Upside down tomato-a-go-go - Demonstrating rubbish as a resource


All you need is:

  • An empty plastic milk container (4 pint bottle is ideal)
  • An old shoe lace or strong string
  • Hole-punch
  • Scissors
  • Compost (ideally organic)
  • A young tomato plant
  • Pencil or dibber
  • Moss (optional)

This project demonstrates 'rubbish as a resource', lets you be super-efficient with water and gives you the opportunity to grow organically without the use of pesticides.

Step 1

Cut the bottom off the bottle and keep it to use as a tray for windowsill plants like lettuce, chillies or herbs. (If you're a young recycler/ gardener, you may want to get an adult to help you with the cutting).

Step 2
Hole-punch the long sides, thread the lace through the holes and tie securely to form two good hanging handles.
Step 3
With the lid on, 3/4 fill with organic compost and press down gently to firm it up.

Step 4
Lay the bottle on its side, remove the lid and make a good sized hole with your dibber (pencil). Carefully place the tomato plant in it and press down firmly inside the bottle to secure the plant. It is hard to believe that it won't fall out, but if you prefer to plug the hole with moss for a snugger fit, feel free!

Step 5
Hang the bottle on a wall that gets good sunshine and watch as gravitropism kicks in and makes the plant turn up towards the sky! Water every day and pinch the central shoot out after the plant has split into 4 fronds (branches) to stop it growing taller and to encourage bushy growth.

Top Tip 

Small to medium sized tomatoes are best for this project. Have a go with the Gardeners Delight variety or a Tumbling Tom.