There are so many climates that are perfect for a beautiful outdoor garden. Lots of us, myself included, would love to grow enough non-GMO, clean and fresh greens to feed our entire families all year round. But if you live in the north with only a short growing season, or if you live in a small apartment without even enough space for a balcony garden, what are you supposed to do? What should be your solution to live a healthy life for you and your children?
Simple, you can grow your own food anyway! I spent some time talking about this with my friend and occasional collaborator Tanya Willis, a health and fitness specialist. She helps to sell something called Tower Gardens in the US and Canada. These are possibly the best indoor garden setup I have seen, and I am going to be getting one of these down the road just as soon as I can. We should all spread the word on this great idea!
What Is A Tower Garden?
You can probably imagine one by the name alone. A Tower Garden holds and supports a live, growing garden in a tower format. They can be indoors or outdoors, and they work fine no matter where you live. Tanya even mentioned some people she knows who live in a small apartment and rent out a locked storage unit nearby where they keep their Tower Garden. It can fit in a garage, in a laundry room, or really any corner of your house with a nearby outlet.
Importantly, you will not need a window nearby for your Tower Garden. They can grow massive plants under sunlight of course, but the tower comes with enough UV LEDs to grow everything in a closed off room if you want. The lights are on a timer and you can move them around to cover all sides, but they only use about the same power as a night light.
The Tower Garden comes in two base sizes, a Home unit with a 24 inch base, and a Flex unit with a 30 inch base. They start out 62 inches tall with 20 planter slots, or they can get taller with an extension kit to hold 28 or even 32 planters. The base sits on wheels so you can move the whole thing around as needed.
Tim Blank, the inventor of Tower Gardens, designed them for NASA to grow things in space. They get manufactured right here in the US and sell out fast, so get one as soon as you can when you see them available!
Grow Your Green Thumb
Tanya keeps a lot of different things growing in her Tower Garden, enough that she even mentioned wanting to get another. She has so much basil growing I could almost smell it through a little video tour I took with her, and one of her basil plants spent three years in the garden until she decided to start fresh. There was buttercrunch, celery stalks, kale, parsley, red lettuce and romaine. Clients visiting her studio were always asking for some to take with them.
If you keep the Tower Garden outside, you can also grow things that need pollination like cucumber, tomatoes and strawberries. Keeping the garden inside limits you to just greens, but imagine growing Bok choy, Swiss chard, all the basil and lettuce and parsley and greens you want for your family to enjoy!
Everything grows amazingly fast in her Tower Garden, even though Tanya’s family lives two hours north of Toronto, Canada in a climate with a very short growing season of about May to October. She supports her local farmer’s market when they can open, but all year round she loves getting fresh greens from her garden. And when she ends up with too much, she freezes things for green smoothies.
Making Gardening Easy
When you buy a Tower Garden, you also get some starter seeds and the individual growing pods called Rockwool Cubes. All you do is plant the seeds into the pods and within days – depending on what you planted of course – you should be able to see the sprouts growing in them. There are no starter trays required and you can plant whatever seeds you want, with great ones available at many stores.
The pods click into the Tower Garden and there are these little holes where water can get in, with a pump that moves the water up through the tower to then trickle down through all the pods. You fill the water at a central tank, and with Tanya’s Flex unit she probably tops off her tank about once every four weeks. With the smaller Home unit you will need to fill the tank more often, and depending on the humidity and dryness of your local climate.
A Waiting Salad
Tanya’s family is always snacking from her Tower Garden when they walk by, like having a salad you eat all day. And you know I am all about eating plenty of greens. Good health starts with the good habit of eating fresh and other wholesome foods. They are a basic life necessity with overwhelming benefits. Plus that green space in your home gives you a great connection to nature, and looking at growing plants makes you and your family happy.
If you live in the north, consider how far your produce travels, and with so much nutritional value lost from that trip. There is no fair comparison between fresh greens straight from the plant and the wilted stuff from the store that goes bad in a few days. Food prices keep going up, meaning that growing your own food can actually help the Tower Garden pay for itself quite fast. And when you can stop buying greens from the store, that means less plastic used to keep them.
During lockdown, the Tower Garden can be so important because fresh greens and fresh produce feeds your cells, gives you energy and helps you feel great. Because a Tower Garden can sit almost anywhere right inside your house, that means an ever-present source of proper nutrition nearby.
Motivation To Grow
Compared to traditional gardens, a Tower Garden means no weeding, no bugs, no need to spray it. I love how simple that automatic water pump system is, while only requiring about 10% of the water used by farming. There is less waste because you pick what you want to eat, when you want to eat it, and everything is grown from the seeds you bought at the store. You know I prefer organic, non-GMO seeds.
When you have a whole bunch of green things to eat, the fact is that you are going to eat them all. That is less junk in your children’s diet and more motivation for healthy eating. Vegetables will rot if left in your fridge, but here they are growing and ready for you over a long time. Start every day with some delicious fresh greens. If you have too much, you can freeze them and juice them.
Tower Gardens have also been used to educate kids on the principles of gardening. Tanya has donated several to schools already, and some places apply for grants to get them. In cases like that, they came with a whole curriculum ready to go talking about biology, chemistry, plants and other living things. Having a Tower Garden at home will let your kids learn about the fun and responsibilities of growing a garden. You can get one for homeschooling, for an after school club, and more. And what those kids see every day is what they want to eat, so all of them will grow up learning to love fresh greens.
A Healthy Choice
If a Tower Garden feels right for you, don’t talk yourself out of it and don’t hesitate. Jump in! You will avoid harmful pollutants and contaminants when you cook with organic and clean whole foods. These are the healthy habits that will bring about a stable environment for everyone. There are even financing options for you to buy a Tower Garden, including an installment plan or a membership club which will help pay some of the cost.
If you like what you learned today, you can visit my website TheGreenLivingGurus.com for more social links, a blog, a store and other services, and you can sign up for my email list. I also encourage you to check out everything else Tanya Willis is doing, including her book Emotional Eating about changing your brain around food, and her online membership exercise and personal training clubs Vibrant Living and the Willis Method. Thanks for reading!