As committed Seed Stewards, we understand the importance of good quality seed, because strong seed means strong plants that can better fight-off pest pressure and diseases … and strong plants also mean the best nutrition possible for your body. It’s important to know where your seed comes from because the plant that seed came from has adapted to its growing environment — and if it’s different than your environment, that plant may struggle which means you struggle.
But it doesn’t have to be a struggle to grow your own food — in fact, we think it is FUN to be connected to your food from seed to harvest! Our seed for sale has been cultivated from seed and nurtured using organic growing methods on through to harvest by our family of seven. We take great pride in our seed stock knowing each generation of plants we grow only strengthens our exclusive line of seeds. We are thrilled we can now share our extra seeds with you!
We are unique in that we have thoughtfully chosen heirloom and open source varieties of vegetables, herbs, and greens (and sometimes extremely rare seed) and have grown these varieties out in one season adapting them to hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic growing conditions in the Southeast region of the United States.
As a friend of GYHG and follower, enjoy today through November 14, 2021, 21% off your first seed order! Enter code: GYHG-LOVES-ME-21 when you check out.
Thanks and we hope that this year is the year you especially grow your health gardening!
July is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about the fall garden if you can believe it! Here in the SE, we are blessed to have two growing seasons if the timing is planned right.
THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU WILL PLANT FOR YOUR FALL CROP AND WHEN TO PLANT IT: All it takes to maximize your growing season is to know when your frost dates are for spring and fall. You’ll want to google what your last frost or freeze date is for your area. There is the traditional Farmer’s Almanac you can use, or I like Dave’s Garden’s resource as it gives a range of dates based on statistical data of when the first and last frost date has occurred. You’ll want to check this date each season prior to planning when to start your seed. I tend to lean on the 30-40% dates as my target date to plan off of and watch as the time gets closer. For our purposes, we will be looking at a freeze possibly happening between Oct 16-Oct 20, so I’ll split the difference and use Oct 18th as my first frost date and count back from this date based on the number of days (found on seed packet) for the plant will reach maturity and add in a 20 days for the plant to produce and bring a harvest in before a cold snap hits.
FINAL PLANTING OPPORTUNITY OF WARM SEASON PLANTS: If you are growing in the southeast (we are in Atlanta in planting zone 7B), plant the following vegetables no later than July 20th to allow time to mature before frost: tomatoes, okra, corn, pole beans, lima beans, cucumbers, squash and snap beans. If you have a sucker growing on one of your existing tomato plants, now is the time to start a new tomato plant which will continue to grow and fruit until hit with a freeze. Toward’s the end of July, start your final crop of snap beans as these can be planted by August 15 as seedlings into the garden for fall harvest.
Now is the time to also plant Zinnia seed. These heat loving annuals sprout in six days and bloom in a few weeks in the heat of the summer. Plant more Caladiums and Coleus as they’ll look better in the fall than the plants often started in May.
You can also plant another crop of Gladiolus for another flush of blooms for summer and into fall. Now is also a good time to divide Daffodils using caution not to cut into the bulbs as you dig into the ground.
AN EASY TASK TO LIMIT PESTS AND DISEASES: As you are harvesting your crops and cleaning off any dead leaves or removing leaves that have been attacked possibly by insect pressure, be sure to place these leaves in a 5 gallon tote to toss at the end of the day. You don’t want to leave dead leaves on the ground next to your growing plants as they will attract insects and promote disease which can transfer to your healthy growing plants. Keeping the ground around your plants tidy is a simple way to keep your plants thriving through the growing season.
CONTINUE TO FERTILIZE: For annuals, you’ll want to continue to fertilize at two-to-six-week intervals. When using granular products, make sure to water afterwards to encourage the nutrients to filter down to the root zone of your plants. For soil, you can use “organic” fertilizers like manure (cattle or chicken), blood meal, and/or fish emulsion. Dr. Tim Smalley, horticulture professor at the University of Georgia, has shown that composted hen litter continues to release food for four years after a 2-inch layer is worked into flower beds. Patio tomatoes (in a container) need to be fed consistently because constant watering rinses fertilizer out of the soil.
WATERING PLANTS: Be sure to keep tabs on watering soil-based plants. If you have had a good heavy rain, your watering tasks are probably eased for the day, but if it hasn’t rained, you’ll want to make sure you water deeply as needed to prevent drought stress. You can prevent root rot by watering deeply once per week and mixing plenty of organic amendments into the soil before planting and adding mulch to the soil surface beneath growing plants.
For plants growing in a hydroponic or aeroponic vertical gardening Tower Garden system, be sure to check your reservoirs at least twice a week as things warm up outside. If you’re growing tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, squash, kale, or beans, you’ll want to check your reservoir daily (or every other day) and top off the reservoir and add nutrients as these are “heavy feeders” meaning they take up a lot of nutrients when they are producing fruit, veggies, or legumes. Even though you are adding water to your system, it will be substantially less than the soil-based garden as hydroponic growing trials have been shown by NASA that these growing methods grow plants three times faster and produce 30% greater yields on average while using only 10% of the water a traditional soil-based garden would use to grow the same food.
INCREASE PLANT PRODUCTION: As your bush beans are growing, be sure to pick each day to encourage growth and plant output. Same is true with tomatoes… as they begin to ripen, pick often to encourage further fruit set.
PUMPKIN PLANTING TIME: Plant that big pumpkin for Halloween this month and give it plenty of room to sprawl. If you have a fisherman in your family, save a fish head and toss in to the hole before planting your pumpkin seedling into the ground.
JULY PLANTING CALENDAR: And finally, here is a quick cheat sheet you can print off and reference for what you can plant each week through either direct sowing (DS) into the ground or sowing indoors (SI).
The key to tasty salads is incorporating a mix of lettuce varieties. The vertical hydroponic Tower Garden is perfect for packing in 28 plants within a 2.5′ square footprint. This article focuses on spring planting, but you could grow any of these plants year-round if you have purchased the light attachment for your Tower Garden keeping the indoor environment around 70ºF.
There are certain greens that do really well in colder weather and can grow in early spring after the danger of frost has passed. Here is zone 7b, we will be starting greens the first week of March to be ready to go outside the last week of March. (Will use a Weather Protection Blanket each night until Frost Date of April 12.) It’s better to not have to store seeds for longer than a year or two, so we tend to purchase from this seed provider (Seeds Now), because of the smaller quantities and lower prices. The lower cost of seeds also enables us to try more varieties to see what we like the best.
Here is a list of greens to inspire… consider starting from seed soon!
Arugula – Classic Roquette Arugula can usually be harvested as early as one month after planting. Arugula is an easy-to-grow green using any hydroponic setup you have. The leaves of the Arugula plant add a tangy/peppery flavor to any meal. We recommend picking the outer leaves when plant is still young (leaves about 3″ long) and it will continue to grow throughout the season. Approx. 150 seeds for $1.99
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Chives – Garlic Also known as Garlic Chives. A perennial plant that grows narrow, grass-like leaves that have a mild onion-like flavor. Chives are rich in vitamins A and C, contain trace amounts of sulfur, and are rich in calcium and iron. Used for many culinary creations. The plant will grow to about 12″ tall and is best suited for the top row of the Tower Garden. Once established, you can trim the entire bunch to about 3″ and the chives will regrow (cut and come again). Approx. 115 seeds for $1.99
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Endive – Green Curled Endive is a healthy and delicious leafy green and produces dark green curly leaves with large tender crisp ribs. Excellent on salads and sandwiches. Rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially in folate and vitamins A and K, and is high in fiber. Extremely easy to grow using any hydroponic setup you have. Plant this variety all-year-round using hydroponics and grow lights. Approx. 100 seeds for $0.99
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Kale – Lacinato Old Italian heirloom, rather primitive open kale with blue-green strap leaves that are 3″ wide by 10-18″ long. Perfect for making Kale Chips! Extremely easy to grow using any hydroponic setup you have. The leaves of this extremely winter-hardy variety become sweeter after a hard frost or harvest leaves when young and tender. Delicious and tender when stir-fried or steamed. Approx. 55 seeds for $1.99
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Kale – Red Russian Stems are purple with deep gray-green leaves. The plants mature medium-tall and leaves are tender compared to other kale varieties. Ideal for salads and light cooking. Extremely easy to grow using any hydroponic setup you have. Approx. 50 seeds for $0.99
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Lettuce – All Year Round As its name suggests, this is a lettuce that can be gown throughout the year. In even some of the the coldest areas across the country, this variety can be grown with some protection with a cloche or cold frame in the cooler months. Approx. 200 seeds for $1.99
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Lettuce – Gourmet/Mesclun Mix A mixture of favorite lettuce seed varieties from across the spectrum of lettuce types. Plant heavy and start harvest early for young for baby greens then allow some to grow on for plenty of variety for salads. A great way to get a lot out of little space. Perfect for container gardening. Approx. 200 seeds for $1.99
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Lettuce – Romaine, Classic Large, upright, full-bodied heads with dark-green, slightly savoyed leaves that are mild and sweet. Plant reaches about 10 inches tall. Midribs are crunchy and juicy. Because of their higher chlorophyll content, romaine lettuces are among the most nutritious of all lettuces. Approx. 135 seeds for $1.99
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Lettuce – Salad Bowl, Green The Green Salad Bowl Mix is a really easy-to-grow lettuce variety. Extremely flavorful green leafs. Continues to grow as picked. As outer leaves are picked, inner leaves keep growing. Excellent addition for salads and garnishes. A great variety for many gourmet chefs around the world. Approx. 150 seeds for $1.99
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Lettuce – Salad Bowl, Red The Red Salad Bowl Mix is a really easy-to-grow lettuce variety. Extremely flavorful red leafs. Continues to grow as picked. As outer leaves are picked, inner leaves keep growing. Excellent addition for salads and garnishes. A great variety for many gourmet chefs around the world. Approx. 150 seeds for $1.99
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Lettuce – Little Gem Crisp & refreshing lettuce variety. Sweet and crunchy. The leaves of this particular lettuce makes it idea for use in wraps and hors d’oeuvres. Easy to grow in compact spaces and smaller containers. A great variety for many gourmet chefs around the world. Approx. 200 seeds for $0.99
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Corn Salad (Mache), Dutch Corn Salad has a delicate flavor, similar to a butterhead lettuce. It is quite hardy and requires very little care while remaining practically free of pests & disease. Corn salad is also known for growing vigorously in almost any soil! We think Corn Salad tastes best right out of the garden with a light drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Once you try this cold-hardy green, you’ll be sure to make it a staple in your fall/winter gardens every year. Approx. 200 seeds for $0.99
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Swiss Chard – Hot Pink The Pink Swiss Chard produces excellent yields of dark green shiny leaves with magenta/hot pink stalks and veins. Excellent for salads, juicing, and/or steamed with others greens. Extremely healthy and easy to grow. Approx. 25 seeds for $0.99
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Swiss Chard – Gourmet Rainbow
A heirloom variety from Australia. The Rainbow Swiss Chard is a popular plant that produces some of the most amazing looking swiss chard leaves in shades of red, orange, purple, yellow, and white. Perfect for salads or steamed greens. One of this years most popular varieties to grow. Extremely healthy. Approx. 25 seeds for $1.99 | order seeds |
Purslane, Green (herb) Used in salads and can be cooked like spinach, purslane has a lemony-twang. Remove leaves from stalk and toss into your salad. Purslane contains more omega 3 fatty acids than any other plant source in the solar system, and an extraordinary amount for a plant, some 8.5 mg for every gram of weight. It has vitamin A, B, C and E. In fact, it has six times more E than spinach! It also has seven times of beta carotene than carrots as well as contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate, lithium, iron and is 2.5% protein. You should grow this plant and toss it into your salads! Some even sauté it with onion and chili (green) and scrambled eggs. Approx. 100 seeds for $1.99 | order seeds|
Radicchio, Red Classic
Used in salads radicchio grows from orange to grapefruit size and easy to peel, the smooth, crisp leaves to offer a bitter flavor with a hint of spice.
Now is the time to take inventory of what you will need for the outdoor growing season ahead using the hydroponic (technically aeroponic) Tower Garden by JuicePlus+. Below are 10 things you need to take inventory of before you start seeds for your spring crop outdoors. Feel free to reach out in the comments below if you have any questions! Happy Planning!
Tower Garden Mineral Blend
Specially designed for Tower Garden’s soilless, aeroponic system, Tower Garden Mineral Blend supports superior plant growth and enhanced nutrition from your homegrown vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers. We ship Mineral Blend with each Tower Garden Growing System. But we offer more for whenever your initial supply runs out. Ships quick leaving JuicePlus+ warehouse in 1 biz day.
Ensuring proper balance of your Tower Garden nutrient solution is simple with this easy-to-use pH kit. A pH kit comes with your Tower Garden Growing System. But there are replacement kits, should you need one including purchasing pH up and pH down separately. Ships quick leaving JuicePlus+ warehouse in 1 biz day.
Made from eco-friendly rock fiber, these soilless seed starter cubes provide plant roots with oxygen and consistent moisture, encouraging rapid, healthy growth. Ships quick leaving JuicePlus+ warehouse in 1 biz day.
Net pots hold rockwool cubes in Tower Garden’s growing ports. Though we ship net pots with every Tower Garden Growing System and can be cleaned and reused multiple times, you may need to purchase more after multiple growing seasons. Ideal for plants with larger roots. Ships quick leaving JuicePlus+ warehouse in 1 biz day.
Plant and harvest your Tower Garden quickly and easily with these reusable Net Pot alternatives. Just like Net Pots, Growing Clips hold plants in place while allowing their roots to grow freely inside your Tower Garden. The difference is that Growing Clips (and the plants they hold) may be removed with less effort. You would use these instead of Net Pots. Works fantastic on microgreen extension. Ships quick leaving JuicePlus+ warehouse in typically 1 biz day.
Note: Tower Garden Growing Clips are designed for leafy greens and herbs. They are not suitable for flowering plants with large root systems, such as tomatoes and squash. For these plants, you should use Net Pots instead.
Some of our favorite seed providers for you to consider:
Seeds Now — Pure NON-Genetically Modified seeds, 100% NON-Hybridized seeds, 100% Heirloom/Open-Pollinated seeds, 100% Raw & Un-treated seeds in smaller packaging so you don’t have to store as much. You can pay less for seed and get a greater variety of seed using this source. (One of our fav’s)
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds — Read their commitment to quality non-patented seeds here. We love their catalog (best way to shop their seed collection so order one if you don’t have one) and uncommon varieties. This is part of what makes gardening so fun! Mansfield, MO, U.S.
Seed Saver Exchange — Heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. Buy rare, organic seeds and support our nonprofit mission to preserve garden diversity. Free catalog. Decorah, Iowa, U.S.
Extend your growing season (jumpstart it be 2-3 weeks in the spring and extend it 2-3 weeks in the fall) and protect your plants from overnight frosts in cooler months and midday heat stress in warmer months with this recyclable UV-resistant Weather Protection Blanket made from metalized HDPE. Has grommets for securing it to your Tower Garden. Ships quick leaving JuicePlus+ warehouse in typically 1 biz day.
Didn’t order a rolling base when you first purchased your Tower Garden and realize now that it would more convenient to have one, you can purchase any time. Tower Garden FLEX on a dolly is also an effective way to reduce the heat transferred from the ground in hot weather. Ships quick leaving JuicePlus+ warehouse in typically 1 biz day.
When should you plant Bok Choy to have ready in time for Thanksgiving? Now! Starting today, October 8th through October 12th is the time to plant Bok Choy in your indoor Tower Garden (with Tower Garden lights) to use in Thanksgiving meal sides and dishes. You can also plant it outdoors or place in a greenhouse — if putting outdoors, be sure to cover if there are any frost warnings and monitor your water temp keeping the water temperature between 40 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
To learn more on how to use Bok Choy, visit this page to learn about nutritional benefits and a list of recipes to try.
Bok Choy is listed as the sixth most nutrient-dense vegetable on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). You should eat this!
Do you understand what your plants are trying to tell you?
Just like a newborn baby cries for what he/she needs — a plant will exhibit signs of distress, but they do so silently, communicating with visual cues, such as altered leaf colors and shapes.
Just like a new parent, if you learn to read these signs, you’ll be able to catch minor issues before they become big problems, thereby maximizing the productivity of your garden.
So here’s a lesson in plant language 101.
Quick Reference Guide to Secret Plant Signs
If you notice a problem in your garden use the following chart to help determine what your plants need.
Tower Garden Tip: Nutrient deficiencies, plant diseases, and other common growing problems can occur at the same time and look similar, so identification may be tricky. If you need help, take a sample of the affected leaf to yourlocal cooperative extension office. If you live in the state of Georgia, here is a quick link: http://extension.uga.edu/county-offices.html
Want to learn more about what your plants are trying to tell you? Let’s dive a little deeper…
Yellow Leaves and Nutrient Deficiencies
“Why are my plant’s leaves yellow?”
If you’re like most gardeners, you’ve faced this befuddling question before. Leaf yellowing — known as “chlorosis” in the world of science — has many potential causes. But one of the most common is undernourishment.
For healthy development, plants require 16 different micronutrients and macronutrients. And if they don’t get them or if proportions are imbalanced, leaves may start to look strange, become more susceptible to disease, and slow (or even stop) their growth — decreasing yields.
Symptoms of Plant Nutrient Deficiencies
Before you can address a deficiency, you’ve got to be able to figure out which nutrient your plant needs. So here are a few ways a plant may show you it’s missing something important:
Boron – Young leaves turn light green and may be disfigured.
Calcium – Leaves are disfigured and may wilt or show signs of necrosis (i.e., death of plant tissue).
Copper – Leaves may be limp and/or curled.
Iron – New leaves turn a pale, yellow color between green leaf veins (this is known as interveinal chlorosis).
Magnesium – Leaves show spotting and yellowing between green leaf veins. Outer edges of leaves may pucker or curl.
Manganese – Younger leaves turn yellow between veins (giving them a net-like look) and may develop dead spots.
Molybdenum – Older leaves yellow. Remaining leaves turn light green. All leaves may become distorted and narrow.
Nitrogen – Older leaves and veins turn a pale, yellow color. Other leaves turn light green and stay smaller than normal.
Phosphorus – Leaves looks stunted and turn dark green or even a deep purple color (almost black for some plants). Leaf tips may look burnt.
Potassium – Older, lower leaves show marginal necrosis, even looking scorched around the edges. Leaves also yellow on edges and between veins.
Sulfur – New leaves yellow and leaf veins lighten while older leaves remain green. (May be confused for a nitrogen deficiency.)
Zinc – New leaves yellow and may develop necrosis between veins.
The best way to solve deficiencies is to avoid them in the first place by giving your plants the nutrients they need.
For soil-based gardeners, that means using fertilizers, rich compost, and other amendments. But if you’re growing with Tower Garden, all you really need is Mineral Blend — a simple, balanced mix of all the key nutrients.
Tower Tip: Even if you’re providing the essentials, a high or low pH may keep plants from absorbing or processing them. Most plants access nutrients best when pH is around 6.5. So measure your levels every few weeks and adjust as necessary.
Other Causes of Discoloration and Disfigurement
Nutrition isn’t the only reason a plant’s leaves may look unusual. Here are a few other common causes.
Pests and Plant Diseases
It’s wise to watch for garden pests. Because bad bugs not only damage and stress plants — they also often introduce the following types of plant diseases, which bring additional harm:
Bacteria – Bacterial diseases can cause wilting and spotting.
Fungi – Some leaf fungi mimic certain symptoms of nutrient deficiencies, including yellowing and necrosis.
Virus – If you see blotchy or patchy yellowing on your leaves, a virus may be the responsible (especially if the discoloration is accompanied by disfigured growth).
One of the most common, non-nutrient-related causes of yellow leaves is over or under watering. It’s a common cause, that is, for soil-grown plants.
Since Tower Garden automates the watering cycle, plants always receive the optimal amount of water. But if you’re growing in soil, here are a couple of ways to determine whether you should adjust your watering schedule:
Check the soil. (I know — it’s basic. But it’s never a bad idea.) If it’s drenched, it may be waterlogged, robbing plant roots of the oxygen they need to survive. In this case, water less.
Look for dropped leaves. Plants that don’t receive enough water drop leaves to prevent transpiration (i.e., the evaporation of water from plant leaves). So if you see leaves on the ground, water more.
Your growing environment can impact how your plants grow. Here are a few elements to consider.
Light When accompanied by thin, reaching stems, pale leaves usually suggest a plant isn’t receiving enough light. (Most plants need at least six hours of direct sun or, if growing indoors, 14 hours under grow lights.)
On the other hand, newly transplanted crops may develop bleached spots on their leaves after too much sun exposure. To avoid this, harden seedlings by gradually introducing them to the outdoors over the course of a few weeks.
Similarly, when growing inside, leaves that get too close to grow lights may become spotted or scorched due to over-transpiration, which is followed by yellowing, spotting, and, eventually, leaf death. The solution? Harvest more often!
Nutrients To prevent wilting in a Tower Garden full of small seedlings (e.g., plants that are three inches tall or shorter), it’s best to use a half-strength nutrient solution: 10mL of Mineral Blend A + 10mL of Mineral Blend B per gallon of water.
You can safely increase nutrients to the full amount once seedlings have grown taller than three inches and developed a robust root structure. This usually takes less than a month.
Note: Even for mature plants, overly concentrated nutrients can also cause fertilizer burn. So make sure you’re always feeding your plants the proper amount.
Temperature Extreme heat often causes plants to wilt. But they usually bounce back once temperatures cool. That being said, these precautions can help protect your plants from hot weather.
If you notice black spots on leaves or plants after a cold snap, frost damage is likely the cause. Some plants — particularly kale, collards, and other hardy greens — can survive light frosts. More sensitive crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, however, usually die after freezing weather.
Wind If leaves look dry around the edges and/or curl upward, they may be suffering from windburn. Consider setting up a wind barrier to protect them.
Time It’s completely normal for older, more mature leaves of a plant to yellow and die over time (as long as new, green leaves are replacing them). Just remove these old timers as you see them to prevent leaf fungi.
What Are Your Plants Saying?
Now that you know how to decode your garden’s secret language, diagnosing and rectifying problems should be a little more straightforward.
Have any questions or tips of your own? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.
Want to learn more about growing your own food in a Tower Garden? Click here!
Tips for Hydroponic, Aeroponic, Aquaponic, and Soil-based Gardening Methods