Permaculture towers after 50 days

Afternoon garden, light, permaculture towers, day 51, mdIt has been 50 days now, since I have planted seedlings into my permaculture towers, following the garden preparations and the building of the towers, and 27 days since my last update on the towers.

On July 4, after a few days of 35+C weather, it has been a relief to wake up to an overcast sky, with occasional sunshine and a cool breeze. Seizing the chance, off I went to the garden. The night before, my partner guiding the kids in a distraction dance, I have been able to pick out most of the weeds in the garden. It felt so good to just loose myself in a pure physical activity, creeping through the towers in a quest of cleansing.

I have harvested the rest of the radishes, and set off to plant seeds. The following were added to the towers: Reine de Glace crispleaf lettuce, Buttercrunch lettuce,  Komatsuna mustard greens, Cardinale crispleaf lettuce, Rouge d’hiver lettuce, beets, red spinach, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, dill, and scarlet runner beans.

The tops of the towers have gained some edible flowers: Cosmos and Marigold. I have also planted verbena, broccoli, dill, and basil throughout the garden.

I have planted lots of seeds all over the garden on July 4. Here are the plants with photo thumbnails for May 27th (day 1), June 10th (day 14), June 20th (day 24), July 4th (day 38), and larger photos from today, July 17 (day 51). You can click on the thumbnails to see more detailed, larger photos.

Due to the fence and the tomatoes overwhelming the sunny side of Towers 3 and 4, the photos from those towers are basically all tomato. Not much I can do to capture the growth of anything else. Yet dill and eggplants are doing well, under all that tomato goodness.

As the Towers and the garden have gained new plants, I include the updated drawings.

Garden

July 4, 2014 - Garden plan, md

Tower 1

July 4, 2014 - Tower 1, md

Tower1, Stevia, md Tower1, Stevia, day 14, md Tower 1, top, stevia, day 24, md Tower 1, top, stevia, day 38, md

Tower 1, top, stevia, day 51, md
Stevia on top of Tower 1. The plant has been trying to recover from the squirrel attack – it has not grown taller, but additional small leaves have sprouted closer to the base. The leaves you see infringing on the tower top are tomatoes growing from the side. This is a recurring motif in the current state of my garden.

Tower 1, sunny, md Tower 1, sunny-shady, day 14, md Tower 1, sunny-shady, day 24, md Tower 1, sunny-shady, day 38, md

Tower 1, sunny-shady, day 51, md
This lovely tomato forest includes Yellow cherry Gold Nugget tomato and buried underneath it butternut squash in one section, and in another –Alba Regie sweet pepper mostly eaten by the same animal as the stevia, another Yellow cherry Gold Nugget tomato and another butternut squash.

Tower 1, sunny-shady, md Tower 1, sunny, day 14, md Tower 1, sunny, day 24, md Tower 1, sunny-shady, day 38, md

Tower 1, sunny, day 51, md
Beefsteak tomatoes, an Alba Regie pepper somewhere in there and the giant leaves of spaghetti squash in one section, Lipstick sweet pepper in the next. Tomatoes and the squash pretty much rule the first tower. I had to install a movable fence to contain this wild greenery. Peppers are flowering but someone keeps eating the leaves. Perhaps the same vicious squirrel with big pointy teeth. I shall attempt to spray the peppers with a jalapeño solution once more.

Tower 2

July 4, 2014 - Tower 2, md

Tower 2 top, chamomile and hot peppers, md Tower 2 top, chamomile and hot peppers, day 14, md Tower 2 top, chamomile and hot peppers, day 24, md Tower 2 top, chamomile and hot peppers, day 38, md

Tower 2 top, chamomile and hot peppers, day 51, md
Thai hot pepper and German chamomile plants on top of Tower 2. Both are getting munched on by an unknown organism or two. The holes in the leaves are likely from snails and have gotten a bit less of a problem after I have placed egg shells under the pepper plant. The chamomile appears to be too delicious for fluffy sharp-teethed creatures.

Tower 2, sunny-shady, md Tower 2, sunny-shady, day 14, md Tower 2, sunny-shady, day 24, md Tower 2, sunny-shady, day 38, md

Tower 2, sunny-shady, day 51, md
Columnar basil in one section, two Fox cherry tomatoes and a Romanian sweet pepper in the next. The basil is very strong and happy. I have used it today in a delicious thai spicy eggplant dish, and the flavour is great. I can no longer locate the sweet pepper under all the tomato branches without risking breaking them.  I shall just trust it’s there and we’ll see if it grew any better without being chewed on and with sunlight filtered through the tomato foliage.

Tower 2, sunny, md Tower 2, sunny, day 14, md Tower 2, sunny, day 24, md Tower 2, sunny, day 38, md

Tower 2, sunny, day 51, md
Matt’s Wild tomato, lemon thyme somewhere underneath, with a butternut squash at the bottom in one section, and another Matt’s Wild tomato in the next section. Tomatoes and squashes are very happy. Lemon thyme is no longer visible. I think next time I will plant smaller herbs and peppers above the tomatoes, since the latter are so prolific.

Tower 2, sunny 2, md Tower 2, sunny 2, day 14, md Tower 2, sunny 2, day 24, md Tower 2, sunny, pepper, 38, md

Tower 2, sunny, pepper, 51, md
Closeup of the Romanian sweet pepper in the next section. It appears to have been too hard to access for a mysterious sharp-teethed animal, and has reached the fruiting stage.

Tower 2, shady, md Tower 2, shady, day 14, md Tower 2, shady, day 24, md Tower 2, shady, day 38, md

Tower 2, shady, day 51, md
Two oakleaf kale seedlings in one section, and two more in the next one. I have put crushed egg shells around some of the plants to deter snails, but considering the almost-completely eaten leaves I would venture a guess that whatever is eating the kale on this tower is from a larger species. Since I have lots of kale in Towers 3 and 4 that is not being so completely consumed, I figured this was my “planted to share with nature” kale.

Tower 3

July 4, 2014 - Tower 3, md

Tower 3, top, nasturtium, md Tower 3, top, nasturtium and carrots, day 14, md Tower 3, top, day 24, md Tower 3, top, day 38, md

Tower 3, top, day 51, md
Nasturtirum – Empress of India – on top of Tower 3, surrounded by a few growing carrots (you can see the tiny leaves picking out from under the nasturtium leaves). The nasturtium is big and happy.

Tower 3, sunny, md Tower 3, sunny, day 14, md Tower 3, sunny, day 24, md Tower 3, sunny, day 38, md

Tower 3, sunny, tomatoes, day 51, md
Japanese eggplant at the bottom of one section (impossible to show anymore), and in the next one – Bellstar red tomato, parsley (also covered up), and at the bottom Spacemaster cucumber (still growing). The tomato forest is overshadowing everything else.

Tower 3, shady 2, md Tower 3, shady 2, day 14, md Tower 3, shady 2, day 24, md Tower 3, shady 2, day 38, md

Tower 3, shady 2, day 51, md
Two green kale and two oakleaf kale plants in one section, two green kale, one Swiss chard, and one oakleaf kale plant in the next one. They taste great in salads and I now harvest some every few days.

Tower 3, shady, md Tower 3, shady, day 14, md Tower 3, shady, day 24, md Tower 3, shady, day 38, md

Tower 3, shady, day 51, md
Another shot of two green kale, one Swiss chard and one oakleaf kale plant from the previous photo, and two more green kale, two Swiss chard, and one oakleaf kale plant in the next section. A small scarlet runner bean plant is showing at the bottom of the tower. Another one got consumed by local fauna.

Tower 4

July 4, 2014 - Tower 4, md

Tower 4 top, nasturtium, md Tower 4 top, nasturtium and radishes, day 14, md Tower 4, top, nasturtium and radishes, day 24, md Tower 4, top, nasturtium and radishes, day 38, md

Tower 4, top, nasturtium, day 51, md
Nasturtium – Empress of India, with encroaching tomato leaves almost covering it. The tomatoes take over everything.

Tower 4, sunny, md Tower 4, sunny, day 14, md Tower 4, sunny-shady, day 24, md  Tower4, shady 2, day 38, md

Tower 4, sunny 2, day 51, md

Red cherry tomato, Brandywine tomato, and rosemary below in one section, and in the next section – another red cherry tomato, followed by dill, a Brandywine tomato, and Lebanese cucumbers. It is impossible now to capture the tower from the same angle as the first two photos, since the West fence is now in place, so I had to instead provide a side view, capturing the first section with rosemary. The next section is shown as part of the next series of photos. The tomatoes, the dill, and rosemary all seem to be doing well. I’ve picked out most of the dill by this point, so I planted some seeds along the fence next to the scarlet runner beans.

Tower 4, sunny 2, md Tower 4, sunny 2, day 14, md Tower 4, sunny, day 24, md Tower 4, sunny, day 38, md

Tower 4, sunny, day 51, md
Red cherry tomato, followed by dill, a Brandywine tomato, and Lebanese cucumbers from the photo above, and in the next section – early Roma tomato, dill, Brandywine tomato, and eggplant at the bottom. Can’t tell where anyone is, except maybe the dill poking through? Me neither. At this point I don’t want to disturb the tomatoes so as not to break them, and the fence is in the way to reach underneath. I shall just have a mystery harvest once the time comes.

Tower 4, shady, md Tower 4, shady, day 14, md Tower 4, shady, day 24, md Tower 4, shady, day 38, md

Tower 4, shady, day 51, md
Three green kale and two oakleaf kale in one section, and in the next – three green kale and one oakleaf kale. The kale plants are doing well. Tomatoes are infringing on their territory. Along the bottom, between Tower 4 and the lemongrass, I have planted sweet peas, on June 1st. A few of them came up now and nothing seems to be eating them.

Tower 4, shady 3, md Tower 4, shady 2, day 14, md Tower 4, shady 2, day 24, md Tower 4, shady 2, day 38, md

Tower 4, shady 2, day 51, md
Cilantro between two green kale seedlings, and Swiss chard lower in one section, and in the next – tarragon, followed by two kale plants and a Swiss chard plant. Cilantro has gone to flower. The rest of the greens are growing happily and I harvest kale and Swiss chard every few days.

Aside, borage, lovage, md Aside, borage and lovage, day 14, md Aside, borage and lovage, day 24, md Aside, borage and lovage, day 38, md

Aside, borage and lovage, day 51, md
Borage at the top of photo, lovage lower, behind Towers 1 and 2. On the last tow photos, borage is on the left and blooming in beautiful blue flowers.

Aside, calendula and watercress, md Aside, calendula and watercress, day 14, md Aside, calendula and watercress, day 24, md Aside, calendula and watercress, day 38, md Aside, watercress, day 38, md

Aside, calendula, day 51, md

Aside, watercress, day 51, md
Calendula at the top of the first photo, watercress lower, following few photos – reversed: calendula being at the bottom, and watercress at the top. Now I have to take pictures of them separately, as the tomato forest blocks the calendula. Both plants seem to be very happy, and I have used watercress in salads.

Aside, chives, green onions, lily of the valley, Tower 1 butternut squash, md Aside, chives, green onions, lily of the valley, Tower 1 butternut squash, day 14, md Aside, chives, green onions, lily of the valley, Tower 1 butternut squash, day 24, md Aside, chives, green onions, lily of the valley, Tower 1 butternut squash, day 38, md

Aside, chives, green onions, lily of the valley, Tower 1 butternut squash, day 51, md
From left to right: grape vine 1, lily of the valley, chives, onions, Tower 1 butternut squash. You are going to have to trust me on this. The giant squash leaves and the tomato branches are hiding the rest of the plants. I use chives and green onions in salads quite a bit.

Aside, grape vine 1, md Aside, grape vine 1, day 14, md Grape vine 1, day 24, md Grape vine 1, day 38, md

Grape vine 1, day 51, md
Grape vine 1 is climbing the gazebo quite happily. There are black bugs eating through the leaves. I remove them and drop them in a bowl with soapy water on a somewhat regular basis over the last two weeks or so.

Grape vine 4, md Grape vine 4, day 14, md Grape vine 4, day 24, md Grape vine 4, day 38, md

Grape vine 4, day 51, md
Grape vine 4, Concord Purple Grape, planted last year, next to Tower 3. The black bugs are present on this vine to a much lesser extent, and I’m removing them as well.

Aside, Comfrey and Day lilys, md Aside, Comfrey and Day lilys, day 14, md Aside, Comfrey, grape vine 2, and Day lilies, day 14, md Aside, Comfrey, grape vine 2, and Day lilies, day 38, md

Aside, Comfrey, grape vine 2, and Day lilies, day 51, md
Day lilies, comfrey, and remains of grape vine 2, butchered during last year’s roof replacement. Comfrey is growing giant leaves. The lilies stopped growing. I suspect it is due to me replanting the same bulbs every year. Perhaps they have grown as much as they can. The grape vine was heavily affected with what I guess was downy mildew. I have removed quite a few affected leaves, and it seems to be recovering well.

Aside, grape vine 3, tulips, hyacinths, md Grape vine and bird feeder closeup, day 14, md Grape vine and bird feeder closeup, day 24, md Grape vine and bird feeder closeup, day 38, md

Grape vine and bird feeder closeup, day 51, md
Grape vine 3 is happily growing up the shepherd’s hook with a bird feeder and a bird bath. Lots of black bugs had to be removed from this one as well.

Aside, lemon verbena, lemon grass, md Aside, lemon verbena, lemon grass, day 14, md Aside, lemon verbena and lemongrass, day 24, md Aside, lemon verbena and lemongrass, day 38, md

Aside, lemon verbena and lemongrass, day 51, md
Lemon verbena on the left and lemongrass on the right. Lemon verbena is growing happily and turning into a small bush. Lemongrass has recovered from being trampled during the fence reconstruction and seems to be full of life as well.

Aside, Grapefruit mint, md Aside, Grapefruit mint, day 14, md Aside, grapefruit mint, day 24, md Aside, grapefruit mint, day 38, md

Aside, grapefruit mint, day 51, md
Grapefruit mint. The mint is doing well, and I have used the leaves in salads and cocktails.

Aside, garden mint, md Aside, garden mint, day 14, md Aside, garden mint, day 24, md Aside, garden mint, day 38, md

Aside, garden mint, day 51, md
Garden mint. Happily growing in its pot, and I have used the leaves in tea a few times.

Aside, lily of the valley, russian sage, winter savory, md Aside, lily of the valley, russian sage, winter savory, day 14, md Aside, lily of the valley, russian sage, winter savory, day 24, md Aside, russian sage, day 38, md Aside, winter savory, day 38, md

Aside, russian sage, day 51, md

Aside, winter savory, day 51, md
On the first two photos: left – winter savory, top right – Russian sage, bottom – lily of the valley. Because of the sun, the recently-installed West fence, and the tomato overshadowing the savory, I have taken the third photo from the other side, with lily of the valley being at the top, the winter savory on the right, covered by a tomato branch, and the Russian sage on the bottom left. At this point, there are so many tomato branches and leaves, that I have to take pictures of Russian sage (first large photo) and winter savory (last photo) separately. Both seem to be quite happy.

Aside, currants, md Aside, currants, day 14, md Aside, currants, day 24, md Aside, currants, day 38, md

Aside, currants, day 51, md

Aside, currants, closeup, day 51, md
Two currant bushes between Tower 2 and the South fence. Both are growing well, and the one in the corner of the garden has a few delicious black currants. I put cones around them to contain the sprawl.

Aside, currants, blackberries, day 14, md Aside, currants, blackberries, day 24, md Aside, currants, blackberries, day 38, md

Aside, currants, blackberries, day 51, md
Two currant bushes between Tower 2 and the South fence, unknown perennial plant along the window, and what I suspect is our blackberry bush planted last year – Black Satin Blackberry. I have put a cone around the blackberry bush to contain it. So far no berries.

Aside, raspberry, md Aside, Raspberry bush, day 14, md Aside, raspberry bush, day 24, md Aside, raspberry bush, day 38, md

Aside, raspberry bush, day 51, md
Raspberry bush along the building. No berries here either.

Aside, scarlet runner beans, day 10, md Aside, scarlet runner beans, day 38, md

Aside, scarlet runner beans, day 37, md
Scarlet runner beans along the West fence. I have planted these on June 11. Quite a few of them are now happily growing up the support.

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5 Comments:

  1. I am so impressed with your garden – could not wait to see it in reality.

  2. simplyfiendish

    It was so impressive to see how much one can grow in such a small space. A great example that you can grow your own food in suburban and urban spaces.
    I cannot wait to start my own little veggie and herb garden, next summer. Would not be able to do the permaculture towers as you have (allergic to hay), but excited to see what I do come up with. Hoping for better luck, next summer since I have a black thumb and seem to be having issues at my current location. I know bugs are a big issue and seems no matter what I try, nothing seems to deter them. Especially the earwigs, they are really bad in my garden. Wondering if another problem is the soil. I’ll be at a new location next summer, so maybe better luck, if that is the case.

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