Family Chronicles, Louisiana: Garden Tower — PLANTED! (not without compications)

Note: this is the 4th in a series about my trip to Arkansas and then further south to Louisiana to visit 95-year-old Mom, aka Lady Renee, and my caregiver sister Paula and her husband David. See this, then this for protracted prep for Garden Tower planting (www.gardentowerproject).

As for the complications . . . Well, our first worms died. Refrigerated too long? Not sure. Back to Slidell this afternoon. We’ve put kitchen scraps and carbon material in the compost tube, so all is ready for them.

Meanwhile, if you recall, David wanted to build a platform with wheels. Which he did yesterday. Here he is with Tower upside down for final details on platform.

upside down You can see that it’s triangular, and just big enough to include the legs on it. Really state of the art for such a structure. However, what we did not realize at the time he made the platform, was that the holes in the bottom (to drain water, as “compost tea” which one then pours back in on top) were near the edge. Had he realized that he would have made the platform, at least on that one side, slightly larger. So don’t slavishly copy this custom-made platform for your own Tower! Here it is, upside.

right side up

(Note the new swimming pool and pool house in background, and the just prepared ground for grass, lots of grass, soon to be planted. Paula and David are retiring to a southern “plantation” life in their new home, large enough to hold visits from all five of their adult children and their families, on nine acres.)

The reason we had to wait until today, the day after Equinox, to plant the Tower was because David, reasonably enough, wanted to water-proof the new platform, so he varnished it. Twice. The second coat not until this morning. Which meant that we had to protect the platform when we planted. Plus, he decided to varnish the legs (not realizing that it’s unnecessary, they come already treated for water). So Paula devised black plastic protection to include them, too.


Okay, here goes. With Mom sitting on the porch, as witness to the planting.

Mom First, several bags of soil.

first bag soilNext, those creole tomatoes on top that David specified.

creole tomatoes

Next, plants along the bottom that will produce heavy fruit: here, squash and eggplant.

bottom planting

Then, moving up . . .

heading up

Voila! Fini! And we had just enough plants, except for the beafsteak tomatoes and contender bean seeds, which went in separate containers.


First watering:

first watering


Okay, so that’s when I discovered that our worms had died. The ones we went all the way to Slidell for (about 20 miles) yesterday. Why did they die? I wasn’t sure. Until David and I took off for Slidell again, walked into the bait store again, and yes, it turns out that these particular composting worms cannot be refrigerated.

Okay. Got more. Then out to lunch, as usual. Seafood, as usual (and as usual, excellent.) Back to the plantation.

Okay. Time to add the new batch of worms. (Recall that we had already put kitchen scraps and carbonaceous material in the center tube for them to munch on.)

worms in

Wow! Are they really there?

are they there?David announced that it was time to peel off the black plastic. Which I did. And discovered that the plastic bowl underneath was full of compost tea from the watering. Yes! So I watered the Tower with this nutritious mixture.

compost tea

Okay! Fini! Note the plastic bowl underneath, ready to catch more drips.

finiIt’s supposed to rain the next three days, so we won’t have to water for awhile. We’ve already turned the Tower several times to have all sides catch sun. (Not really necessary, but kinda nice. . .)

Grow, baby, grow!

Happy Equinox!

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0 Responses to Family Chronicles, Louisiana: Garden Tower — PLANTED! (not without compications)

  1. Pamela says:

    Very Innovative!
    I hope we will get a chance to see the babies grow up!

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