Grow Local OC “Barn Sponsor” Garden Tower Project wants to help you jumpstart your urban farming efforts.
To do so, the company is offering anyone who purchases a ticket to the upcoming Grow Local OC: Future of Urban Food Systems conference the chance to qualify to win a Garden Tower. Three winners among those purchasing tickets for the upcoming conference will be chosen at random and announced at the conference on Thursday, November 10. Winners will be able to choose to have the Garden Tower delivered to their residence, or to donate it to a local organization of their choosing.
The Garden Tower, a soil-based vertical container garden system allows urban gardeners to grow 50 plants in just four square feet of space. The tower, which utilizes perforated tubing technology to facilitate the movement of worms and nightcrawlers within it, also enables gardeners to seamlessly compost kitchen scraps into organic fertilizer that helps power the system. It can be placed on a porch, an apartment balcony, or a rooftop, and easily rotates for plant access and sunlight.
Background on the Garden Tower Project:
Colin Cudmore, the inventor of the Garden Tower, told Seedstock he does not consider himself a gardener.
Cudmore germinated the idea for the Garden Tower one weekend, as he volunteered to man a booth for a local farmers’ market in Bloomington, Indiana. He noticed a couple of Amish farmers who were selling seedlings and starter plants, but had few customers, despite the bustling crowd in the marketplace.
Curious, he asked the two farmers why no one had bought their starter plants. The answer surprised him. The farmers told him customers did not buy the plants, because the market’s patrons had no knowledge of how to grow their own food.
That revelation inspired Cudmore to dig deeper into the subject of home gardening, and he later attended a lecture by Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power.
What he heard inspired the inventor to find a way to make container gardening more accessible to people all over the world. He subsequently nurtured a vision: Turning patios, balconies, and decks into self-fertilizing gardens that would give food-deprived areas of the world a new weapon to fight hunger and poor nutrition around the globe.
What began as a desire to encourage gardening, would eventually lead the inveterate tinkerer to devise a completely self-sustaining gardening container that creates its own compost. The technology needs no electricity, so it may be used around the globe, Cudmore told Seedstock.
Neither a gardener, nor an environmental scientist, Cudmore recalls he wasn’t sure how well the concept would actually work. So, he networked with permaculture experts, gardeners, and advanced master gardeners in the Bloomington area, asking them to test the process. As it turned out, it worked far better than he had ever expected. He tweaked the process further, “and it performs incredibly well,” he says.
The innovative breakthrough was inserting verma-compost tubing. This provides a compost highway, through which worms and nightcrawlers spread worm castings throughout the gardening container. The end result works so well, and creates so many worm castings, there’s enough rich organic fertilizer to spread over the neighbor’s garden beds, too, says Cudmore.
“I was mulling around with using fish waste as a flow-through byproduct to fertilize the soil. There was no easy or simple way to do that. And, I’m certainly not the first one to come up with the concept of vertical gardening, nor am I the first one to come up with a round barrel as the vertical garden. But, no one really had done the compost within the garden container,” Cudmore says.
Thomas Tlusty, one of Cudmore’s business partners along with Joel Grant, says, “the beauty of this design, is that it’s self-contained, in that the plastic covers the majority of the soil, so there’s very little evaporation. And all the water that’s not needed by the plants, drains out of the bottom, and it’s reintroduced back into the soil [through the verma-compost tubing]. So it’s extremely beneficial for areas of the world that are suffering from water scarcity, or poor or sandy soil conditions, or toxic soil.”
Register now for the Grow Local OC Conference for your chance to win a Garden Tower!