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Grow It!

Pictured above . . .

My small vertical garden, with lettuce and peas, as well as a tomato plant that I picked up for free and subsequently killed.

I’m working on growing a green thumb and have a long way to go. The Woolly Pockets are helping me with that because it’s a small garden that is easier to manage. Learning a few gardening basics in a small garden doesn’t feel as overwhelming as a big garden plot.

When I think about gardening or growing food, my grandparents immediately come to mind. As a kid, I noticed that they were always outside in their garden. And when I was really small, I would sit in a tiny red cart and my grandpa Otto would pull me around the garden. It’s funny how the little things, like starting a vertical garden, can bring up so many memories.

Interested in starting your own tiny vertical garden? Check out this article I wrote for AOL in 2010.

Got gardening tips? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Natalie May 31, 2012, 9:32 am


    Your garden looks great! I just got a woolly pocket from my friend and need to set it up.

    My gardening tip would be to look into succulents (although you can’t eat them). Maybe just have one around to build your confidence in plant success since they are pretty sturdy and you can propagate them very easily (plus they come in cool shapes).

    Good luck with your food growing!

    • Tammy Strobel May 31, 2012, 9:58 am

      Thanks Natalie! Hopefully I don’t kill the beans. 🙂

  • Jason B. May 31, 2012, 10:36 am

    Your garden looks great. I’m giving gardening a semi-serious go this year. The thing that helped me was to scale my ambitions back and acknowledge that I didn’t have time to do all the things I wanted to do. Instead I’m starting small – some tomatos, cucumbers, and lettuce in pots. The tomatos and cucumbers look good, but I’m going to have to start all over the lettuce – I forgot to punch out the drain holes in the bottom of the pot, which I discovered when we had a good rain and my lettuce seeds got flooded.

    The Wooly Pockets look pretty neat. I may have to look into those.

  • Mistie May 31, 2012, 12:30 pm

    Hi Tammy,

    I don’t have my own garden but I’ve helped my parents with their large garden. I’ve been told you need to have at least two tomato plants growing together to actually produce tomatoes.

    Good luck. Looks like you’re off to a good start!

  • Kane May 31, 2012, 1:38 pm

    I bought a load of lettuce seeds (various types in a pack) and am recycling some containers and compost from ‘living salads’ purchased at a local supermarket. Within three days of refilling the containers, and a small strip of our minuscule veg garden, the seeds have started to germinate, the lettuce is growing at a terrific rate and we are looking forward to a summer of plenty. I’ve just got to nurture our other plants, including grapes and tomatoes, now.

    Even on a tiny scale, just growing a little of ones own food is incredibly rewarding.

  • Rose Byrd May 31, 2012, 2:03 pm

    Tammy, my grandmother, who had a lot of trouble with the hot Mississippi summer suns, always planted salad veggies and herbs in window boxes. We called them MawMaw’s box gardens! She had my grandfather fix the screens on those windows to swing out from the bottom, so that she could tend and gather from those box gardens without getting out in the sun! I love you calling yours “vertical gardens”. Lots of folks here in NW Alabama also use those topsy-turvy hanging garden devices on their porches, patios, and decks. Much easier to de-pest, water, feed, prune, and gather from! Wishing you a fantastic final summer in Portland! (Hope you get to have nice visits back with friends occasionally!)

  • Frank Martin | Modern Monkey Mind May 31, 2012, 7:40 pm

    Looks great Tammy! In the process of switching to a plant based diet (vegetarian/vegan) and would LOVE to grow some of my own food, but given that I have trouble keeping a house plant watered I’m kind of hesitant to do much. Might get a woolly pocket and try my hand anyway.

  • domestic kate June 1, 2012, 7:31 am

    Thanks for this post, Tammy. It was just what I needed to see. I’ve been struggling because I get very little sunlight on my apartment balcony and I haven’t been able to grow anything. I think I knew about vertical gardens, but I’d forgotten about them! I need to do this!

  • Amy P June 1, 2012, 9:12 am

    Don’t forget about herbs, they are easy and can be brought indoors when winter comes.

    If you are looking to grow healthy food to supplement your diet don’t forget about growing your own sprouts.

  • minky June 1, 2012, 3:55 pm

    You’re garden looks great Tammy! Our best tip: start with “easy-to-grow stuff”, but give anything that interests you a try…ya just never know what might bring out your super-duper green thumb (a couple of things that we’ve found to be “easy” for us to grow below).

    A friend of ours gave us some little tiny mushy tomatoes in a baggie and told us to throw them in the dirt, water them, and you’ll get tons of tomato plants. He wasn’t kidding we did just that, and with a week, TONS of little seedlings popped up. We thinned them out and about a month later we have tomato plants galore filled with blossoms and teeny weeny baby tomatoes! The variety is called Everglades Tomatoes. They’re the easiest tomatoes we’ve ever grown (we’ve unintentionally killed our share of tomato plants in the past too, lol, but not these). Another easy to grow “spinach-like” edible veggie green is called callaloo. Callaloo grows anywhere in the summer and would be great for a pot or your woolly pockets. If you like spinach, you’ll love it, no green thumb required (even though it looks like you already have one :).

  • Erin June 3, 2012, 11:18 am

    Gardening is a skill I would LOVE to develop. My mother has a way with plants, but I didn’t inherit her green thumbs. I’ve never really had ground to plant it, having rented all my life (so far), but I’m sure I could find space for a few small attempts. Off to read about vertical gardens and woolly pockets now… 🙂

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