By Angie Marie

Growing tomatoes and strawberries upside down will allow you to free up space in your garden. The planters can hang from your porch or in your yard. The upside-down approach protects the plants from insects and diseases. Tomatoes do not need to be staked when grown upside down, and the strawberries are protected from rot because they will not touch the ground. Instead of purchasing a commercial planter, you may make your own at home to save money.

Create a 2-inch wide hole in the center bottom of a 5-gallon bucket with a drill.

Insert a tomato seedling into the hole on the bucket. Place it into the hole so that the root ball remains inside the bucket.

Secure the tomato seedling in place with sphagnum moss. Insert the moss from the top and bottom of the bucket. Have someone help you hold the bucket in place while you secure the seedling. The moss will allow the water to drain and prevent the soil from falling out of the hole.

Hang the bucket in a sunny location. It must hang securely by its handle from a sturdy post or pole.

Fill the bucket with quality commercial soil. Apply a low nitrogen fertilizer to the bucket following instructions on the fertilizer package. Add fertilizer weekly to keep the soil full of nutrients.

Water the soil from the top of the bucket to keep it moist. Never allow the soil to dry completely.

Remove the label from a 2-liter bottle. Rinse the bottle with hot water and dry it off with a paper towel.

Cut the bottom off the 2-liter bottle. Create two holes 3 inches in diameter on the sides of the 2-liter bottle close to the top.

Create four small holes large enough for the twine on the bottom of the 2-liter bottle, 1 inch above where you cut the bottom. Space these holes evenly apart so the plant will hang straight.

Cut a piece of strong twine long enough to hang the planter from the desired location. The strawberry planter must hang low enough for you to water it easily. Cut four additional pieces of twine the same length.

Insert a piece of twine into each hole. Tie a knot at the end of each piece of twine so that it remains in place inside the bottle. Bring the ends together and tie them into a knot at the top. Hang the strawberry planter in a sunny location.

Insert a strawberry plant into the small hole in the 2-liter bottle so that the roots remain inside. Add commercial potting soil until it reaches the bottom of the 3 inch holes.

Insert a strawberry plant into the holes. The roots must remain inside these holes. The leaves and stems will remain outside the planter.

Fill the 2-liter bottle with soil. Water the soil to keep it moist.