For our upside down planters, we took an old plastic bucket and cut out a whole in the middle of the bottom. I don’t have an appropriate saw, so we simply drilled a series of small holes to outline the circle, then whacked the center with a hammer and out it popped. We drilled 4 holes around the top of the bucket for the cord to hang it. The one Topsy Turvy planter that I purchase came with a slit foam insert to put around the stem of the plant and keep the plant and dirt from falling out. I used some an (hopefully well washed and rinsed) kitchen sponge which I cut up the middle and made a little hole for the plant. I used clothes line cord to hang mine. (Make sure you have a strong hook ready in place before you plant)
Carefully put the plant through the hole, the sponge around the stem inside the bucket. Carefully protecting your baby roots - and not setting your planter down and crushing your plant! This is where the buckets are so nice. Being rigid, you can set the edge on something or put it between 2 sawhorses. The Topsy Turvy planter, you must awkwardly hold, unless you have an assistant - fill with potting soil.
We planted them Friday and 4 days later they are not dead yet. So far so good. It would look nice, I think to plant something in the top of the bucket, but I haven’t done that yet. The Topsy Turvy planter has a plastic lid that sets on the top. Helps reduce weeds and evaporation.
I like my buckets better than the Topsy Turvy planter. Easier to handle and to plant. The Topsy Turvy lid doesn’t really want to stay nicely in place. Also, with the buckets I can see where the water is.
Saturday, a gal in our ward (Mormon congregation) invited people to share gardening ideas and experiences. She taught us how to make self-watering planters with 5 gallon buckets, a disposable drinking cup and a foot and a half or couple of feet of PCP pipe. I will try to describe them. Two buckets will sit one inside the other. The bottom or outside bucket is the reservoir bucket. Drill a few small holes around the side of the reservoir bucket about an inch below where the bottom of the inner or planter bucket will sit. This will prevent overfilling and drowning your plants and also allow aeration. The planter bucket is more interesting. You need a large plastic drinking cup in which you will cut slits. In the middle of the planter bucket, cut a whole to fit the drinking cup down through so it sits in the bottom of the reservoir bucket and comes up at least to the bottom of the planter bucket. Also drill several drainage holes in the bottom of the planter. And a hole near the side for the pcp pipe. Cut one end of the pcp pipe so that it will NOT sit flat down in the reservoir. Sit the planter bucket down in the reservoir bucket. Put the drinking cup down the hole of the planter bucket and the pipe down its hole. Put dirt in the drinking cup to wick the water up into the planter. ( a good mix of peat and potting soil would be good – the peat will draw better). Fill the planter bucket with soil and plant. If you want a weed free planter, they recommend you slightly overfill the planter, cut a piece of plastic to fit (with a hole or X for your plant) and secure it around the bucket. Fill your reservoir via the pipe and your planter should be good for several days – did they say 2 weeks? My friend saw this on You tube, so you can no doubt get better instructions with visuals there.