The Green Tower (GT) was a moderately successful experiment at vertical vegetable gardening this spring and summer.
We constructed this vegetable/herb tower last winter/spring in hopes of maximizing veggie production within a limited space. You can read about the project here. After a cool start to the summer vegetable growing season,
the GT produced several varieties of peppers, some yellow squash, cucumbers, basil, mint, green beans and two varieties of tomatoes. I lost the zucchini early on and was bummed because it’s one of my favorites to grow, but the yellow squash was delicious and it produced a decent amount for one plant. There wasn’t a bumper crop of any particular veggie, but enough for us to enjoy.
The exception was that the tomatoes loved the GT and performed admirably. I grew a Celebrity tomato,
and an unknown (at least I don’t remember what it is and I didn’t keep the tag) cherry tomato. It was very happy here.
I’ve sautéed, baked, grilled, sauced and popped-in-the-mouth these cherry tomatoes all summer.
I’ve enjoyed these tomatoes.
But I’m tired of them.
The leaf-footed (aka, stink) bugs
of all sorts,
…have arrived to suck the life out of the toms. It’s time to pull out the spring vegetable garden. I’ll toss the garden detritus into the compost. No doubt, I’ll have tomatoes growing from there next summer.
I’ll leave the basil,
and one of the peppers,
for harvest until the first frost. I’ll add some fall vegetables next month. I plan to germinate seeds for cool season greens (lettuce, kale, spinach) on the top of the tower for transplant along the sides during winter and early spring.
Irrigation of the GT was tricky because it proved difficult to keep the sides evenly moist. We enjoyed several soaking summer rains which helped, but I’ll add another aeration pipe (there’s only one, you can see it in the original post). Because the holes throughout the pipe allow water to leak into soil, watering slowly into the pipe was the best way to irrigate the breadth of the tower, including the outer sides of the GT. A slow soak assured little run-off and wastage of water. The soaker hose on top of the tower worked well for the majority of surface irrigation, but the hose embedded into the soil toward the bottom of the tower was useless.
I wish we’d built the GT a foot or two shorter. Considering the difficulty in getting enough water to the plants in the sides of the tower, I think if the total square footage of the GT was less, the top soaker hose, coupled with watering through the aeration pipe(s), would solve the problem of side plants not receiving adequate irrigation. There wouldn’t be as much vertical square footage in the GT, but the plantings would be better irrigated and therefore more productive. That said, when it rained, the GT held moisture longer than I would have guessed, so I didn’t water constantly. Also, there’s essentially no weeding–that’s a real bonus for this lazy gardener.
More to come from the Green Tower in its fall planting season!
Mmmmm…broccoli, cauliflower, fall tomatoes, greens….