Our New Garden Tower

Garden Tower ProjectWe ordered a garden tower from the good folks at gardentowerproject.com a few weeks ago. The weather here in Chicago has finally gotten to the point that it seems safe to move our seedlings outdoors, so today was planting day! Set up was super easy, although you should definitely try to get it in it’s final spot before filling it with soil and water as it can become quite heavy (my mistake – I will have to let it dry out a little once the plants are established so I can move it). I think this will work great though! It fits more plants than we could otherwise grow in a huge garden plot and will use just a fraction of the water. I love the fact that we can use it to compost as well. These would be a wonderful way to expand the usability of a greenhouse too. Overall I am extremely happy with this purchase and highly recommend it!

I can’t wait to see how things fill out once the plants settle in, some of the poor things are still in shock from being transplanted. Our pepper seedlings seemed to separate quite well, and even if only a portion make it to maturity, we will still have a massive pepper crop this season. We also have several tomato seedlings, cabbage, collards, pumpkins, squash, and a bunch of herbs that over wintered indoors. I think that because we do have the ability to move the tower indoors for the winter I will try starting a new batch of seedlings to grow in the autumn. We are very pleased with this find!

Growing Sweet Potatoes In Hanging Planters

Growing Sweet Potatoes In Hanging Planters
Image credit: Grow Food Not Lawns

This is a great idea for those with limited gardening space! You won’t exactly be growing sweet potatoes in bulk, but you could make a great salad from the leaves and I like the idea of hanging plants being edible as well as beautiful. This is additional food garden square footage I had not yet considered. I need to do an experiment propagating some sweet potato vines soon so they have a chance to sprout before the weather gets warm!

Caution: while sweet potato leaves are not poisonous, common potato leaves are so don’t eat the leaves from those!

Tiered Planters

Tiered PlanterI love the idea of being able to grow more food in a smaller space, especially now when we are still located in suburban Chicago. I came across these, and love the look of them. They can be extremely expensive to purchase pre-made, but luckily they should be simple enough to build yourself.  You can either purchase plans though the company linked through the photo to the left or wing it off of the photo. If I ever get a spare moment, this would be a project that would actually be fun to do.  These would work perfectly for berries, herbs and spices!

 

As an alternative for those of us with absolutely no spare time on our hands (this is me lately), you can also get something similar premade from Amazon.

 

 

How To Grow Ginger

How To Grow A Ginger PlantGrowing ginger in your garden is really quite easy.  Purchase a fresh piece of ginger from your grocery or farmers market.  Look for a large piece with plenty of “nubs” and soak the root overnight in warm water before planting.

If you are in a northern climate where frost is a possibility, you will need to plant the ginger root in a pot that can be transferred indoors in the winter.  Either drill a hole in the bottom of the pot, or place rocks at the base for drainage.

Fill the pot with well draining soil almost to the rim.  Place the ginger root on top of the soil and cover with a thin (1/2″ to 1″) layer of dirt.  Water well and place the pot in a place that gets plenty of sunlight.

Ginger plants like to be watered regularly, but they do best in well drained soil.  When I did this experiment in our garden I tried to grow ginger in two pots, the one that received less water did much better than the one that received too much (that root rotted, an extremely stinky experience preparing that pot for the next planting).

After your ginger plant has matured, you can carefully harvest small portions of the root as needed without killing the plant.  If you are anything like us, we always end up buying much more ginger than we could use and it either rots in the refrigerator or ends up forgotten in the freezer, so having a ginger plant we can harvest from is a much more sustainable option.  If you try this let me know how the ginger does in your own garden!