Sued51's Blog

{July 6, 2010}   Topsy-Turvys and the Hillbilly Garden

Home gardening is becoming more popular than ever due to the economy.  Most people grow some kind of food in the summer, even if it is just some herbs and a patio tomato. What do you do if you don’t have a yard, or your yard does not have a good sunny spot in the back or side to have a vegetable garden?  Is it socially acceptable to have a vegetable garden in the front yard?

In my area, I see lots of Topsy Turvys (upside down tomato growers) on front porches. At my job, I had a conversation with a woman who said she grows tomatoes along the front walkway because it is the sunniest spot in her yard, and she loves the convenience of picking them as she walks into the house after work (although her husband hates it).  Many people unable to afford the cost of fancy pots grow their tomatoes in buckets (like the orange “Homer” Home Depot buckets, which are under $3.00). When I mentioned this phenomenon to a coworker, she said she called it a “Hillbilly Garden”.

Container gardening is also becoming popular.  Google “container gardening with vegetables” and check out the wealth of information on the internet for this topic.  One book I was reading suggested using the plastic tubs sold at party stores as an inexpensive container; most any container will do, as long as it is large enough for the type of plant, and it has holes for drainage.

I have a small vegetable garden on the side of my house that barely gets enough sun for me to grow tomatoes.  I have the best luck with peas and beans.  So this year, I have two Topsy Turvys on my farmer’s porch, and a line of every pot I could find on the driveway, by far the sunniest spot.  In honor of my coworker, I call this my “hillbilly garden” (though I don’t have any buckets).  I don’t think it is TOO ugly; do you?

Fanny says:

looks great to me! Happy belated 4th


Devan says:

I LOVE IT! and am glad to have such a great name for the garden I hope to start.

I have a tiny hot block-walled in, concrete and landscape rocked typical patio home yard in HOT arizona. I have been wanting to starta small garden for some time since I eat tons and tons of veggies and use lots of fresh herbs when i can afford to buy them. buckets – of course – wow. If i build a container and put the buckets (with bottom drilled holes) in the container and it’s dirt I can not only conserve our precious water, grow more different things but also help prevent them from nudging each other out.

Our spring begins in September so I have a bit of time to figure this out.

I can build a container with wheels or attach it to on an old flat ‘dolly’ so I can move it around the yard by season and in some months – time of day. Looking to use no or very little wood (the termites, cockroaches and thus scorpions love it).

(1) suggestions on what I can use for a box – I was thinking something heavy duty plastic (the type that can live outside in our heat like say the weight of plastic pallets used in our supply chain) ?? but ???
(2) where to look for a used flat ‘dolly’/appliance dolly and any other descriptors i can use, and does anyone know if these come in plastic?


sued51 says:


Those plastic containers for putting ice and drinks in at party stores (or Walmart) are also great (and colorful) containers for plants, as long as you put the holes in them.

I have some plastic dollies with wheels that I have accumulated over the years, but I’m not sure where I got them.

There’s a new soil that Scotts (Miracle Gro) puts out that is supposed to retain moisture. I haven’t tried it, but I’ll bet that would work well for you in Arizona.

Happy gardening!!


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