot the plants so that they’re sideways, making the eventual fall to the ground once the weight of tomatoes compounds, less jarring. And, maybe some of the smaller stems that have sprouted off the main two would still grow straight up. It’d fill out the pot a bit.
I could also remove the plants and re-plant them in our garden beds like last year, training them to grow up strings that are tied to our porch. Then, I’d need to come up with something to fill that hanging pot … petunias, mums, anything bright and beautiful.
I’m not ready to make a decision yet.
What would you do?
Last Updated on June 13, 2017 by Liza Hawkins
Usually I see hanging tomato plants planted upside down to prevent this from happening. It might be a little late to try and do that now (I don’t think the roots would easily feed through a small hole at this point), but if you loosen the roots and tip the plants sideways, they may drape better without the stems snapping.
That’s what my sister recommended, too, tipping the plants sideways. I’m worried I’ll upset them too much, or bother the root ball. Going to give it another week or two, and then decide if I need to take action! It would be really cook if they began to drape on their own…