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Gardening Again Thanks To Doris

How Do You Grow A Vegetable Garden When You Don't Have Much Time?

Kiwi, Official Garden Tower Supervisor and Nibble Master

Can you relate to wanting to have a garden but not having much time (or space) to devote to a garden? That was my dilemma last year.

Although I have plenty of land to have a vegetable garden, I had a lot on my plate as far as responsibilities and didn't have much time to devote to gardening. 

But I wanted to grow my own food. Just the basics. You know... fresh tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries lettuce and other goodies. There's nothing like eating real food out of your own back yard!

In years past, I dug up a large area, fenced it off from critters (yes, Kiwi too), got fresh soil, prepared the beds, planted starts and seeds, weeded, watered, weeded more... you know the drill. I loved it but it was time consuming. 

I needed an easier way to garden that didn't require so much of my time.

Enter The Garden Tower!

After a little web research I found an awesome USA based company dedicated to helping people in small spaces, with limited resources grow their own food! (Check them out at thegardentowerproject.com). 

The parts were light weight and easy to unbox. The hardest part was deciding exactly where to put it. 
It took almost all three bags of soil to fill the entire garden tower. I combined these organic varieties.

It was a BIG RISK to invest in this garden tower without knowing if it was going to solve my problem. I decided to give it a try because I really like the mission of the company and also the fact that the garden tower isn't just a garden.

It's An Entire Ecosystem!

The center of the tower is a compost! All you have to do is add some composting worms along with some bedding (cardboard or newspaper) and throw your kitchen scraps in there and voila! The worms do their magic while weaving in and out through the soil providing extra nutrition to all the growing plants. It's genius!

This shows the center cylinder before I added the soil.
The center of the tower has a removable lid. That's where you put your worms, 'bedding' and compostable food scraps.

Setting Up And Plating The Garden Tower

I set it up over the course of several days. First just the parts, then I got the soil and then the vegetable starts. I planted over 50 plants!

The whole thing was pretty easy to put together. I did it all by myself.
Kiwi supervised the entire process. I was sure to plant the strawberries at "nose height".
I bought organic starts, including 3 kinds of lettuce and also planted some seeds. 

I Named My Garden Tower

It happened naturally. Every morning and every evening after work I looked forward to checking on my garden tower. One morning I stepped out onto the patio and just said, "Hi Doris!". I didn't even think about it. Spooky! But it just felt right so we've never looked back. Even my mom and Peter call her Doris!

I love watering Doris each evening. It only takes a few minutes especially because the hose is right next to her and there's a 'drawer' at the bottom of the tower that collects nutrient-rich water. The garden tower company does offer a self-watering attachment, which I think would be great for people who travel and can't water regularly. 

But I love my 'Doris time" and enjoy watering her in the evenings and sometimes first thing in the morning, depending on the weather.

It's funny because the whole purpose in getting the garden tower was because I didn't have TIME for a garden. Now... I feel like there's plenty of relaxed time.

II forgot to mention that the garden tower spins. The base stays in one place, but the upper part can be turned. This is great when the sun is too hot.
I made the mistake of planting mint and learned that it will take over the tower. So I replanted it in a separate pot. Live and learn!
I added a pinwheel at the top to keep the birds from nibbling. There's a tray at the bottom to collect water -- such a smart design!

Salad Time!

Thanks to Doris we ate salad just about every night with dinner last year. I'd usually collect a few leaves each of red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce and butter lettuce, grab some fresh basil, a cucumber and a bunch of cherry tomatoes and strawberries. Then add a can of chick peas and top with raw pumpkin seeds and our favorite salad dressing. YUM!

Do you have a favorite salad combo? I'd love to hear it! I'm prepping Doris for this year's garden and I'm looking for new things to plant. I forgot to mention... I don't have a green thumb (thank goodness Doris is very forgiving) so any gardening tips are also appreciated!