Posts Tagged ‘Garden Tower’

It’s Not Too Soon to Plan Your Garden …

Just a little garden inspiration for people who’ve never gardened before or have only a small space to grow vegetables. Whether a potted tomato on your patio, or a mini herb garden, even the tiniest amount of homegrown food fills you with flavor and a sense of real accomplishment. Getting your hands in the dirt is one of the fastest and easiest ways to improve your mood and raise your vibration.

It always helps to brainstorm a garden before planting it. You’ll save money, time, and have much more success with at least a little planning. Yes, there’s room for spontaneous additions, but spend some preemptive time observing your intended site(s) and gathering seeds and other supplies.

BBC Gardener of the Decade Katherine Crouch packs so many tips into this one video. I’ve intensively gardened for over a decade, and I learned a bunch in 20 minutes:

I’ve used Big Bag Beds and Smart Pots for at least five years. I like these for perennials, as well as annuals. You do need to water more frequently than an in ground garden, but the aerated roots produce healthy, robust plants. You can also work around existing landscaping and/or poor soil, just plunking a raised bed on a reasonably level surface with good light.

existing garden plus newly added Big Bag Beds and Smart Pots

This next video covers five different crops you can grow in under a month:

I’ve blogged for many years about the Garden Tower Project and Garden Tower 2.

I can’t believe how much produce I’ve harvested from the GT2 the last couple years. I especially love growing carrots and lettuce on the top — no bunnies munching up there! I’ve also grown several basil’s next to a dwarf tomato plant a couple years. Another year, I grew bush beans and kale up top.

If you live somewhere with garden munchers, a mesh cage and low metal fencing keeps out the larger critters AND the cabbage moths. You just need to be careful you don’t accidentally leave a moth in there if it sneaks in while you’re harvesting. In that case, you’ll need to diligently pick off those black eggs on any kale or collard plants, so you don’t get an enclosed infestation. Once you clear out the eggs, you’ll have a moth free garden again. The mesh is large enough for bumblebees to climb through, but it keeps out many aerial pests.

Garden Tower 2

Over the years, I’ve adapted how I use the Tower. I use plant nannies and scatter several Pellegrino bottles (filled with regular water, not the fizzy stuff!) throughout the pockets. This eases some of the watering frequency during long, hot or windy days. It also allows me to go on a short vacation without worrying that my plants will die. The GT2 is an amazing way to grow a lot of plants in about a 4’x4′ (or less) space, but so many plants in so little soil do require more water than a traditional raised bed would. Extra rich compost also aids moisture retention.

If I grow taller plants on the top, I use the compost tube and worm setup. When I grew lettuce up top last year, I decided not to use the compost tube so as not to contaminate my lettuce by pouring rotting food scraps and eggshells right over it. Had I thought of this issue ahead of time, I would have only planted the lettuce on the outer edge. If you don’t do use the compost tube and worms as originally designed, then you’ll need to add compost and/or organic fertilizer a few times throughout the season. The worms work well, but with all the groundhogs and bunnies, I LOVED having a large tray of lettuce and carrots out of their reach. I have other compost bins, so it made sense to prioritize the lettuce.

For those people who want to garden because they’re concerned about our crazy external world, here are the 15 fastest growing survival veggies to grow in a crisis. He offers great information, but also has such lovely energy and a positive attitude:

For seeds, I like Baker Creek Seeds, which offers a wide variety of heirloom and organic seeds. A lot of farmers markets and local co-ops also offer plant starts, which can help you fast track your garden. I use a mixture of direct seeding, starting seeds indoors, as well as purchasing plant starts from farmers or stores. There’s no shame in letting more experienced gardeners begin the process for you, especially if that makes the difference between gardening or not gardening!

Garden Update: Indoor and Outdoor Abundance and Beauty

Happy 11/11 and Happy Veteran’s Day to all who served!

I haven’t given a Fall Garden Update in awhile, and today’s colors are too pretty to keep to myself. From the front yard of edibles mixed with ornamentals:

From the backyard, including some of today’s harvest from the Garden Tower 2:

From the newly expanded indoor garden:

On the weekend, I mentioned foundational shifts. In addition to switching the locations of two portal doors, I moved my old desk behind a painted chest, so that I could add trays of spinach, lettuce, cilantro, parsley and chives along our large South facing window. I love my new L-shaped desk and new extra ergonomic office chair, but I really love having this extra growing space. We don’t have window sills, so this fills a formerly unavailable planting niche.

I’m also pleased that you can barely see the edible additions from our entryway. Except for the reflection in the window, it just looks like a bunch of houseplants:

The additional planting space brings the outdoor garden in. When David first saw what I had done, he said, “You’re going all Frank Lloyd Wright on me!”

I started the little sprouts outside, many weeks ago. Because of the cold temperatures, they grew very slowly — but just the right size for transplanting once I decided to grow inside. Here’s hoping they get enough light to give fresh herbs and greens all winter!

Lush

Just a few garden pix today, plus a reminder. If you missed spring and summer planting, you still have time to plant cool weather crops like spinach, lettuce, mustard and bok choy. I started some inside today to replace lettuce and spinach that already bolted.

The Garden Tower 2 continues to produce loads of greens.

A few varieties of lettuce remain, and I need to harvest the New Kuroda carrots to see how well these shorties grew. I knew I wouldn’t have room for long carrots, but tried these as an experiment in the shallow top. Most of the tower filled in with collards, kale, basil, nasturtium, and chard.

Red hot poker compliments the Garden Tower 2:

As the orange daylilies fade away, echinacea (purple coneflower) and hyssop bloom in the same pot. The bees approve!

DIY Food Department: Urban Gardens Deepen and Diversify

I love this! It is happening, folks. Get in on the action, wherever you are, however you can. I just read that as of January 1, 2014, the US and Japan are allowed to sell each other’s “organic” produce without labeling origins. Um, Fukushima area has loads of organic farms. Personally, I would prefer to grow my own. You don’t need to have an insanely wild yard that takes all your time to transform into permaculture paradise. You could start with a small plot of square foot gardening, a window garden, community garden space, neighborhood yardshare, or a Garden Tower. With food prices set to skyrocket, you probably won’t get a better return on investment than fresh, free produce grown by you. Next best and equally important? Support your local organic farmers. Buy directly if you can, through CSA’s and at the local farmers market. These folks work so hard to provide us fresh, real food. We need to support them if we want to continue having such options. Bon Appetit!