Category Archives: Urban Gardening

Seattle Vegfest 2014 March 29th and 30th

Come and see our Tower Gardens on display at the 2014 Seattle Vegfest

Backyard Vertical Urban Gardening with our Tower Garden by Juice Plus.

Backyard Vertical Urban Gardening with our Tower Garden by Juice Plus.

March 29 and 30th from 10 AM until 6 PM at the Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall. The Vegfest is a wonderful family activity for adults and children.

  • Over 700 different food samples to try.
  • Chefs from all over the country will be giving vegetarian cooking demonstrations.
  • Learn the latest information about nutrition from medical doctors.
  • Receive free health checks, and even artery scans. Limited availability – first come, first served.
  • Special Kid’s Section where children can learn healthy habits while having fun; clowns, face painting and more.

Many people recognize the health and nutrition benefits of vegetarian food choices. The question is where do I start.  Learn what to eat, what to buy and how to cook it at the Vegfest. This festival provides the support you need in a fun, family atmosphere to learn about the vegetarian lifestyle.

Tower Garden Winter Food Production

I have a Tower Garden inside of my greenhouse and it’s just going nuts! It grows  faster than two people can eat!  And we eat a green salad nearly every day form the Tower Garden. I  give away greens to my friends!  When I see the wilted so called fresh produce in the grocery store. I love my Tower Garden even more!  And my home produce is organic!

Here is a picture taken the first of November when I first put my starts in the Tower Garden, The second, third and fourth pictures were taken today. You can see how they’ve grown. I’ve been picking every couple of days since the  3rd week of November.  Our Thanksgiving Dinner included ample salad for five from our Tower Garden.

Photos of my Tower Garden producing food that is feeding us this winter.

Photo taken Nov 9th about 2 weeks after I planted by Tower Garden. Compare this photo with the last photo to see how big it has grown!

Photos of my Tower Garden producing food that is feeding us this winter.

Photo taken Nov 14th about 3 weeks after I planted my Tower Garden.

Photos of my Tower Garden producing food that is feeding us this winter.

Photo taken Nov 21st, about 4 weeks after I planted my Tower Garden.

Photos of my Tower Garden producing food that is feeding us this winter.

Photo taken Jan 16th of my Tower Garden producing food that is feeding us this winter.

Close up of my Tower Garden plants.

Close up of my Tower Garden plants taken on Jan 16th.

 

 

Tower Garden Stawberries, Winter Protection

Tower Garden Urban Garden Strawberries

I picked the last of my strawberries from my Garden Tower November 15th. 

I have covered my Tower Garden strawberries for the winter.

I have covered my Tower Garden strawberries for the winter.

Even though some of them were green, they were still sweeter than store bought ones!

I left the strawberry plants in the Tower Garden ports.  I removed all undeveloped fruit so it wouldn’t develop botritis (that white sooty mold you see on decayed plant material).

To prepare the Tower Garden for the winter, I removed the pump from the reservoir and drained  the Tower Tonic into a bucket. I reuse my Tower Tonic on my potted plants in my home and greenhouse. I cleaned the reservoir with mild dish soap and rinsed it well..

Next, I reassembled the Tower Garden. To keep the tower from being blown off the reservoir, I used two 1 1/2″ bolts with a washer on the top and bottom of the tower top platform to firmly secure it to the reservoir.  I hand tighten the nuts to prevent any potential of cracking the food grade plastic the Tower Garden is made from. I’ve found it’s easier to use a square or hex nut instead of a wing nut. It’s too difficult to turn the wing nut in the limited space when removing them.

The last step was to cover my strawberries with a gardening material called Reemay.  It’s a very fine material used to protect plants from frost in spring and fall, too much sun in the summer and to protect plants from flying and crawling insects.  Reemay or other brand names can be purchased at good nursery supply stores. Reemay is comparable to using straw or leaves over strawberries that are grown in the soil to give them winter protection. I wrapped a double thickness of Reemay around the strawberries in the tower and secured it in three places with bungie cords.

Twenty eight lovely strawberry plants will be uncovered in mid April, 2014 to start growing their tasty berries again.

Click on the links below to read other blogs I have done about strawberries:

Halloween Strawberries

Tower Garden Strawberry Crop

Tower Garden First Frost

Tower Garden Winter Protection Blanket

Don’t laugh, it’s not a missile!

My Tower Garden had its first frost Tuesday night. I didn’t realize that it was going to get down to freezing!. When I got up on Wednesday morning Jack Frost had painted the whole outside with white sparkles! I ran outside to check my Tower Garden and found the leaves to be frozen. I feared that I had lost everything!

The sun came out and warmed up to the low 40′s. My Tower Garden is positioned on the South side of my house, the sunniest area. At 1 PM Bob turned the tower around for me so that the backside would also get direct sun, too. My plants just came right back as if nothing had happened. Amazing! So I trimmed leaves and made a lovely 100% organic salad for dinner.

Last night I put the Juice Plus Winter Protection Blanket over my Tower Garden. It was 26 degrees at 6:30 AM, and the frost was thicker this morning. My Tower Garden seems to be happy with no frost on the leaves and no frozen plants this morning. Happy, happy! Looks like I’ll be covering it every night. Don’t laugh, it’s not a missile!

From previous posts, you’ll recall that I have a submersible water heater in the reservoir and have wrapped the reservoir in commercial quality insulating bubble wrap to conserve on electricity.  Click on the links below to go to these posts.

5 Ways to Expand Your Growing Season

Tower Garden Reservoir Winterized

Tower Garden Winter Heater

 

 

 

 

 

Urban Garden My New Potting Bench

Urban Garden Potting Bench

For my birthday this year Bob built me a new potting bench out of cedar. He stained it for me so it matches our fence.  Bob enclosed the back of the shelf’s so that pots and ‘stuff’ on them would be hidden. He originally planned to enclose the whole back, but I wanted an area open. Now I can see out and see my urban garden as I’m working.

It is lovely to have a working area that is all grouped together; greenhouse, garden shed, and potting table. Bob ran a water line and a yard hydrant so I would have water year round.  No more dragging hoses!

Urban Garden Pottng Table

My new potting table.

Urban Garden Potting Table Work Area

My potting table, greenhouse and garden shed.

Tower Garden T-5 Growing Lights

Tower Garden Urban Garden

It is now fall and the days are too short.  I have too much shade on my green house so I needed to add some light to my Tower Garden.  I will be growing all winter maximizing my investment.. From Living Towers,  I purchased a set of 4 T-5 lights.  They were very easy to install. Here are some photos and  detailed instructions of how Bob did it.

Tower Garden awaiting its grow lights.

Tower Garden awaiting its grow lights.

To install grow lights on the side of your Tower Garden it will need to be equipped with a Tomato Cage. The grow lights will attach to the Tomato Cage.

Bottom of Tower Garden grow lights installed.

Bottom of Tower Garden grow lights installed.

When you remove the grow lights from the box you will find two metal clips and plastic tie on strips. Do NOT install the clips where the instructions say. These lights are designed to be used on other things besides the Tower Garden. The grow lights need to rise a bit above the Tower Garden so your plants will grow upward toward the light.  I put the clip on the bottom just above the rivet. This elevated the bottom above the bottom row of plants so they would grow upwards. When putting on the clips make sure they are pointing downward to slide over the plastic tie strips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABob put the plastic wire tie around one of the supports of the tomato cage. He didn’t pull it tight. He left some slack in the clip so the light would fit over it. Once he had the light clipped over the tie strip, then then he pulled it tight.

Close up off plastic wire tie and clip.

Close up off plastic wire tie and clip.

Next he installed the second metal clip so it was opposite the top ring of the tomato cage. He installed the plastic tie strip by threading it through the metal clip and then pulling it tight. He mounted a grow light to each of the four supports of the tomato cage.

Grow lights installed on Tower Garden plugged into timer.

Grow lights installed on Tower Garden and plugged into the timer strip.

Next he set the timer that came with the lights.  With artificial light, the plants need a minimum of 12 hours. So we set them from 7 AM  to 7 PM. I plugged the grow lights into the timer and plugged it in and we were done.

Note the small new seedlings that I started directly in the netty pots.  I used a heat pad and once they sprouted, I kept them under a grow light.  What fun! To learn more about how to grow fresh vegetables during the winter months see my blog 5 Ways to Extend Your Growing Season.

Tower Garden Winter Storage

Tower Garden Urban Garden

I don’t have anywhere to store my Tower Garden inside for the winter. After I cleaned it I put a plastic leaf bag over the top and wrapped a second leaf bag around the bottom. I taped the bags down with my greenhouse tape. Now my Tower Garden will stay clean and ready for spring planting.  I will start my peas in March and some more kale, spinach, collard, and Swiss Chard, maybe some more beet greens and lettuce varieties too. To see how I cleaned this Tower Garden out for the winter read my blog Cleaning our Garden Towers.

Tower Garden all covered up for the winter.

Tower Garden all covered up for the winter.

Tower Garden – Cleaning our Tower Gardens

Tower Garden Urban Garden

The crops of vegetables I grew over the summer in my Tower Garden have been picked and eaten with gusto. The flavors and size of the plants and produce were truly amazing. Now it’s time to clean the Tower Garden and get two of them ready to plant for the winter. Here are some photos of what I experienced while cleaning them!

Tower Garden in full production summer 2013

Tower Garden in full production summer 2013

This is the Tower Garden that I was cleaning and getting ready for the winter months. All the food we got from this Tower Garden was just amazing!

Tower Garden disassembled for cleaning.

Tower Garden disassembled for cleaning.

The first step was to disassemble the tower part of the Tower Garden. With all of the roots of the plants extending between each of the tower sections, it was pretty difficult. It took Bob and me both to pull them apart on the largest ones.

Roots inside one section of our Tower Garden.

Roots inside one section of our Tower Garden.

Just look at the roots inside one of the stacking sections! I cut the stems as close to the tower as I could.and than pulled the basket out.  I had to cut into the  mass of roots in order to free the basket.  There were some baskets that I had to cut and destroy to get the roots out. All roots and stems went into my compost pile.

Bob holding the told of the Tower Garden with its giant kyle.

Bob holding a giant Kale plant in one section..

The top section of my Tower Garden still had a very healthy and producing kale crop. I removed it from the Tower and put with the roots in a basin of Tower Tonic water while I cleaned the rest of the Tower Garden.

Me cleaning my Tower Garden.

Me cleaning my Tower Garden.

I filled a bucket with hot water and lots of dish washing soap. I used a new scrub brush to clean each section of the tower. I used the syphon hose to empty the reservoir and then cleaned the reservoir.   I saved the Tower Tonic water to use on my house plants.

All summer long I mixed Tower Tonic to fertilize my traditional vegetable garden and potted plants throughout my yard.  It really was surprising how it made flowers bloom!  And it’s cheaper than anything else I have found.

Me rinsing my Tower Garden after cleaning it.

Me rinsing my Tower Garden after cleaning.

After I scrubbed each of my Tower Garden sections I thoroughly rinsed them  with a garden hose and spray nozzle. I sprayed over my garden so the run off water wouldn’t be wasted, but  absorbed by my other plants.

Tower Garden cleaning and growing a new crop for the winter months.

Tower Garden cleaning and growing a new crop for the winter months.

This picture shows the new crop I planted for winter growing.  Bob and I will be eating off it all most of the winter if the water heater and protection blanket work as well as I anticipate. Nothing beats fresh Tower Garden produce.

Tower Garden in the Snow

TOWER GARDEN IN THE SNOW

Here are a few photos of my friend Doug Barlows Tower Garden on his deck in the snow last year. Doug purchased a vinyl greenhouse at a big box store that covered his two Tower Gardens. He added grow lights and a aquarium heater in the reservoir.  His Tower Gardens produced fresh produce for his family all winter long.

tower garden urban vertical farming greenhouse in snow

Doug Barlow’s vinyl greenhouse in the snow.

Snow outside and thriving  Tower Garden plants inside.

Snow outside and thriving Tower Garden plants inside.

See my blog about 5 Ways to Extend Your Growing Season for more information on growing vegetables in your Tower Garden during the winter months.

Tower Garden Urban Vertical Farming in Snow

Doug Barlow’s greenhouse with Tower Gardens ready for the winter.

Tower Garden Difference Between Organic and Hydronponic Gardening

Tower Garden

Here is a link to a very good article from Ubran Garden Magazine for a great article for Tower

Our Tower Garden Urban Farm

Our Tower Garden Urban Aeroponic Farm

Garden lovers on difference between organic farming and hydroponics. I love the line about organic farming or “terraponics” is about feeding the soil. Hydroponics means ‘water working” Hydroponics is about feeding the plant.

http://urbangardenmagazine.com/2011/02/hydroponics-and-organics-%E2%80%93-what%E2%80%99s-the-difference/