Tag Archives: how to

How to Grow Upside Down Tomatoes

8 Jul

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This could be the coolest and easiest garden project we’ve seen all summer. Students at Peters Elementary in Garden Grove, California made their own inverse tomato hangers out of recycled  plastic bottles. That’s right, Inverse hangers. As in tomatoes that grow upside down! Pretty cool, huh?

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You might be thinking “How does that even work?” It’s pretty simple. Plants naturally grow towards sunlight, so even when they’re upside down they’ll still grow up. Water goes into the top of the plastic bottle, directly onto the roots. When extra water flows down onto the plant it also gets moisture and nutrients onto its leaves, thus producing a hardier fruit.

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The kids had a blast with this project. Just look at those excited faces! DSCF1890 (480x640)


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And there you have it, tomatoes that defy gravity. Here’s how you can grow your own inverse tomatoes.

You will need:

  • tomato seedling
  • Empty two liter soda bottle or milk jug
  • hole punch
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • garden soil
  • Sturdy line to hang your planter with, such as twine, leather string, a cut coat hanger, etc.
  • A weather resistant hook

Then use these simple instructions from Instructionables.com to build your hangers.

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Have your kids done any cool garden projects this summer? Tell us about them in the comments.

Happy growing!

Summer Garden Checklist

31 May


Summer break is almost here! As you countdown the days to warm weather, summer vacations, and no homework, remember that your Teaching Garden still needs help to grow healthy and strong. To help keep your crop on track, we’ve created this summer garden check list! Following these easy steps now will help insure a healthy, tasty crop when your kiddos return to the classroom.

  • Find your Garden Guardians

Keep your garden healthy and strong during summer break by asking students, parents, or community members to watch over your crop while school is out. Having teams sign up for 1 week of garden maintenance will save you lots of time (and headaches) once school is back in session.

  • Weed now, not later

Be Proactive! Discourage weeds from sprouting over the summer by getting rid of them now. Host a weeding party before the school year ends to help keep the weed count to a minimum.

  • Mulch

Add an extra layer of mulch to the garden to help your plants retain water while keeping pests at bay.

  • H2O

Consider installing an automatic drip irrigation system to keep your crop hydrated while being water efficient! It saves time and will put your mind at rest knowing that your plants are getting the water they need during the hot summer months. Ask your local gardening center what they recommend for your region. Equipment for a small school garden can cost less than $100!

  • Photos & Video

Document your garden’s progress. Be sure to use the flip camera provided with your Teaching Garden to take pictures and video of your students in action.

  • Share with us!

Share your garden’s progress with us on social media! Love Instagram? Take a pic and tag @American_Heart  with #TeachingGardens. Tweet us using @teachinggardens. Or share your progress on our Facebook page! We love to share your photos and stories so join our online community today!

  • Teaching Garden Journal

Make sure you’re using your garden journal! Keep students engaged with the garden over summer by asking them to journal about its progress. The journal makes a great summer writing assignment, and will keep the kids’ veggie enthusiasm high!

  • Survey Time!

We want to see your growth, but we need data measure it.

For schools new to the Teaching Gardens program, make sure that you have filled out and submitted your Pre-Survey. Gardens in their second cycle after completing a harvest should have completed the Post Survey.

Happy summer Teaching Gardeners! We can’t wait to see you grow!