I am a traditional get down and dirty gardener. I love to putter around in the soil, plant seeds, breath in the fresh air, figure out watering systems, analyze new forms of fertilization, soil amendment and companion planting strategies. Weeding, watering, moving straw bales, compost and trimming, visiting with other gardeners, making my rounds at the local garden shop, hauling buckets of flowers and heavy baskets of vegetables are all part of the joy of gardening for me.
That being said, I am interested in learning about gardening in any form. My friend Deb Flom, a new distributor with Juice Plus, invited me to attend a presentation last night about The Tower Garden, a hydroponic garden system marketed by her company. Judging by the large, enthusiastic crowd in attendance, The Tower Garden seems to be the rage among busy, non-gardeners who want to eat home grown organic produce without getting their hands dirty.
The speaker, a scientist and businessman who had spent his early career developing and managing hydroponic and aeroponic farming systems at The Land, a modern crop development marvel at Epcot in Orlando, FL, made a good case for eating locally produced organic food. He presented several reasons to bypass the bother and grime of traditional gardening. His arguments included the lack of time and gardening skill, lack of space, the unknown nutritional value of home grown vegetables due to depleted soils and the ability to shorten the maturity cycle of plants using hydroponics.
Although I came with an open mind, I admittedly have a preference for gardening the old fashioned way. I am convinced of many benefits beyond the organic crops I harvest for my family. Exercise, fresh air, relationships, problem solving, play time and learning for both children and adults, healing, thinking time, sunshine, sustainable living, diversity, happiness and yes, dirt are just a few. I also came with a slight prejudice against The Tower Garden having heard of some difficulties my daughter’s roommate had had with her Tower Garden — problems that she had discussed with me in an attempt to solve them.
So with that in mind, I realized that although this system cannot meet the present gardening expectations and needs of a gardener like me, it is the right choice for the person who wants to grow food, simply and without the complication of growing food the traditional way. There are many in this world who need simple solutions and The Tower Garden provides this.
In that vein, I was quite surprised to see a friend who had gardened alongside me for years in my community garden. She retired several years ago citing time constraints and increasing family commitments. Knowing Glenda as a person committed to healthy living, I understand her choice to utilize The Tower Garden as a time saving way to grow organic vegetables for her family. Talking about the options with her, I have a new found respect for this gardening possibility.