Growing your own food is an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone. Watching a little baby seedling grow from seed and to a full mature plant is so satisfying. I swear the produce is prettier and even taste better when they come from my own garden. Plus gardening gets you outside to enjoy the fresh air, and is an awesome stress reliever. 
Along with it being rewarding, growing your own food also comes along with tons of health, and environmental benefits. Growing your own produce means that YOU are the only one to touch it, therefore you know exactly what goes into it. You can throw away your worries about nasty chemicals and pesticides! The process of growing it from seed to maturity will bring you closer to your food, and break down the disconnect many people have with their food. Often when we think of where food comes from, we just picture our local grocery store where perfect looking food magically appears every night. We obviously know that this is not the case, but we still put little thought into the source of our produce. If we are active in the growing process we can appreciate the food, enjoy it more and know that we are not consuming chemicals. I know for a fact that I am also more likely to eat my daily dose of fruits and veggies when they are growing right outside my window. When they are at the grocery store they can easily become “out of site, out of mind” as we are summoned to the processed foods section (I can literally hear the cheddar ruffles calling my name). If that is not enough reason for you grow your own produce, there have also been many studies showing that kids who are active in the growing process are more likely to eat and enjoy their fruits and veggies! The benefits of growing your own produce for the environment is endless. You are saving energy, preventing the release of more fossil fuels, protecting water quality, promoting biodiversity, and not contributing to big business farming. 
 

For those of you that would like to get started on a garden but might be a little intimidated (I was) it is okay! Just start small, and experiment until you find your groove. I began with Tower Gardens and completely love everything about them. They are extremely user friendly, basically just require that you plant the seeds, fill it with water and nutrients, plug it in and watch it grow! 
The bottom tank or reservoir is filled with water and nutrient solution. The nutrient solution is made up of 14 different types of minerals that are found in the ground, and needed by plants to grow. The water is pumped to the top of the tower using a small pump. This will happen on a cycle, 15 minutes on a 15 minutes off. The water will trickle down the tower over the roots of the plants and back into the tank to be reused! There are a ton of benefits that come along with using the Tower Garden, some of these include:
⦁    Use 10% of the water and space that traditional gardening or farming would
⦁    Only use about $0.60 of electricity a month
⦁    Yields are increased by about 30%
⦁    The plants grow up to three times faster in the Tower Garden
⦁    No dirt means no mess and less bugs to worry about

The water used to grow the plants is limited because the Tower Gardens are a closed system. This means that there is not much room for evaporation. Therefore, the water is left for the plants and only the plants to absorb! As for the space, the smallest tower will allow you to grow 20 plants in a space about 3 ft by 3 ft. The taller towers will allow for about 32 plants in the same amount of space!
The pumps that are used within the Tower Gardens are extremely small, and therefore low powered. Because of this they do not use up a lot of electricity!
The yields of produce that are produced in the Tower Gardens have been shown to be about 30% higher. The plants will also grow about 3 times faster than traditional gardening or farming. The reason for this is because the water and nutrients is brought directly to the root of the plant. Therefore, the plant does not have to exert any extra energy to retrieve its water or nutrients. This means it will have more energy to grow big and strong at a faster rate! Below is a photo of the difference one week makes using a Tower Garden.
 

My favorite part of the Tower Garden is that there is no dirt. I know that some people really enjoy digging their hands into the dirt, but unfortunately I am not one of them. No dirt means no mess, and to me that is great! It also deters some of the pesky bug problems you may have to deal with if you grow your produce in the dirt. This is because a lot our bugs actually come from the dirt itself!
    Tower Gardens are an excellent way for the garden newbie or even the experienced gardener to grow a great deal of produce in a very small space! I would recommend them to anyone who is interested in increasing their health, decreasing their environmental impact or just looking for the rewarding aspect of growing your own food. 

-Taylor Ciulei

 

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