I dream of gardening. Not in an idyllic I'm outside planting while butterflies flit and birds chirp kind of way, but in an I-have-to-grow-a-lot-of-food-on-a-quarter-acre kind of way, and so during Maine's long winter months, I often find myself gazing out of my windows and imagining what will go where and how I will manage to grow more the next growing season than I've ever grown before.
I'm limited in how far I can spread out - by the shape of our lot, by our animals (including the dog who has to be tethered out and needs some yard space), by the need to have places to stack our wood supply, and by other lot features, like our septic system.
The next best option is to have portable garden beds - i.e. container gardens, which, in my case, usually take the form of buckets, but sometimes we use other things to hold soil and grow food.
For a few years, I've tried growing potatoes in a tower. I used hardware cloth to hold the growing medium, and I had mixed results. The big problem - for me, being the lazy farmer that I am - was that the soil in the towers dries out pretty fast. Potatoes don't do well in drought conditions, and so I didn't have as large a yield with the potatoes as I do in buckets - which don't dry out as fast.
Still, I like the idea of using the towers as a planting bed, and so over this past winter or sometime into spring I decided I'd try growing my early, cold-hardy greens in the tower.
Introducing, what I have dubbed, the Spinach Chia Tower!
In the top, we planted broccoli and carrot seeds. Then, we poked spinach seeds all over the sides through the holes of the hardware cloth. I was thrilled to see that some of the spinach seeds have actually germinated and are growing, just as I hoped they would, through the wire. It will be fun to see this later in the season with a huge broccoli plant (or two) sticking out of the top, and little spinach plants growing out of the sides.
Since I have nothing to lose but a few seeds, we'll probably reseed the sides throughout the summer and into the fall - and, maybe, this will be my banner spinach year.