My Garden Tower, One Month Later

It’s been about a month since Judy and I planted our Garden Tower. I last posted about it the day we picked it up from the Good Earth. Time for a post showing the progression.

After some discussion we sited the barrel just outside our back door. We had to sacrifice a few cabbage and collard plants to clear out the space, but it’s the best spot for it. The light color of the siding will reflect light for the plants growing on the back side (though one friend insists we need to innovate some sort of lazy susan apparatus to be able to spin the whole barrel around!)

Filling the Barrel

Filling the Barrel

One of the things I love most about the Garden Tower is its built-in worm composting. I could hardly wait to put saved-up kitchen scraps in there. We also added some semi-decomposed stuff from the compost pile to jump start it.

Adding vegetable matter to the center tube

Adding vegetable matter to the center tube

I bought red wigglers at a feed-and-seed shop, and there were also worms in the soil mix since we used some of our own sifted compost.

Just a handful of worms is enough: they reproduce rapidly.

Just a handful of worms is enough: they reproduce rapidly.

I had soaked seeds in water overnight to give them a head start. It was great fun poking them into the soil.

Planting Little Marvel peas on the more shaded side.

Planting Little Marvel peas on the more shaded side.

Plants scavenged from friends and a local nursery helped round it out.

I bought a couple of bell pepper plants that looked like they might survive, and this gorgeous Genovese basil. I also planted parsley starts around the back and a tomato sucker that a gardener friend rooted.

I bought a couple of bell pepper plants that looked like they might survive, and this gorgeous Genovese basil. I also planted parsley starts around the back and a tomato sucker that a gardener friend rooted.

Soon the seeds started to sprout.

Cucumbers were first to sprout. I don't know if I'll get any cukes having planted them late in the season, but it's fun trying.

Cucumbers were first to sprout. I don’t know if I’ll get any cukes having planted them late in the season, but it’s fun trying.

It was like springtime in July.

Really excited about the amaranth!

Really excited about the amaranth!

After a couple weeks it looked like this. (The cat loves hanging out in the cool shade underneath the tower.)

About 2 weeks after planting.

About 2 weeks after planting.

Today it looks like this!

Check out the cucumber vines, lower right. (And yes that is a cat under there.)

Check out the cucumber vines, lower right. (And yes that is a cat under there.)

The tomato “sucker” has suckers of its own now, and soon I’ll have to stake it. I’ve harvested basil, parsley, and a few thinnings of the greens. The worms have been chewing through their food, so in a few months I’ll have a different kind of harvest—worm castings.

We’re thinking of rigging up some sort of covering to extend the season. I hope we can keep snipping kale and chard into the winter.

I love my Garden Tower. Of course, it is not necessary to purchase this product to have a similar vertical garden. “You just need a blow torch and a two-by-four,” says one plucky friend. That seems a little more than I want to do, but this Garden Sack design looks to be a good DIY alternative.

13 thoughts on “My Garden Tower, One Month Later

  1. Awesome! Look at the growth on those plants! What a wonderful idea! Keep posting so we can see where this goes please!

  2. Cool! I think this will be a great project for my dad to build for me! I love the tube in the middle for the worms and compost. Self-fertilizing! The wooden legs seem like they won’t last, though. I’m thinking concrete blocks instead. Also, winter is a problem where I am. I’ll have to think about what happens to it in winter. Freezing and bursting the plastic wouldn’t be good but maybe the dirt would just lift up and come out a bit. My dad will know if all those holes is enough for the expansion. I have water barrels like this already that I have to empty and turn upside down in winter for this reason. I wouldn’t want to have to do that with all that soil.

    • The tube is what sold me on it too. The legs are oak, set up on bricks, so hopefully they will last. I hope you can do it in your clime! Some people bring them inside for the winter and grow under lights–supposedly if you stop watering for a week, the soil dries out and it’s a bit lighter, but still seems like it would be difficult to move.

  3. Pingback: Garden Tower Update: Mistakes Were Made | Shawndra Miller

  4. I spent hours with a heat gun and a 2×4 and it took 25 minutes per “pocket, so I gave up because I had just had hand surgery, so I cut holes with my jig saw and cut old plastic pots at an angle to form a “lip” for the plants to lean out on, and am caulking them starting tomorrow. we can see which works best, because we did half in the bent-out pocket plastic thing and half will be the inserted half pots. I also made the holes at thee two top rows smaller to grow herbs, and the rest is mostly designated for all of my strawberry plants, as last year I averaged one edible berry per day from my plants while the slugs ate the rest.
    I will take pictures, it won’t be as pretty as the pocketed one, but I also had a terrible time making them uniform.

  5. Pingback: I Heart My Garden Tower | Shawndra Miller

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