Garden Towers can be directly seeded! We highly suggest raising your own starter plants from widely available organic, Non-GMO seeds. The Garden Tower Project was created around an ecological growing solution (the Garden Tower) and we strongly support the preservation of all natural species. Choosing organic seeds, plants, and plant products is an easy way to help prevent the destruction of native organisms and a number of rippling ecological consequences that cascade through the food chain and affect our own health. Investing in ecological ideas to problems is critical to creating a future free of increased use of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals causing known and unknown harm to life.
Whether you’ve saved your own heirloom seeds for generations or generally just rely on whatever you can find on the nursery rack each spring, the American Seed Alliance’s Seed Saving Guide has a wealth of useful information for any gardener.
Planting times will be location dependent. Search online for “Last Frost Date” for the particular location name or check the references below Planting Schedule and Hardiness Zone Guide – Look up your zone by zip code, to see when to plant.
The general guidelines for planting are:
TIP: We do highly suggest studying the Companion Planting Guide since, in the GT2 the area is compact and the root zones are very close together, Companion Planting can make all the difference.
TIP: If you are having issues growing a particular plant or variety, we suggest that you look for a container or bush variety of whatever type of plant has had issues
TIP: We recommend against planting Strawberries and other woody-stem, vining and potentially invasive things in the Tower, like mints as the high nutrient density makes it possible for them to take over other crops. In the following year (or two) you will have a big woody mess to cut out of the Tower. The GT2 will make that easier because of its sectional design
VEGETABLES Amaranth (vegetable type), Arugula, Beans (Lima, bush, pole, shell, fava), Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Chicory, Collards, Cucumbers, Dandelion, Eggplant, Endive, Escarole, Gourds, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Mesclun, Mustard Greens, Dwarf Okra, Peas, Peppers, Radicchio, Sorrel, Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Tomatoes (note: vines such as squash and melons grow nicely from the bottom holes, trailing onto the ground).
HERBS Angelica, Anise Hyssop, Basil, Calendula, Catmint, Catnip, Chamomile, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro (Coriander), Dandelion,Dill, Echinacea (Coneflower), Feverfew, Flax, Garlic Chives, Goldenseal Hyssop, Lavender, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Milk Thistle, Mint, Nettle, Oregano, Parsley, Passion Flower, Pleurisy Root, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Burnet, Saltwort, Savory, Shiso, Stevia, Thyme, Valerian, Wormwood
FLOWERS Edible Flowers: Calendula, Carthamus, Dianthus, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Salvia, Violas
ORNAMENTAL FLOWERS Ageratum, Amaranth, Ammi, Aster, Bells of Ireland, Bupleurum, Morning Glory, Nigella, Petunia, Phlox, Polygonum, Poppy, Ptilotus, Rudbeckia, Safflower, Salpiglossis, Sanvitalia, Scabiosa, Snapdragon, Stock, Strawflower, Sweet Peas, Verbena, Yarrow, Zinnia
Tip: Plant tomatoes very deeply in the soil for steady access to water
Tip: Look for “bush” varieties of these vining or trailing veggies as they are more compact and much easier to grow in small spaces
Tip: Start your seeds in soil in a compact flat or tray where they will grow into small starts for easy transplanting. Water your seeds with a misting sprayer
Tip: Check out our “companion planting” for a source of more information on what plants grow well together
Extended Growing Season
You can get 2-3 weeks extended growing on each side of the season! Because of the large thermal mass presented by the volume of the Tower body and soil, this protects seeds, starts & plants both in the spring and at harvest. In the spring, The Tower heats up faster that the ground around it, therefore you can plant 2-3 weeks ahead of what you would put in the ground. On the flipside, in the fall, you will be able to harvest 2-3 weeks later than similar plants in the ground.
If it gets too cold, we suggest putting a piece of clear plastic over the Tower, with stakes positioned to protect the plants. In the fall a simple piece of plastic was enough to overwinter and harvest fresh parsley, chives & cilantro… after freezing weather for three weeks, two storms and there was 6” of snow on the ground! If you are protecting plants, use clear plastic. If you are protecting worms during a severe cold snap, than darker plastic will absorb more warmth and provide more protection to the compost column.