There are a number of upside-down tomato planters on the market. The principle is sound: tomatoes are vine plants and a combination of gravity and weight stops their natural inclination to grow up towards the sun. This gives you a hanging arrangement which is excellent for limited space such as balconies and lets the tomatoes get maximum sunlight.
Unfortunately, they're not cheap, but this is where our junk gardening comes into play using only a wooden hatstand scored from Freecycle and an old soda bottle.
First you need to wash that big fat 3L plastic soda bottle and get rid of all the
coke ginseng and acai berry juice. Then chop off the bottom with a Stanley knife so that you're left with the screw cap end and a wide length of bottle. You'll need to make equidistant holes around the neck for hanging so...
What you then need to do is go through all of the boxes that you still haven't unpacked from November when you moved in, because you put the holepunch in one of them "for safe keeping". Along the way you'll find the spare printer cartridge, some books you forgot to return to the Women's Centre and a handful of highlighter pens.
These are all good things.
Ok: here comes the tricky part. The object of the exercise is to get happy little plantlette A (on the right) into strangely mutant and threatening-looking bottle B (on the left).
Except, it has to be upside down as well.
Ideally, you need five hands for this, but you only have two, so good luck and don't let the neighbours watch you, because you will end up on YouTube. Gently, oh so gently tease the baby tomato through the narrowest bottle neck in Christendom and try not to break any tender stems. Or leaves. Or anything, really.
Ignore Ralph next door. He'll be begging you for instructions in a month.
Finished? Good. That was the easy part. Now you have to get the earth into the bottle which you are currently balancing on your forefinger and thumb and trying not to drop. Just pack it in there so the plant is nice and snug. And remember to use really bone dry soil so that it flies into your eyes and you can't see and you drop the already traumatised tomato plant on solid concrete.
Excellent. Now you get to water it until it's soaking wet - tomatoes love water, remember? Keep it balanced on your numb fingers and use your soil-encrusted other hand to sprinkle those precious fluids. It'll get a lot heavier from this point on, but don't worry: I'm laughing along with your neighbours.
Now you need to let it drain for a bit whilst you go and find the marigolds. It's at this point that you notice the Ikea metal balcony planter that you bought back at Easter which would have come in real handy about an hour ago. You might want to use that.
Once your tomato is drained and ready to go you can plant the marigolds in the top part of the planter, which used to be the bottom but has now gone all Australian. Send Russell Crowe over to the neighbours for some tea and biscuits.
Spend the next hour prising the marigolds out of the funky tin cans you planted them in three months ago and remember to cut your finger on the razor-sharp lip that you fully intended to hammer down flat but forgot about. The cup of tea in the ER is free.
Wire up the holes that you punched so you can secure your planter to the hat hanging parts of the wooden hat stand and you're good to go. Look's good, doesn't it? And the doctors say you'll have 75% mobility in that thumb of yours in about a week, so that's a bonus.