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What is it about these Tower Gardens? Even the Hanging Gardens of Babylon weren’t talked of so much being a wonder of the ancient world and all! Any-ways Tower Garden is this new revolutionary gardening system that was developed through years of research and consumer testing at Future Growing LLC. At the moment it is one of the fastest selling gardening-related products and will remain so by the looks of it.
The Tower Garden is a patented plant growing system wherein the arrangement of plants is vertical with aeroponic distribution of earth-based mineral nutrients taking place. The basic residential Tower Garden stands at about 5 pots tall and can accommodate about 20 plants in a meager 2.5 by 2.5 space ( as much as a washing machine!).
It may seem like some crazy new technology but understanding the working of the Tower Garden is very simple. It works on aeroponics which is the method of growing plants by providing nutrition through moist air and entirely without soil. Research has shown that aeroponics is the most efficient and effective way to provide necessary nutrition, hydration and oxygen to developing plants. The pump in the Tower Garden ensures that nutrients are circulated timely and exclusively to every region of the tower.
Now that you know it isn’t rocket science don’t be fooled by its simplicity. The Tower Garden’s unique design makes it capable of withstanding force, heat and varying weather conditions. It can be used in colder regions too with the availability of heaters. You could however attempt to make your own vertical plant growing system with the use of cylindrical pipes, thermocol, ropes, glue, plastic sheets and a good old tool kit. Beware! Don’t name yours Tower Garden. You wouldn’t want to wake up to an overly exaggerated lawsuit.
The advantages of this amazingly refreshing garden system are a plenty. It uses 10% lesser water and space. Also the need for pesticides and insecticides is reduced. The soil free system will definitely end your woes of weeding, tilling or even getting dirty! Not to mention that if you have any trouble there is a dedicated help line.
All this said though, gardening has been in existence for millenniums apparently! Egyptian tomb paintings dating back to 1600 B.C., one of the earliest physical evidences, depict lotus ponds surrounded by symmetrical rows of acacias and palm! But this is the 21st century where space is a valuable commodity. Vertical systems have an upper hand over horizontal gardening systems, thus Tower Gardens becoming a way of life is not really an unrealistic future.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable one might want to add to one’s regular diet because of its multiple health benefits. Cauliflower consumption has been studied for its cancer-preventing potential and antioxidant nature.
Nutritional content of cauliflower
Cauliflower is high in dietary fiber, folate and vitamin C and possesses a high nutritional density. It is low in fat and carbs.
Cauliflower is a part of the cabbage family which is famous for its several phytochemicals that benefit human health. Sulforaphane, glucosinolates, carotenoids and Indole-3-carbinol are the phytochemicals present in it.
1. Cancer prevention: A diet high in cauliflower is linked to a reduction in the risk of prostate, breast, colon, bladder and ovarian cancers. A Canadian study shows that half a cup of cauliflower a day reduces prostate cancer risk by 52%.
2. Anti-oxidants: Cauliflower contains a good amount of vitamin C and magnesium which are essential antioxidants. In addition, presence of carotenoids and phytonutrients bulk up anti-oxidant intake which is mandatory for body’s overall health. They protect from free radical attack and prevent accelerated aging.
3. Smoother digestion: Fibers as we know help in digestion by moving food along the digestive system smoothly. Cauliflowers are a good source of dietary fiber and along with a compound called glucoraphin which protects the stomach from ulcers and cancers make an effective addition to one’s diet.
4. Anti-inflammatory: High amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids aid in decrease of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis. Glucosinolates such as glucoraphin and isothiocyanates such as isothiocyanate sulforaphane are the other vital anti-inflammatory substances in cauliflower.
5. Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular: Cauliflower protects against heart and brain diseases by virtue of it having anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. A regular cauliflower intake ensures excellent blood flow through entirety of the body by maintaining patency of blood vessels.
You know winter is upon you when you feel those first blasts of cold arctic air all the way from Canada. While it signals fall planting time for the gardeners in warmer climates, most gardeners aren’t so lucky. They have to prepare their gardens for the onslaught of the cold. Here are some fall activities to get your gardens ready. These may seem a bit obvious but then so are success tips and we read them! Besides we all need a good reminding once in a while!
Trees and Shrubs
- A much smarter alternative to raking and dumping off all the fallen leaves would be to shred them using a mower and create a 1 to 2 inch thick sheet of chopped up leaves over your lawn. Other than the earthworms having something to munch on, the eventual breakdown of the leaves will add nutrients to the soil.
- You could make some compost by collecting the excess leaves along with other organic matter such as spent plants and vegetables.
- Sun-scald is the splitting of tree trunks because of the extreme change in temperature during winter. You can protect the young trees by using tree wrap or by painting the barks with white latex or any light color. Though it would be weird to see pink barks!
- To protect any evergreen shrubs like the rhododendrons from the cold, drive four stakes into the ground around the plant and wrap burlap around it. Or you could apply an anti-transpiring spray.
- Where snow tends to fall on your plants you could place wooden tepees over them.
- To encourage good root growth you should continue to mow the lawn (2 to 3 inches).
- Also reseed the thin patches on your lawn.
- As mentioned earlier, spread a layer of compost or crushed leaves to aid with building of root system.
Vegetable and Flower Gardens
- Compost all remains of the plants except those with major insect infestation or disease.
- Cut them perennials to the ground and as aforementioned spread a layer of compost around the plant.
- To protect the tender perennials like lavender and rosemary, you could mulch with shredded bark or pot them to get them indoors.
- To avoid maximum frosting, move all containers to a more conservative location.
- Your hybrid roses can be protected by using rose cones or bark mulch over the crown of the plant.
Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled. It is a simple way to add nutrient rich humus to fuel plant growth and replenish depleted soil. What more?! It’s free, good for the environment and is very simple. It doesn’t look or smell that great though!
It should be a crime if you own a garden and don’t make your own compost!
Compost would benefit you in several ways:
- As a soil conditioner- Yeah! As good as all those chemicals with scary sounding names.
- Recycling of kitchen and yard waste-Instead of lazily getting rid of waste in a community dustbin a lot can be salvaged.
- Beneficial organisms are introduced to the soil-Those squeamish earthworms and bugs are actually quite good for your plants.
- Environment friendly-And how much we want to show that we’ve gone green!
- Reduction in landfill waste-A landfill is probably the second worse place you could go to, after hell of course!
Questions that may pop into your mind:
What to compost in?
Several methods have been tried and tested. For producing small amounts of compost, trash cans or simple wire compost bins are great. For larger amounts, you could pile the waste matter in a secluded spot and composting will naturally take place.
How much to compost?
I’d say as much as you can. If space is issue, then using the pile method is not an option. Having several trash bins will solve the problem. Composting is an ongoing process so you can keep adding waste to your pile and remove decomposed product simultaneously.
What to compost?
So there are two types of matter you’d be adding to your compost pile; the “greens” and the “browns”. The greens are rich in nitrogen or protein and the browns have a high content of carbohydrates. The greens are responsible for the heating up of the compost pile as it breaks down while the browns are the source of food for those yummy microbes that breakdown organic matter.
List of browns:
- Fall leaves, pine needles, twigs, chipped bark
- Straw, hay, sawdust, corn stalks
- Any paper, dryer lint, cotton fabric and wax-less cardboard
List of greens:
- Grass clippings, vegetable and food scraps, seaweed
- Coffee grounds, tea bags
- Trimmings from perennial and annual plants, weeds without seeds
- Eggshells, animal manure (other than that of dogs and cats)
You would definitely want to have more browns than greens in your compost mixture. An approximate ratio of 2 parts browns to 1 part greens should do. Also shredding all these materials into smaller bits is bountiful. Just makes it easier for them microbes! Happy composting!