Category Archives: Urban Gardening

Tower Garden Ripe Strawberries in 75 Days!

These strawberries were just tiny plant starts when planted in my Tower Garden the middle of March. Now it’s Memorial Day weekend and I am picking ripe strawberries from my Tower Garden. All in just two and a half months!

My strawberries  in traditional soil beds have green strawberries that show no sign of ripening yet.

The Tower Garden produces fruits and vegetables 30% faster than if grown in soil.

Click here to order your Tower  Garden now!

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Tower Garden is a Kale producing machine!


Photo showing long stems of kale plants.

Long stems on kale plants due to harvesting leaves from them the past 5 months.

These kale plants have been growing in my Tower Garden since November. It is now Memorial Day Weekend. The long stems on the kale plants is where I have been picking the kale leaves the past 5 months. As I harvest the kale in this Tower Garden it just continues to grow more leaves and get taller.  Tower Garden is one mean kale producing machine!

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Tower Garden Spring Strawberry Crop

Photo of red strawberry I grew in my Tower Garden in 2 months.

I grew this strawberry in just 2 months in my Tower Garden.

Being an urban gardener with a small backyard I am always looking for urban gardening ideas. I realized the best way to use my limited space to grow vegetables was vertical gardening.

I am using Tower Gardens by Juice Plus to increase my crop yield.  Last year I planted my first vertical strawberry garden in one of my Tower Gardens. Click here to read a blog about it.


Last fall I trimmed the runners off my strawberry plants and planted them in the soil for the winter, covering them over with straw. In the beginning of March I took one of the Tower Gardens I had stored outside, click here to read article, and prepared it to plant my strawberries in. I filled the reservoir with water and installed a 20 gallon aquarium heater, setting it to keep the water at 65 degrees. I let the Tower Garden run constantly for 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate out of the water and to give the water time to warm up. Next I uncovered my strawberry plants and very carefully removed them from the ground, being careful not to damage the roots. Once each plant was removed I put it into a dish pan of water and very gently cleaned the dirt off the roots. When doing this be very gentle and try not to remove the fine hairs coming from the roots. These are what the plants use to get nutrients.

Photo of ripe red strawberry I grew in 2 months on my Tower Garden.

Strawberry on my Tower Garden I grew in just 2 months.

I cut my rock wool cubes in half and placed them around the strawberry plant roots, then put them into the Net Pot , then into the Tower Garden.

I normally have the water timer on my Tower Gardens set to run 15 minutes  on and 15 minutes off,  letting air get to the roots. Since we were still having cold nights I covered the Tower Garden with a Tower Blanket to keep the frost off the plants during the night and set the timer to run the water constantly during the night. Once the sun came up and was shinning on the Tower Garden and the temperature was in the low forties the Tower Blanket was removed, and the timer set back to 15 minutes intervals.

It is now mid May and my strawberry plants have strawberries that are beginning to turn red!  In just two months  ! This is the very best vertical container gardening system I have ever used for my backyard gardening. If you would like to have your own Tower Garden click here.

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Christmas Cactus Vacation

Christmas Cactus in full bloom photo.

Christmas Cactus in full bloom. Photo Credit Northern Gardens.

It’s time to put our Christmas Cactus outside! They love to get the extra sunshine and fresh air.  Some words of caution:

Bring your cactus back inside if there is a possibility of frost during the night.

Begin by putting your cactus in some partial shade and totally avoid direct sunshine for a couple of ­­weeks.  You will give your cactus a sun burn it placed too soon in the full sunshine! Yep, just like your own skin burning from the sun, the fragile outer tissues of the cactus will burn.  With humans, we peel off the burned skin and grow new skin underneath.  Not true for plants!  Their outer layer of tissue can’t be replaced near so easily, if at all. And don’t rub your sunscreen on your cactus either!  The oils will suffocate the plants ability to absorb oxygen! And that is also true for humans!  Best to choose sunscreens without oil, or at least a very fine oil that won’t clog your skin pores as you absorb some of your oxygen through your skin pores.

You may need to increase your watering routine for your cactus since it’s in more sun.  But, only water when the cactus is completely dry to your touch.  It is a cactus and likes drought.

Grow People:  Are you in need of a mini vacation like your Christmas cactus?  Spend 15 minutes in the sunshine every day, relax and take several very long deep breaths.  See, you feel better already!

In the fall I’ll give you a couple of secrets to get the best blooms on your cactus ever!

Would someone do a brag and share their beautiful Christmas cactus pictures that I can share with my fall posting by emailing them to me at

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Healthy Living Positive Effects of Fruits and Vegetables

Photo of kale growing on our Tower Garden.

Kale growing on our Tower Garden that we pick to make our green breakfast shake.

Bob and I often have people tell us how good our skin looks. That we have a healthy glow.

We have always attributed this to taking our  Juice Plus daily and eating lots of fruits and vegetables in our diet.

We have a green shake made with kale and other greens from our Tower Garden, seeds such as flax or chia, rice milk, fruit and 1 scoop of Complete shake mix for breakfast every morning.

For lunch we have another Complete shake which we often add fruit in order to have a variety of flavors. Dinner is mostly a vegetarian meal of more vegetables, fruits and non gluten grains.

I recently read an article that explained why people were noticing our “glow”.

This article explained some of the more noticeable ways the foods we put in our bodies, including fruits and vegetables, can affect how we look, feel, and what we excrete.

If you have ever experienced asparagus pee (characterized by a potent sulfur smell), garlic body odor (when every pour of your body seems to be exuding the stench of garlic), pine nut mouth ( a metallic taste in your mouth), or a nutmeg high (too much is hallucinogenic), you know what I’m talking about.

Most of the food effects discussed in this article are harmless, if less than welcome. But it got Bob and I thinking about the positive effects fruits and vegetables can have on our bodies and what they tell about our overall health.

Fruit and Vegetable Effect: Sweet potato skin

What it is: The healthy glow you get from eating lots of sweet potatoes or other carotenoid-containing fruits and vegetables.

What Causes It: Carotenoids (the yellow-red pigments in fruits and veggies such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, red peppers, and carrots).

What’s Happening: A diet high in carotenoids has been shown to support skin health by giving your complexion a rosy glow after just six weeks of increased consumption.[1] These plant pigments accumulate in your skin, literally changing its color. That’s a good thing, because carotenoids are antioxidants, which means in addition to making you look better, they’re also protecting your skin against UV damage.

Fruit and Vegetable Effect: Blueberry brain

What It Is: The mental clarity you find from eating blueberries every day.

What Causes It: Anthocyanins (the red, blue, and purple pigments in fruits and vegetables like blueberries, purple cabbage, and beets).

What’s Happening: Anthocyanins are thought to increase signaling in the brain. That could be why eating them has been shown to support mental health, improving memory, learning, and mood. [2],[3]

Fruit and Vegetable Effect: Apple breath

What It Is: The sweet breath you get from chomping on apples.

What Causes It: Fiber.

What’s Happening: When you eat crunchy, high-fiber foods, your mouth makes more saliva, and the oxygen in saliva inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Apples also support oral health because they’re particularly effective at cleaning your teeth, removing the food particles that bacteria so love.[4]

Fruit and Vegetable Effect: Leafy green eyes

What It Is: The visual clarity that comes from consuming plenty of leafy greens.

What Causes It: Lutein and zeaxanthin (the yellow pigments in leafy greens like kale and spinach, as well as some yellow vegetables such as corn).

What’s Happening: Numerous studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin support vision health. Specifically, they protect against age-related macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness in people over 55.[5] These pigments actually collect in the macula of the eye, where they act like a shield to filter out damaging UV light.

Fruit and Vegetable Effect: Broccoli mood

What It Is: The good mood that comes with being a regular broccoli eater.

What Causes It: Folate.

What’s Happening: Folate, also known as folic acid when consumed in supplement form, is an essential B vitamin. Folate deficiency has been linked to depression. This may be because folate helps the body make neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which support mood health.

While you may not want asparagus pee or pine nut mouth, I’m guessing you’d love to have sweet potato skin, blueberry brain, apple breath, leafy green eyes, and broccoli mood! Have you noticed what positive effects eating fruits and vegetables has on your health? To read the full article click here.

Click here if you want people to notice how healthy your skin is when your eat fresh fruits and vegetables grown from your own Tower Garden.

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How to Plan Your Perfect Tower Garden

How to Plan Your Perfect Tower Garden

Spring is in the air! Here in the Pacific Northwest the plum and cherry trees blossoms have come and for the most part are already gone, being replaced with new leaf growth. Now is the time to begin to plan what you are going to be growing this year in your Tower Gardens. There are 3 important steps to planning and planting a Tower Garden:

Photo of Tower Garden with new plant growth.

Tower Garden in my greenhouse with plants just a few weeks old.

  • Find the ideal location
  • Picking the right plants based on your preference and growing conditions
  • Stocking up on necessary supplies

If this is your first season planting on brand new Tower Garden that you just purchased from me you will need a location with about a 2.5 square foot print with the following things: Continue reading

Tower Garden Seedling Farms

10 Tower Garden Seedling Farms

If you are looking for the most convenient way to start your Tower Garden, seedlings are the way to go.

Photo of lettuce that I am growing from a seedling start.

Lettuce that I am growing from a seedling start.

I have not purchased seedlings from all of these providers. I have purchased from two of them. So I can’t offer any personal commentary on most of the following list. Their are several positive reviews on the Tower Garden Facebook page.

These are certified Future Growing Tower Garden Farms, which means they grow seedlings specifically for Tower Gardens. (i.e. they’re already growing in rockwool cubes, so you don’t have to wash dirt off the roots before transplanting).

Tower Tip: If you choose to purchase seedlings from a local nursery instead, select only those with perfectly formed leaves and no evidence of bug presence. Damage leaves typically means plants have been sprayed for pests.

Providers that ship seedlings and offer on-site pick up:

Living Towers, Eustis, Florida

Montecito Urban Farms, Santa Barbara, Califorina

ATL Urban Farms, Cumming, Georgia

Nature Crisp, Soperton, Georgia

True Garden, Mesa, Arizonia

Providers that offer on-site pickup only:

Santa Barbara Urban Farms, Santa Barbara, California

Chapala Gardens, Santa Barbara, California

So Cal Urban Farms, San Diego, California

Iron Towers, Middletown, Connecticut

Sunrise Hydroponics Amish Farm. Available Saturday mornings at: South Bend Farmers Market, 1105 Northside Blvd, South Bend, IN 46615.

Additional Resources

Once you’ve got them, be sure to read how to start your seeds (page 7) and or transplant your seedlings. If you prefer to watch rater than head, here is a great video tutorial.

And don’t forget about the 11 growing guides in the Resource Center of my website. They cover everything from planting to pest control. Review this information to ensure your new plants flourish.

Happy Growing!

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