If you’re a person who loves to produce your own food, there’s one serious drawback to living in Minnesota. The growing season lasts about five minutes. And this is the time of year when the blasts of snow and enduring cold become particularly tiresome. While most areas of the country are experiencing warm days and sprouting plants, here in the Twin Cities we cleared off another 3 inches of snow off our cars this morning and trudged into work donning hats, mittens, scarves and boots yet again.
But I have something that’s about to change my whole gardening world. We’re turning this place into a full-out, year-round, snack-growing happy place.
Friday, Jay asked me if I ordered a one thousand piece puzzle and had it delivered to my house in twenty different boxes.
“The Tower Garden is here!” I shrieked in reply.
I learn about all sorts of amazing things at my day job. I try bites of food from the latest and greatest restaurants in town. I buy accessories right off the models who show them off on television. I test and compare cosmetics live on TV.
But I think this as-seen-on-my-tv-show purchase is going to be the most fun of all. That’s because the Tower Garden is an aeroponic vertical growing system that promises to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables all year long, no matter how treacherous the Minnesota weather conditions are outside.
Setting it up was simple. Jay screwed wheels on the bottom of the dolly which holds the water reservoir base.
I stacked the tower sections on top of one another, pressing them into place.
I soaked rows of rock wool sections in water and carefully filled their cavities with seeds.
A “mini-mulch” substance promises to keep the seedlings hydrated. A few weeks of regular watering and sun through my front window, and we should have seedlings ready to transplant into the Tower Garden where a pump will shower them with water and they will provide fresh basil, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers even if there’s still snow on the ground.
Admittedly, I think The Tower Garden’s marketing is a little off. Their instructional video promises easy, clean gardening without the terrible hassle of actually having to get down on the ground and (gasp!) get your hands dirty. I actually like getting my hands dirty. And I’m certainly not looking for this futuristic food growing system to replace soil. I still plan on packing my backyard garden to the gills with squash, herbs, peppers and more this summer. Pulling weeds releases aggression. Tipping the watering can is relaxing. Harvesting from the earth is ridiculously rewarding.
The Tower Garden’s selling point for me is the extension of the growing season. Local tomatoes in January? Count me in. Home grown herbs at Christmas? I’m sold.
The Tower Garden now lives in my living room. Right now, it looks like a plastic version of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Here’s hoping opening all those boxes and putting together the puzzle was worth it!