The Food Web: Organisms and Their Interaction

The soil food web is the community of organisms living all or part of their lives in the soil. A food web diagram shows a series of conversions (represented by arrows) of energy and nutrients as one organism eats another.

All food webs are fueled by the primary producers:  the plants, lichens, moss, photosynthetic bacteria, and algae that use the sun's energy to fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Most other soil organisms get energy and carbon by consuming the organic compounds found in plants, other organisms, and waste by-products. A few bacteria, called chemoautotrophs, get energy from nitrogen, sulfur, or iron compounds rather than carbon compounds or the sun.

As organisms decompose complex materials, or consume other organisms, nutrients are converted from one form to another, and are made available to plants and to other soil organisms. All plants - grass, trees, shrubs, agricultural crops - depend on the food web for their nutrition. 

soil food web.jpg

You probably already know that you should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables every day—and the more variety, the greater the benefit. Luckily, you can grow both a high number and large variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers with Tower Garden.


In fact, Tower Garden can grow more than 150 different wellness-promoting plants. (The only real exceptions are root crops—such as carrots and potatoes—grapevines, bushes and trees.)

What to plant grow and eat out of the winter vegetable garden

You might be ready to  breakdown your flower beds once winter arrives, but why not grow some delicious vegetables while the rest of your garden is in hibernation? It doesn’t take much work or much space, it’s a lot more interesting than pruning roses, and the rewards are great. Chances are good that you have room in your garden to tuck in a few Swiss chard starts or leafy greens. These types of edibles remind us that in our gentle climate we can food in our gardens year round.

winter cabage.jpg

Kale is an easy winter crop.

There are plenty of edibles that you can plant in wintertime, including garlic, leeks, onions, radishes, lettuce, peas, potatoes, chard, spinach, rhubarb, and other leafy greens such as bok choy and kale. If you've already planted these yummy treats, then you can harvest them straight through winter. If you're looking do a little wintertime planting, here are some tips.

Garlic – Set out nursery-purchased or grocery store bought bulbs (separated but unpeeled) four inches apart. Don’t water them in. It’s best to wait until shoots poke up before watering for the first time. Better yet, let the rain water them for you. Garlic takes up very little room and needs little attention.

Leeks – Nursery starts are inexpensive and plentiful. They can be harvested throughout the year and are unfazed by our mild winters.

Onions – This is where your well-amended soil is important. Onions love rich soil – not too sandy or clayey. And they like regular water. You can sow onion seeds, but it’s easier to buy bulbs (called “sets”) from a nursery or online source. Don’t try to plant grocery store onions because it’s unlikely to work. The best time to plant onion sets is January and February. (For green onions, or scallions, pull up the plants when they are about six weeks old.)

Radishes – Forget about those starchy red rocks called radishes at the grocery store. Search online to discover a long list of gorgeous radish seeds including French Breakfast, White Icicle and Pink Beauties. Easter Eggs is a particularly beautiful variety that produces radishes of varying purples, pinks and whites. Radishes grow easily and quickly, with some small-rooted varieties ready in a month or less from the day of seeding.

Lettuce – Like onions, lettuce appreciates fertile soil and regular water. Some are more suitable for warmer months, some for cooler. There are dozens of varieties, including heirloom and redleaf. Mesclun – a combination of several lettuces such as arugula, chervil, chicory and cress – grows beautifully in our climate. Sow seeds in January or February or check your local nursery for starts.

Peas – November and February are the best months to plant peas. Poke shelling or snap pea seeds an inch or two deep directly into rich soil and give them something tall to climb up and wind their tendrils around. Pea shoots are delicacies for birds, so you may need to cover your sprouts with a floating row cover or anything that keeps birds at bay but that lets sunshine and rain in.

Potatoes – Like peas, a good time to plant potatoes is in February, with the satisfying potato harvest around three months later. Potatoes are a joy to harvest for adults and kids alike. Depending on the variety, potatoes are usually grown from pieces of tubers that have at least one eye or from whole small tubers.

Swiss chard and other greens – Swiss chard is like an exclamation point in the winter vegetable garden, lighting up beds with bright pink, yellow and red stalks. It’s one of the easiest greens to grow either from seed or from starts, and it grows all year. Other greens, such as spinach, kale and bok choy, are also easy. These greens can be used for salads or can be braised in stir-fries or thrown into soups. Most greens relish cool temperatures and go to seed in warm weather. Give them rich soil, keep them cool and you’ll be rewarded with fresh salad greens throughout the year.



        -Grow in Raised Beds and containers-

Raised beds and containers are a gardener's dream come true: From weeding to harvesting, in cool climates and waterlogged soils, raised beds and containers remedy a host of problems.

Growing in raised beds means you don't have to bend over as much, saving on your back. The soil warms faster in spring and drains faster in wet weather. What's not to love?  They come in all shapes and size, they can be very simple or ornate and super aesthetic. we feature a wide verity of containers raised beds and hydroponic system on our page. hopefully we can inspire you to experiment with them on your own! 




Our new garden range has been developed in response to feedback from our customers and expert growers. It includes a wide range of sizes and shapes for everything from germinating seeds to growing the largest plants. All of the containers have two or more uncut cones at the top to provide a reservoir for easy watering.



No vegetable is better than the one which is planted and cultivated right in their home garden. For many people, growing vegetables can seem to be a very tough task however it is not. Gardening can be an excellent time pass for many people. It is a healthy activity which in the future will not only improve the eating habits and lifestyle of the participant, but will also save a large amount of money on a daily basis. In order to grow vegetables in the garden, one just has to plant the seed and make sure that it receives sufficient amount of sunlight, water and air so it can grow properly. There’s no happier moment than the one in which one sees the vegetable grown from a seed which they have planted themselves.




4) Many may say that garlic should be planted in the fall, however, it will grow well in the spring as well, just plant four weeks after the frost.

5) Turnips and radishes will grow well in the spring season. They should be planted 2 weeks after the frost and they grow the best in moist well draining soil.

6) As soon as the soil will permit working after the last frost, one can plant Arugula. This leafy vegetable will grow best when planted in spring, they have excellent flavor and aroma, especially when added to salads and smoothies.

7) Beets,one of  the most loved and healthy vegetables that can be planted in the spring as soon as the soil is ready for working.

8) potatoes, who doesn’t love those chips, fries and other dishes, it is one of the  largest crops  grown in the world. One can easily plant them in spring when the soil is ready. Potatoes grow best in well draining mineral rich soil.

9) Tomatoes are beautiful, tasty, nutrient rich and  can be planted during the spring, plant a seed or clone as soon as the soil is ready and night temperatures are above 50 degrees f.

10)  Cabbage is one of the most preferred vegetables to be planted in the spring. This vegetable is loved by most of the people due to its high vitamin  and mineral content . It takes time to cultivate and harvest this veggie but well worth the wait . The farmer needs to prepare the soil properly with tillage and soil amendment  to ensure the health of this crop. many different varieties of seed are  offered, verity is the spice of life and adds to the appeal of this timeless vegetable.


i have been shopping at nurseries around southern California for ten years now and i have learned that starting your garden with proper planning and care is the best way to insure success, or at least give you the best chance at success, conversely making some easily avoidable mistakes can set you up for failure and headaches down the road. Let's discuss some of the things you want to avoid when shopping for plant starts or seedlings at your local nursery. Disease and insects. Just like one child at school with lice or the flu can infect the whole class, plants with disease or infested with insects can contaminated an entire garden. Often insidiously.

Here are some common diseases and insects you will likely  encounter with close inspection.


Blight refers to a specific symptom affecting plants in response to infection by a pathogenic organism. It is a rapid and complete chlorosis, browning, then death of plant tissues such as leaves, branches, twigs, or floral organs. Accordingly, many diseases that primarily exhibit this symptom are called blights. Several notable examples are:

On leaf tissue, symptoms of blight are the initial appearance of lesions which rapidly engulf surrounding tissue. However, leaf spot may, in advanced stages, expand to kill entire areas of leaf tissue and thus exhibit blight symptoms.

Blights are often named after their causative agent, for example Colletotrichum blight is named after the fungi Colletotrichum capsici, and Phytophthora blight is named after the water mold Phytophthora parasitica.


Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects a wide range of plants. Powdery mildew diseases are caused by many different species of fungi in the order Erysiphales, with Podosphaera xanthii (a.k.a. Sphaerotheca fuliginea) being the most commonly reported cause.[1] Erysiphe cichoracearum was formerly reported to be the primary causal organism throughout most of the world. Powdery mildew is one of the easier plant diseases to identify, as its symptoms are quite distinctive. Infected plants display white powdery spots on the leaves and stems. The lower leaves are the most affected, but the mildew can appear on any above-ground part of the plant. As the disease progresses, the spots get larger and denser as large numbers of asexual spores are formed, and the mildew may spread up and down the length of the plant.

Powdery mildew grows well in environments with high humidity and moderate temperatures. In an agricultural setting, the pathogen can be controlled using chemical methods, genetic resistance, and careful farming methods. It is important to be aware of powdery mildew and its management as the resulting disease can significantly reduce crop yields. Greenhouses provide an ideal moist, temperate environment for the spread of the disease.

Downy mildew refers to any of several types of oomycete microbes that are obligate parasites of plants. Downy mildews exclusively belong to Peronosporaceae. In commercial agriculture, they are a particular problem for growers of crucifersgrapes and vegetables that grow on vines. The prime example is Peronospora farinosa featured in NCBI-Taxonomy and HYP3. This pathogen does not produce survival structures in the northern states of the United States, and overwinters as live mildew colonies in Gulf Coast states. It progresses northward with cucurbit production each spring. Yield loss associated with downy mildew is most likely related to soft rots that occur after plant canopies collapse and sunburn occurs on fruit. Cucurbit downy mildew only affects leaves of cucurbit plants.

Root rot is a condition found in both indoor and outdoor plants, although more common in indoor plants with poor drainage. As the name states, the roots of the plant rot. Usually, this is a result of overwatering. In houseplants, it is a very common problem, and is slightly less common in outdoor plants. In both indoor and outdoor plants, it is usually lethal and there is no effective treatment.

The excess water makes it very difficult for the roots to get the air that they need, causing them to decay. To avoid root rot, it is best to only water plants when the soil becomes dry, and to put the plant in a well-drained pot. Using a heavy soil, such as one dug up from outdoors can also cause root rot.

Many cases of root rot are caused by members of the water mould genus Phytophthora; perhaps the most aggressive is P. cinnamomiSpores from root rot causing agents do contaminate other plants, but the rot cannot take hold unless there is adequate moisture. Spores are not only airborne, but are also carried by insects and other arthropods in the soil.

A plant with root rot will not normally survive, but can often be propagated so it will not be lost completely. Plants with root rot should be removed and destroyed.


Aphids, also known as plant lice and in Britain and the Commonwealth as greenfliesblackflies, or whiteflies (not to be confused with "jumping plant lice" or true whiteflies), are small sap-sucking insects, and members of the superfamily Aphidoidea. Many species are green but other commonly occurring species may be white and wooly, brown, or black. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions. They are capable of extremely rapid increase in numbers by asexual reproduction. The damage they do to plants has made them enemies of farmers and gardeners around the world. From a zoological standpoint they are a highly successful group of organisms.

About 4,400 species are known, all included in the family Aphididae. Around 250 species are serious pests for agriculture and forestry as well as an annoyance for gardeners. They vary in length from 1 to 10 millimetres (0.04 to 0.39 in).

Natural enemies include predatory ladybugshoverfly larvae, parasitic waspsaphid midge larvaecrab spiderslacewings, and entomopathogenic fungi such as Lecanicillium lecanii and the Entomophthorales.

Whiteflies are small Hemipterans that typically feed on the undersides of plant leaves. They comprise the family Aleyrodidae, the only family in the superfamily Aleyrodoidea. More than 1550 species have been described.

 leaf miners are the larva of an insect that lives in and eats the leaf tissue of plants. The vast majority of leaf-mining insects are moths (Lepidoptera), sawflies (Symphyta, a type of wasp) and flies (Diptera), though some beetles also exhibit this behavior.

Like woodboring beetles, leaf miners are protected from many predators and plant defenses by feeding within the tissues of the leaves themselves, selectively eating only the layers that have the least amount of cellulose. When attacking Quercus robur (English oak), they also selectively feed on tissues containing lower levels of tannin, a deterrent chemical produced in great abundance by the tree.

The precise pattern formed by the feeding tunnel is very often diagnostic for which kind of insect is responsible, sometimes even to specific level. The mine often contains frass, or droppings, and the pattern of frass deposition, mine shape and host plant identity are useful to determine the species of leaf miner. A few mining insects utilise other parts of a plant, such as the surface of a fruit.

It has been suggested that some patterns of leaf variegation may be part of a defensive strategy employed by plants to deceive adult leaf miners into thinking that a leaf has already been preyed upon.

spider mites are members of the Acari (mite) family Tetranychidae, which includes about 1,200 species. They generally live on the undersides of leaves of plants, where they may spin protective silk webs, and they can cause damage by puncturing the plant cells to feed. Spider mites are known to feed on several hundred species of plants.

These are just a few of the most common diseases and insects you will encounter during inspection of your potential plants. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, not only will using techniques like this save you from creating and uphill battle for you in the garden but it will also reduce or eliminate the need for harmful chemical pesticides, funguscides and algicides.



                   here  IS A LIST OF MY TOP TEN GARDEN POWER COUPLES!

  1. Onions and Cucumbers  Onions repel cucumber pests that feed on young cukes. Controlling pesky bugs on your garden plants or on other surfaces does not have to mean using toxic chemical sprays that pose hazards to children or pets. Instead, use natural live plants like onions and garlic, which repel bugs without the risks of harmful poisons. You can plant a garlic and onion border  to repel pests in your home garden.

  2. Leeks and Carrots keep the rust fly at bay.

    Carrots benefit leeks and they in turn repel the carrot fly.

  3. Basil and Tomatoes control hornworms.Basil improves flavor and protects against insects

  4. Onions and Chives planted around your garden will keep the rabbits out.

  5. Radishes  and Cucumbers Nasturtium flower also deters cucumber beetles, aphids, squash bugs and other pests. Flowers are edible; Chamomile improves the flavor of cucumbers and enriches the soil with calcium, potassium and sulfur.

  6. Thyme and Potatoes to enhance growth.

     Thyme May be planted with all plants. It enhances the fragrance of other herbs, protects against insects, improved taste of companion vegetables, and is an all-around nice and useful plant.

  7. Thyme and Eggplant to enhance growth.

  8. Sage and Cabbage will enhance growth of the cabbage.

    Sage also improves the taste of cabbages.

  9. Marigolds planted around your garden will keep a variety of insects and rabbits from feeding on tender plants.

  10. Catnip and Eggplant will repel flea beetles.

Do you have a favorite companion plant that works well in your garden?  Please share, I love trying to introduce new species of plants into my garden. learning and experimentation is one of the most rewarding aspects to growing my own food.



Plant cloning is a simple process that allows you to replicate a plant by clipping a stem and replanting it. To begin, gather the right container, soil, and root hormones for your plant. Next, you will cut, replant, and cover the plant. Ensure that growing conditions are favorable for your particular plant to help it flourish.

1  Choose your cloning container. The type of container you choose will depend upon how large the plant will be once it grows and how many plants you’re trying to clone in one container. Do a little research on your plant first to determine how big your container should be.

  • Some people prefer to use pots for plant cloning, while others will use something as simple as a plastic cup with holes poked into the bottom.

  • A translucent container is usually best so you can see when and where the plant is taking root.

2 Decide whether you want to clone the plant in rockwool or soil. When you clone plants, you put a piece of a plant into soil or rockwool so that it can take root and grow.

  • Rockwool is more complicated and requires more preparation than soil. It’s needs to be soaked overnight in water with a PH balance of 4.5, and it doesn’t contain the same nutrients that natural soil does. You also need to take the time to cut a hole in the center of a rockwool block so that it’s not too big and not too small for the plant you’re cloning.

  • Potting soil, seed starting mix, or well composted garden soil can all be used for your plant. Normal soil dug up from your garden may not be ideal.

 3 Decide whether or not you want to use a root hormone. Root hormones are used in the cloning process to encourage plant cell growth. Plants naturally contain hormones called auxins, which help plants determine whether or not they should develop more leaves versus more roots. When you purchase a root hormone in a bottle, you’ll be using a synthetic auxin. When the auxin is applied, the plant will think it needs to grow more roots, and the cloning process begins. 

  • If you’re an organic gardener, root hormones may not be your friend. Many root hormones contain fungicides and chemicals that might not be earth friendly. If you are concerned about the use of chemicals in your gardening, you may want to opt for natural alternatives, such as willow tea, cinnamon, or diluted apple cider vinegar.

  • Plants like tomatoes are easily cloned because they produce a lot of natural auxin, but other plants may only put out roots from the original root ball at the tip of the stem — which may make it difficult to get the plant to root without a synthetic hormone. Do some research on your plant before making any decisions to see what’s right for the situation

4 Fill the pot or container with soil or rockwool.

  • If you’ve chosen to use soil, fill the container to the top. Poke a hole through the center, all the way down to the bottom of the container.

  • If you’ve chosen to use rockwool, you can simply insert the chunk of rockwool into the container.

5 Water the soil. Pour enough water into the soil that it’s wet, but not drenched. If you’re using rockwool, it would already have been soaked overnight, so adding more water is not necessary.


6 Make a diagonal cut on the stem of the plant using a sharp knife or scissors. You’ll want to select a lateral stem to cut, not a terminal stem. Terminal stems are the main stems that come up from the ground, while lateral stems protrude from the sides of the terminal stems. 

  • After you’ve made your cut, look at the stem and remove any leaves or flower buds from its base. When there are too many leaves or buds on a plant cutting, they suck most of the water from the base of the stem and may keep your plant from rooting. 

7 Dip the stem in root hormone (if you've that decided root hormones are right for your plant). Root hormones can be in liquid or powder form. If you’re using a powder, dip the stem in some water and then apply the powder to the end, so it sticks. Do not coat the whole stem in root hormone. Focus on lightly coating the very bottom of the stem.

8 Put the stem of the plant into the hole in the soil or rockwool. Try to put about one-third of the stem into the hole

9 Cover the container in plastic or glass. A plastic bag can often work well for this if you have nothing else. When you cover the plant, it keeps the moisture and allows the plant to continue living while it attempts to produce roots.  What you use to cover the plant will depend upon the container you’ve chosen to house your clone.

10 Keep the container in a warm area where it can get SOME sunlight. If you put the plant in a place where it gets direct sunlight all day, that may put too much stress on the cutting and kill it.

11 Add a little water to the soil every day, keeping the soil moist (but not drenched) while it begins to root. After about a week or two, your plant should begin to form roots. Hooray! Clonage achieved.



Bloggers wanted! If you have any fun and interesting topics you would like to share we are always looking to expose the community to new authors. please feel free to submit all works to 

                     GRAB A GARDEN!

click on the image below to order a tower-garden safely and securely  right to your door step. With Interest free financing!




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