Reported by Martha Koloski | bio | email | blog

There's nothing new-fangled about Antonio Sabia's tomato garden. Antonio Sabia, "I like-a tomato. I eat in a salad, and, my wife, she make-a sauce for me, for the kids." Antonio has been growing meaty tomatoes for 20 years, from the ground up. So why does there seem to be so much interest lately in growing tomatoes upside-down? Infomercial.... "Introducing the revolutionary Topsy Turvy. You might have seen the ad for the Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter. Consumer Reports wanted to know if it was worth getting. "It costs about 10 bucks, and it's basically a plastic bag with a two-and-a-half-inch hole at one end, and wire loops that you can hang it by." Sounds simple enough, but tester Bernie Deitrick found it wasn't all that easy to set up. You have to work a fragile tomato plant through the bag with the stem poking through the hole. Then flip the bag over and fill it with potting soil, and lift the plant, bag, and soil overhead to hang. All in all, a bit awkward. Consumer Reports tested it out in a rooftop garden with 24 tomato plants in both Topsy Turvy planters and regular patio boxes. Both the patio boxes and the Topsy Turvy planters yielded about the same quantity and quality of tomatoes. But testers found the Topsy Turvy plants are more vulnerable. Bernie Deitrick, "Because the plants are hanging, they sway in the wind, and in fact, two of our plants broke off during wind storms." As for Antonio Sabia, he's happy with his ground-up approach. Antonio Sabio, "Salud." "