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THE BETTER WAYS TEST GARDEN IN PHOTOS

A variety of organic vegetables grow on a balcony at the headquarters of Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC © 2013Above: baby lettuce starts with basil and swiss chard left over from the spring, alpine strawberries, flanked by scarlet runner beans.

Beans are one of the big eye catchers on our balcony this summer; as you’ll soon see we can’t get enough of them. Below we’ve captured some of our favorites of the fruits and veggies in the Better Ways test garden this summer. We hope they will inspire you to think about how much food can be grown in a relatively small space. The options for small containers and what to put in them are endless. This is just the tip of the iceberg. What do you think you would like to grow?

If nothing else, it’s at least a good break from the work day. (Click photos to enlarge for scratch and sniff.)

Strawberries growing in Dr. Grimme's Tower Tot small container garden. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

Strawberries growing in Dr. Grimme's Tower Tot small container garden. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

We chose alpine variety strawberries to plant in small containers.  The berries may be small in stature, but what they lack in size they make up for with big flavor. They’re a good choice where space is limited because they tend to be steady producers throughout the whole season, where other varieties drop off after early summer.We love stepping out onto the back porch to pick a few for oatmeal in the mornings.

Scarlet Runner Beans grow in Tower Tots at the Better Ways headquarters. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013.

 Reaching towards the sky these bold beans aren’t afraid to dance in the breeze…

Bright lights swiss chard and scarlet runner beans growing in Dr. Grimme's Tower Tots small container garden. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013 Bright lights swiss chard and heirloom scarlet runner beans

An endorsement  from a local fan…

Ladybugs love Dr. Grimme's pesticide free garden. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013.

Lettuce; spinach and chard starts grow in Dr. Grimme's Tower Tot. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013.

Mixed greens from earlier this spring include 2 varieties of lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard. 

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Pole beans growing in Dr. Grimme's Tater Towers® vertical planters. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

We started 3 varieties of pole beans in Tater Towers with closed bottoms (Tower Tot) on our back deck, fashioning stands from left over wood and a pyramid of bamboo and twine to climb. We chose to use 2 levels instead of 1 to help protect the beans from the dogs. Despite efforts to knock them over they are doing splendidly. Admittedly, there wasn’t a plan when we put them in, but Mrs. G is a compulsive seed buyer so they had to go somewhere. Now they’re producing like crazy! Everyone is getting beans for Christmas.

I love to watch how pole beans climb. Ever-reaching delicate limbs intertwine as they stretch skyward, giving way to puckered petals and slender fruit. For something so fragile and fleeting, they exhibit such strength and endurance. People should be more like beans, they are the most romantic of things.

pole beans start the climb. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

 

pole beans start the climb. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013Many of these photos started with naps below the bean towers.

Reaching the top, pole beans climb a pyramid of twine at Better Ways HQ. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC

pole beans grow in a Dr. Grimme's Tater Tower stackable planter. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

Flowers of the stringless purple pole bean. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013Flowers on the stringless purple pole bean.

Flowers of the blue lake pole bean. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013Blue Lake pole beans have bubblegum pink flowers and dark blue/black beans when dry.

Blue lake green beans intertwine. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013.

Pole beans growing in Dr. Grimme's Tater Towers® vertical planters. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

Green beans growing in Dr. Grimme's Tater Towers® vertical planters. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

very young green bean. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLCCute.

And speaking of cute, we’re growing these little fellas for the first time this year. They aren’t growing in a Tower Tot, but they certainly would be a good match. Mexican Sour Gherkins.  They’re as big around as your pinky finger  and pop with a fresh hint of lemon in your mouth. They are also a great garnish for gin cocktails.

Young mexican sour gherkin cucumber. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

mexican sour gherkin cucumber. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

mexican sour gherkin cucumber. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

Of course no garden would be complete without potatoes. This spring we placed 2 sets of towers on our driveway and they’ve done very well, as you can see below. It’s almost harvest time and we can barely wait!

Lavender potato flowers. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC 2013

Dr. Grimme's Tater Tower® over time. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLCBefore and After

Dr. Grimme's Tater Tower® stackable planter box for growing potatoes. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC

Cluster of white potato flowers. © Dr. Grimme's Better Ways, LLC

POTATOES HAVE NEEDS!

Grow together!  Gardening with loved ones is a very fulfilling experience.  Add Dr. Grimme's Tater Tower ® to your backyard farm or urban farm and increase the amount of home grown food on your table.

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Greetings and salutations, you fortunate few who are reading this on this fine St. Valentine’s Day!  It’s been a long, cold winter, but the days are growing longer.  Times are brighter, love is in the air, and there are tingly sensations rising to every surface once again.  You are not the only one who is feeling them.  Your seed potatoes know as well.  Their eyes are popping as you read this.  They are calling to you.  “We’re ready for you!  Come get us!”  Their sprouts are growing and reaching; longing to plunge into the dark, moist compost you offer them at the next possible opportunity.  They yearn to once again feel the sensual sway of circadian rhythms; to grasp for that intense light at the end of the aphotic tunnel.  Do not deny them this!

 

But what of the human experience?  Do you want your relationship to be as sustainable as your garden?  What could better embody an intense emotion encompassing the complexities of love, lust, desire and a fruitful garden?  Nothing says, “I love you!”  like a Dr. Grimme’s Tater Tower ® interlocking, stackable planter box.  If you have missed your opportunity to get your “hot potato” a tower for Valentine’s Day, you will have more chances all season long.  A birthday perhaps?  An anniversary?

Dr. Grimme’s Tater Tower ® planter box does not have to be limited to your romantic relationships.  There is always St. Patrick’s Day–traditionally the day to plant potatoes.  Mother’s Day!  Father’s Day!

And a MOST EXCELLENT wedding present any time of year, as you might imagine…..

 

 

 

 

BACKYARD POTATO FARMING 101

When picking seed potatoes, for optimizing your yield in the potato towers, choose a late season variety.  These continue to produce tubers off the stem of the plant as it grows, as opposed to just setting one time at the base of the plant. These varieties include Yellow Finn, Red Pontiac and fingerlings.  Potatoes like  a sandy soil mixture, and a lot of sun.  Plant your seed potatoes in a Dr.Grimme’s Tater Tower® planter box.  As the plants grow, continue to add soil mixture around the stem of the plant, leaving an inch or two of green plant showing.  Add another level to the tower as needed to hold the soil mixture.  Repeat, as the plant grows.  The more stem, the more places the plant has to grow potatoes! The plant will grow out of the top of the tower.  Water as necessary.  The potato plant will flower, and then die.  HARVEST TIME!

IN THE BEGINNING…

This is a big moment for us. You could say, “HUGE“.

As you read this, we depart on our intrepid adventure into the world of small online business. We come to you as humble servants of the soil who dream of filling a special niche amongst the spuds in your garden; to share space with the lettuces and leeks; to share our solutions and discoveries with all of you.

The idea for Dr. Grimme’s Tater Tower® stackable planter comes from the  practice of growing potatoes vertically to optimize yield. The taller the plant, the more potatoes. Traditionally, potatoes are grown in long rows by dedicated farmers who regularly hill up the soil around the plant. The art of potato gardening was later revolutionized by the used tire. Decades ago, when used tires rolled rampantly about the streets, a clever hippie and garden sage (to whom we owe much credit) said, “Lie them down and give them purpose. Let them find a home in the garden.” So began the trend of filling tires with soil and growing towering potato plants from within their rubbery insides.

While the excess of used tires is still a concern, new discoveries on their potentially harmful chemical makeup discouraged a young Dr. Grimme from taking this route in his own horticultural endeavors. “You wouldn’t make soup in a tire? Why grow the vegetables in them?” After much research he came up with the design for the future of Dr. Grimme’s Tater Tower® boxes (see prototype in photo above). Lightweight, stackable boxes made from cedar that is grown and milled here in Oregon, easily interlocking for quick and stable assembly,  and an even quicker harvest!

These towering spud-studs may not be able to guarantee that you’ll grow the next World’s Biggest Potato, but they do promise to make you part of a movement. Your own movement, towards growing your own food. Using a limited amount of space and effort, you can grow plenty of potatoes for yourself, friends and family.

ARE YOU READY???

GET READY!

With St. Patty’s day just around the corner,  it’s time to get serious about potatoes. For many, March 17th marks the time to get those spuds in the ground. So before you go out n’ get rowdy playin’ yer fiddle and dancin’ a fine jig, wear yer greens down to the garden and plant yee some taters. Chances are it’s the perfect moment! Throw in a drunken brawl and all your friends will be jealous from the foggy retellings of the good time you barely remember. This year you’ll at least have a garden full of potatoes to show for it!

Order your Dr. Grimme’s Tater Tower® planter box soon to be sure it arrives on time for the big day!

Here are some great resources for growing and ordering your seed potatoes:

Seed Saver’s Exchange Potato Growing Guide
Check your plant hardiness zone
Seed potatoes from Maine Potato Lady–look at the late season varieties to maximize potato tower yield
For our friends down south, check out : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

seed potatoes from Grow Organic……

 

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