Starting My Tower Garden

TowerGardenWeekOne2I recently got my first Tower Garden and I’m excited to get it setup and running. It’s just been so cold here in Connecticut that the days seem to drag on, but I started the seedlings inside and now it’s time to plant the tower.

Each section holds 4 plants and there are 7 sections. The bottom 4 are tomatoes and above that are cucumbers. The 3rd row is green beans and eggplant and above that is swiss chard. The 5th row is spinach, then bib lettuce and the final 7th row is lettuce and basil.

The Tower Garden uses Aeroponics which is a leap froward from traditional Hydroponics. The big difference is that air is mixed with the fortified water as it showers down and the roots never remain submerged. There is no medium with Aeroponics, whereas Hydroponics uses the nutrient enriched water as the medium.

With the Tower Garden, vegetables grow faster and uses less water. It’s compact, vertical and simple to set up which is perfect for decks and patios.

My Dad is a master gardener and he decided to build his own style of a tower garden that uses dirt, so it’s more like a traditional pot. He started with a 30 gallon plastic drum which he cut slits in and then heated and used a beer bottle to create the plant pockets. Gordon used volcanic rocks at the bottom for drainage and then a hybrid mix of gardening soils, peat moss and compost. He created a center PVC tube filled with holes that is used for feeding and watering. It’s now filled with strawberries.

Stone Planters

StonePlanters2Connecticut is full of rocks. Stick a shovel in the ground and you have a 98% chance of striking a rock, big or small. The spot I picked for my garden has two main problems; too many rocks and possibly the old site of the previous owner’s pool. It’s tough enough to deal with natural rocks, but when I’m tilling and hit a chunk of concrete, that just spoils the organic perception of a garden.

So, what to do? I could move my spot, but that would mean moving my fencing and posts too. Plus I have planted some fruit trees and I don’t want to move those or leave the fence up just for the trees. It’s a great location and takes advantage of the sun and existing rock wall around the pool. Solution: take advantage of the natural abundance of rocks.

I decided to build stone planter boxes. Using rocks that were in the garden and other rocks that are in my back garden, I built 2 stone planters for this year’s garden. Noah and Katie helped me move the rocks that were dug up and we all got a workout. Eventually the entire garden will be raised stone planters.

I filled the two planters with tilled dirt and soil from under the leaf piles in the back, along with compost from my compost bins. In the first planter box, I planted peas, beets and broccoli. I can’t wait for this cold weather to brake so I can plant the other box with seedlings that are in the sunroom.

Spring Queen

SpringQueen12

During the Spring cleanup at the end of March there was no sign of the Queen. 3 weeks later she has been very busy. I checked on my bees today and pulling out the second frame, there she was. She’s looking as strong as ever and has many brood in various stages with some just waiting to be hatched.

I’m a little worried seeing a Queen cell, so not sure what they are thinking. I’ll do a little research to see what I need to do. More to come.