DIY Topsy Turvy garden

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ecause we live near a 150-acre wood, squirrels, turkey and deer are regular visitors to our humble abode. Not to mention 18 species of birds so far. And gophers.

I wanted to have a garden this year, but the area of our small yard receiving sunlight is very small. It is also very sloped. Raised beds might have been possible but the cost to build several of them to be remotely level would have been rather high. Higher, at least, than I wanted to spend.

Enter the topsy turvy garden. Sort of.

I found out about the official Topsy Turvy years ago from a man who had made his own. He had a lush tomato plant growing off a back porch hanger.

Enter again my cheap-skate self. Official Topsy Turvy’s in stores were not as cheap as I had hoped so I looked for alternatives.

After researching some upside-down plant options we ordered a variety of seeds from Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, a family owned and operated, non-GMO seed company. To complete our supply we picked up a couple of organic seed packs from Walmart.

I spent about an hour at Lowe’s one night thinking through the cheapest way to accomplish the upside-down garden without having the neighbors call the HOA. One DIY site suggested hanging plastic trash cans from shepherd’s hooks. Twine or chain was used for the suspension. Shepherd’s hooks are upwards of $10, trash cans can vary from $4-6, and so on. This route was not going to save me nearly enough money. Not only that, we get a lot of strong wind through our yard. I envisioned my garden spinning like a pinwheel with squash and beans all over the roof.

What I settled on was 4-inch pvc drainpipe. I guess it is used on the outflow side of the plumbing system. A ten foot section at Home Depot was about $8.00. Using a hacksaw to create 18-inch lengths I will get 6 planters out of one pipe.

A landscape timber is a very suitable post and, at about $3.25, much cheaper than a 4×4. I used green landscape drain covers ($2.00/each) for the platform at the plant end, and a mixture of screws to attach all the pieces. About half a can of flat black paint will stave off any Sanford and Son references. I figure there is about $7.25-8.00 in each 2-upside-down-planter-stand, not including plants and dirt. Two for $8.00 and no pinwheeling.

The one I built took all of about 90-minutes including digging the hole. I am not a carpenter, so that’s not bad. One neighbor has seen it and was very complimentary on the look.

I hope to post a step-by-step later.

DIY Topsy Turvy planter

First section of the upside-down garden.

DIY Topsy Turvy planter

Fin de Bagnol bean plant (l) and Straight Eight cucumber (r)

DIY Topsy Turvy planter

There are six drain holes in each pipe, not including the planting platform.

DIY Topsy Turvy planter

Three screws on hold each drain cap in place.

If you have any carpentry skills at all this is a piece of cake. Using the upside-down garden method our plants will get about six hours of direct sunlight each day which should be enough to grow well. Between the upside-down garden and planters our aim is to have squash, beans, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatos, eggplant, 6 types of peppers, cantaloupe, carrots, a variety of lettuce and spices.

Here goes nothing!

For the curious, but slightly less adventurous, check out these Topsy Turvy options at Amazon.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.