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Writing for Liberty

Nightly Blog 5

It was tough getting back to work today after a long weekend, but I am just grateful for the fun times with family and the amazing memories we made by simply enjoying the moments that we were in. Whether it was time spent with my whole family, or just with Kyla, I feel like we all seized the moment – there was no chance for regret.

And that is what I am pursuing in life – to leave no chances for regret.

This is the reason that I am so scattered – and yet so focused. I want to be a gardener/farmer, but there is also so much more in life that I am interested in & have a passion around. One of those things is writing. Writing is something that I have held near & dear to my heart; it is such a personal expression and an outlet for those rogue thoughts, feelings, and emotions. In the past I used to write all the time and I seemed to find myself in a negative space. Because of this I stopped writing for a while, and generally stopped putting content out into the world during those periods of my life.

To me it was better to say nothing at all than to flood the internet, and thus the world, with my negativity & bullshit. I feel like I am way beyond those feelings – but most of the world is not. Most of the world is out to bring everyone down to their level, so that we’re all one miserable melting pot of propaganda – or at least that’s the way it feels right now. So I hope that while my writing is simply a hobby, simply something to get me conditioned to better share my thoughts openly and more coherently, that I can attempt to bring some Common Sense to this world that is living in an ever-triggered state ready to attack anyone who may threaten your ideology.

My second passion somewhat stems from the last thought, and that is reading. Lately my reading has been much more purposeful with philosophical, economical, & historical readings such as Ayn Rand (although that was at least 6 months ago), but more recently with the writings of Thomas Paine: Common Sense, The Crisis, The Rights of Men, The Age of Reason, & Agrarian Justice. My thoughts in reading this book is not to incite a revolution but to understand the forging of nations and what role one man’s pamphlets played in turning the colonists from seeking Tax Reform to seeking Independence from Tyranny. A lot of people believe that there are some strong parallels between what is going on in the world today and the American Revolution.

I think that it is important to note the fact the we take advantage of the rights that we posses. We take for granted the promises made to us of “Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness”.

And how could we not?

We know no different than To Be Free – what we don’t realize is that people, as in Human Civilization, had not been living in a free society. The world was ruled by Kings; the Earth was inherited from the royal bloodlines while the feudal system kept the people in an impoverished, stifled form of life based on roles in society – not the freedom to “pursue your passions” or “find yourself”.

America was the country that turned the tides for the Freedom of Humanity – don’t take your Freedom for granted; and don’t let anyone take your Freedoms from you.

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Sunburnt & Smiling

Today was a great day.

I feel like it’s not often that you get to say that, but it truly was – even though I am thoroughly exhausted and trying to write this while Kyla, Twiggy, & Basil sleep soundly around me.

Our busy day began mid-morning as we felt the heat creeping up on us while drinking our coffee on the patio. Though my phone said it was only 72 degrees, you could feel the potential for heat in the air and we immediately began to gather our supplies to begin cleaning the front of our house before going to my parents’ for a cookout later in the day.

Cleaning the siding on the front of the house was priority numero uno, but there was a deeper issue that was causing the buildup of mildew on the siding – my gutters were clogged, which was causing rain to collect in the gutters, not drain, and spill water out and down along my siding. Once I set my ladder up against the house, I climbed up with a rake to attempt to unclog the gutters; although all I could really see was water & some of those helicopter seed things that fall from maple trees.

I reached my rake along the gutter and heard the water & seeds shift down the downspout.

Progress. But the water was still plugging the gutters.

I raked again and heard another shift.

I raked one final time and then a tsunami of stagnant rainwater and a bucket-full of maple seeds rocketed through the downspout & finally completed its journey back into the ground.

From the point of the gutters finally being cleaned out, the next task was to get scrubbin’ the siding!

It took a little Dawn dishwashing liquid, a scrub brush, and some balance on the ladder, but we got a huge portion of the siding and our porch railings done. It’s really amazing what a little soap, water, and hard work can do to make a place feel like brand new – and to give you pride in what you work for; what you own & to have pride in the place you call Home.

Aside from the work and the results of the work being fulfilling, it was great to see our neighbors outside and to feel the warmth of human engagement & interaction. It was funny because at one point I looked up and saw two people riding their bikes by our house and say Hi to us, only to find out it was one of our friends (who is also our hairstylist – yes we go to the same hairstylist hah!).

But either way – I loved the fact that they stopped by to talk, and ended up seeing our crazy garden that engulfs half of our backyard. I have been loving having people stop by to get plants, or to randomly say hi so that I can show them the garden; introduce them to this madness that keeps me sane.

Cleaning the front of the house was therapeutic for me & Kyla’s soul, but once we got rolling on projects we just had to keep it going. Next up was rearranging the landscaping so that we had a more balanced landscape – making sure we had a solid mix of colors, textures, & heights – but I won’t bore you with all of that. The biggest thing I had to say about this is that I couldn’t believe what happened next. As I was digging out a shrub in the landscaping to transplant, I was wearing one of those farmer sun hats with a broad brim and then a truck drove by, slowed down and they yelled, “HOLA” at me.

I’m not sure if it was just a joke – or if they thought I was Mexican – but I just stood there confused and just started laughing & was like, “Holy shit, I think I was just racially profiled”.

With all the plants in place, the dogs fed, and both of us showered, we headed up to my parents for a cookout. Normally we would have steaks and burgers, but today my Dad went with smoked chicken halves & they were absolutely primo. The chickens were marinated in either Mesquite or Cajun marinade, then smoked in the smoker for 7-8 hours with Mesquite & Apple wood chips – and you could taste the sweetness of the applewood in that chicken – again, primo.

Somehow Adam & I lost in corn hole 2 games to 1 to my Dad & my Grandpa, but the real victory of the day was that I landed my first ollie on a skateboard on concrete. I may have only gotten 3 inches off the ground, but the fact that I conquered that fear of skateboarding has me pretty pumped up & ready to keep attacking it to see how much further I can push the boundaries. Needless to say, I’m ordering a helmet & pads – gotta protect this body from my clumsiness! It’s funny because I feel that I’m athletic, but as soon as I’m not in athlete mode, I trip over my own feet.

Good food and good conversation filled the rest of the night as we yelled across the deck about the insanity of the news, the government, and politics – though we said we wouldn’t talk about those things – yet how do you avoid it.

Either way, I think the biggest thing we realized today is that we all need each other; people need people – especially family. So while times are tough, and things are uncertain, enjoy the things in life that are certain – and enjoy your time with the people you can’t live without.

And so it is sunburnt & smiling that I slip into my slumber 🙂

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A New Routine

silhouette of a person staring at the milky way

I want to keep things brief, but I have to write about my new routine that I have to commit to.

Every morning when I wake up, I grab a mug of coffee & head upstairs to my creative area / Plant Lab to write my Morning Pages. Morning Pages (from The Artist’s Way) are a daily dedication to writing that I have done every single day since New Year’s Eve 2019 – I believe today was day 144.

While Morning Pages is a stream-of-consciousness writing that is more private, personal, and not meant for anything other than serving my own creativity for me, I feel like I need to do more writing and communicate more with the world other than sporadic posts. I will have Morning Pages for myself in the morning, but my new routine will now include Nightly Blogs.

Nightly Blogs will be my recap of the day that will inevitably consist of stories about Kyla, Twiggy, Basil, and the garden – but it will also be packed with lessons I’ve learned through the day with topics sprinkled in such as business ideas & opinions, politics & news, health & fitness, and so much more.

We all have varying interests in life & I believe that the point of life to experience as much as you can while enjoying the journey you’re on. Super excited to keep this rolling & hope you join along the ride!

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Seasonal Senescence

On Sunday I took a bike ride through Linear Park and couldn’t help but notice that Fall has a certain spicy smell to the air. Your lungs burn from the cold air, but then there is the sweet senescent spice of the leaves collecting on the forest floor and slowly decomposing into food for the microbes, the soil, and ultimately the trees they fell from. The leaves also cover the seeds that preceded the tumble of foliage and help to insulate and ensure survival from the elements of nature; beast or weather. There’s something comforting about the changing of the seasons, but there’s also something that makes you dread the cold, the dark. Winter is a time of cold and seemingly death, but it is simply a rest; it is in our circadian rhythm to synchronize with the symptoms of the season. We must simply embrace the cold and the ‘uncomfortable’ for what it is and enjoy it nonetheless. Why do we wish to look for ways NOT to do things or reasons why NOT. Why NOT figure out how to adapt and make the environment a product of you instead of relying on the environment to give you the directions of how to live.

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Top 10 Most Cold-Hardy Fruits & Vegetables

Credit: Gilmour.com

With the impending doom of 60 degrees below zero on its way to us in Ohio, it got me thinking – what are the most cold-hardy plants that survive in the harshest conditions on the planet? I started doing some research and wasn’t finding anything particularly interesting. When it gets that cold, or you’re looking at an area like the Arctic or Antarctic, there’s a layer in the soil called Permafrost. This is a permanent frozen layer beneath the soil, but there is a thin layer on the surface of the soil that will freeze & thaw, called the active layer. Grasses, lichen, and dwarf trees & shrubs grow here, but the shallow layer of soil prevents trees from becoming well-established.

Though it’s fun to learn about that frozen world, I thought it would be better to focus on the fruits & veggies you can grow if you live in a frigid climate or growing zone below 6

1. Ice Cream Banana (Blue Java Bananas)

Blue Java Bananas (Ice Cream Bananas)

Also known as the Blue Java Banana, this plant was a little bit of a stretch for this list, but extremely unique and totally doable even if you’re gardening in Zone 4! If you’re in zone 7 or lower, you’ll want to plug these guys into pots. That way you can move the pots indoors during winter. Just as the name indicates, these have a vanilla custard flavor that comes from the plant’s unique blue bananas. This one may be quite a challenge, but so cool to know that it’s possible to grow tropical fruits in a Midwestern climate!

2. Gooseberry


Gooseberries have been rising in popularity recently, but are still relatively unknown in the United States. These plants are extremely hardy all the way down to zone 3 – or -40ºF!

3. Currants

Currants are very similar to Gooseberries – they are extremely hardy down to -40ºF. The big difference between the 2 is that Currants grow in clusters of 8-30 fruit whereas Gooseberries will typically have 1-3 fruit per group. There are a ton of varieties of currant: red, white, black, and pink – I actually have a variety called ‘Pink Lemonade’ in my garden and last year was the first year we were able to harvest fruit. They taste somewhat like a mix of grapes & blueberries, but slightly more tart. This season will be the 3rd year we’ve had the plant, so should see some great yields this year!

4. Persimmon

I have been extremely interested in Persimmons ever since I had one of my grower customers at work (I work at AM Leonard horticultural tool & supply company) tell me that they were a native tree to Ohio. It’s funny because a) I have never seen or eaten a Persimmon and b) I have never seen a persimmon tree! These are another super-hardy plant that can tolerate up to zone 4, or -25ºF. Just like the Blue Java Bananas, these are supposed to have a custard-like taste & consistency – I’ve also heard it described as nature’s sorbet.

5. Beets/Turnips/Radishes

Veggies that you already know about are boring to plop into this list, but I think it’s important to include fast-growing plants and not just fruit trees/shrubs that take years to get to fruiting. Radishes, Beets, and Turnips love the cool weather and they get off to a great start because they begin growing before the weeds do. Beets will thrive when growing in the warm summer months, but do better when seeds are started in a cooler environment. All of these crops can survive freezes and the cooler weather actually increases their sugar content & decreases that spicy flavor that can sometimes affect Radishes that are grown in hot weather (sorry to all my CropBox people that got the fire Radishes last summer!).

6. Cranberry

Cranberries are very similar to Currants & Gooseberries, but thought it would be important to list them on here as well because they’re considered the most-consumed berry in the world – and they are extremely cold-hardy, growing best in Zones 2-6. A lot of Cranberry production takes place in cold climates – Wisconsin, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Canada. And if you’ve never seen a cranberry harvest, it’s something you’ve got to check out. Cranberries are grown in ‘bogs’ and during harvest they flood the bogs, the fruit floats to the top, and they’re wading through waist-deep water with rakes – think Ocean Spray commercials with the 2 guys standing there in cranberries – that’s the harvest. Maybe I can try to link up with some local growers to capture a harvest next fall?

7. Cold-hardy Kiwi

Cold hardy Kiwi is a special plant. Normal Kiwis grow in zone 7-9, but cold-hardy will allow you to grow them up to zone 3! Another interesting thing about this plant is that it is basically in invasive weed – if you aren’t regularly pruning or training, it definitely has the potential to take over your garden, maybe even your whole yard!

8. Cabbage

Cabbage and other Brassica plants (Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts) are extremely cold-hardy as well with most of them able to take temperatures as low as 15ºF. These veggies are great for starting off your growing season & getting some early-season greens, or you can extend your gardening season with these guys growing well into October or November for me here in Ohio.

9. Carrots

Carrots are another underrated crop that can withstand the cold down to 15ºF – but you may have to cover the green tops to prevent damage from a hard freeze. Carrots are similar to the other root veggies mentioned earlier – they grow well in the heat, but the cooler weather really elevates the sugar content & makes for a sweeter-tasting end result.

10. Haskap Berries (Honeyberry)

Haskap is also known as Blue Honeysuckle, Honeyberry, and a slew of other variations. This berry is native to Japan, Russia, and Poland and grows well in zones 2-9. Honeyberries are loaded with antioxidants & supposedly have a flavor that tastes like a mixture of a blueberry & raspberry – I’m thinking we might have to make some room in the garden for these guys!

The winter months are grueling for a gardener – it’s all about waiting for the weather to break & keeping yourself occupied with projects to help plan the upcoming growing season. I hope this brought a little entertainment & value, maybe even helping you extend your growing season this year, but stay tuned as I’m really ramping up my content this year and will actually stay consistent with it. Just as last year I will be running my Fresh Produce Subscription Box, but will also be walking everyone through the process of gardening – from Planning to Planting, from Pest-Control to Fertilization, and from Harvest to Processing.

Let me know what you would like to see – what would help you become a better gardener?

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The Blog is Back in Town

Photo by Rohan Makhecha on Unsplash

It is 5:30am on the day before Thanksgiving. Last night we ended up falling asleep in the living room, so it was a lot easier justifying waking up early. I just rolled off the couch, checked my phone, then turned on the coffee maker 15 minutes before it was scheduled to brew automatically.

In the 15 minutes it took to brew, I laid here fighting the urge to go back to sleep. I grabbed my phone, checked all notifications – nothing important going on – then pulled myself up & turned on a lamp to get the day rolling. It’s a little hard to sleep when your alarm is telling you,

“Wake up, you have 1 life to live, let’s get it.”

I stare down at the coffee table paralyzed – should I read the book I started or should I write? On 1 hand I want to read as much as I can, but on the other hand I don’t want to read about Antitrust when I first wake up (the book I’m reading is Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand).

I also find it hard to write straight off the bat, but feel really encouraged by what Tyler said about my writing & my truth. He is always wrestling with should he post on Instagram/YouTube/social in general and it’s so easy & obvious for me to say, “YES, you’re too talented to keep it bottled! You could do X, Y, Z or even W!” I always know, or have suggestions, for how he can showcase his musical talents, will detail it, overthink it with some super rational explanation (I told him that his music doesn’t need to be thought about, he just does it because it is the essence of  his being) and last night he hit me with some truth I badly needed to hear.

He said, “Bro, I gotta be honest with you, you think about shit WAY deeper than it needs to be lol”.

Then he had an epiphany and said, “But WAIT – that is the essence of YOUR being!”

And honestly, that was the best piece of honesty & motivation that I could have received at that point. It’s crazy because it’s so obvious to me how talented he is & how easily I can justify his posting, but then I can’t see those magical values where they can exist within myself.

I’ve been writing, or attempting to write, and keep getting caught up in semantics, or questioning the content, constantly overthinking 10 miles down the road instead of just living in the moment & acting on inspiration & truth.

He was right, I’m always too deep in my own head – paralysis by analysis. So now I am resolving to write every single day. Writing is a practice & a discipline – greatness & freedom flow from the first steps, but only if you keep the pace. Tyler helped me realize it’s more important to share my writing than worrying about content. I am trying to paint myself in a corner with gardening instead of being true to myself & simply unleashing the thoughts constantly percolating in my head & talking about all of my passions & interests, not just gardening.

I think my worry is that writing will make me vulnerable. Putting my thoughts & feelings out there will expose me as weak or offer a chance for people to psychoanalyze me or something – clearly a little paranoid but when you write that’s what is supposed to happen – you want to expose yourself & your thoughts. When I was younger I was fascinated with reading people’s original stuff so I could gain insight on their true self – free of outside bias. I wanted to read Freud’s own writings, not a biography that is diluted by another’s own viewpoints & interpretations. I’m not saying I’m a Freud-caliber thinker, I just think it’s important to document & important to create – it can only lead to an infinite synthesis of possible ideations to iterate upon. Last night I made an oath to block out time to write, and this morning I fulfilled it without judging – just letting it flow from heart & brain to pen & paper.

Excited for the journey.

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What I Learned from Breaking my Foot

It has been 7 weeks since the ER confirmed that my foot was broken after falling 4-5 feet from a tree that I attempted to climb while at a family cookout. Ok, so I didn’t really try to climb it as much as I tried to run up it like a bear or monkey would. According to Kyla, my last words were, “Hey, watch this!”

Usually nothing good comes after a statement like that and this case was no different. I reached a point far higher than I anticipated and once I hit the ground I landed on a tree root, turned my ankle, and instantly knew my foot was broken due to the level of pain that I had.

After the fall I got up, walked (limped) back to the patio area where everyone was sitting, and of course everyone thought I was being dramatic. My Grandpa strapped a giant ice pack to my foot and that was that. I refused to believe it was broken but knew the truth.

broken foot pain
Minutes after breaking my foot

Since the cookout was earlier in the day, we went to Chipotle afterwards and I walked (limped) through the entire line and drove us home. This was another great plot line – I drive a stick-shift and I broke my clutch foot. I powered through the pain with the help of the endorphins flowing, but this would be the last time I would drive for 3 weeks.

For some reason I didn’t want to go to the hospital that night. We got home around 6pm and I knew we would be there forever – plus my foot wasn’t broken so there was no sense in wasting time & money right now!

I laid there all night in extreme pain waiting to fall asleep. Every trip to the bathroom or the kitchen was getting tougher & tougher – around 3am I could no longer walk/hobble/limp, and had to start hopping to avoid the pain. At that point I figured I would just wait for Kyla to wake up & then we would go to the hospital.

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Waiting on x-rays @ the hospital

Little to my surprise, they found I broke my 5th metatarsal, and I broke it right under my ankle – a clean break right in the middle of my foot! In this moment I realized that I broke my foot doing something stupid as hell, now had to rely on everyone for transportation, and basically was going to spend summer 18 on crutches!

But for some reason, I wouldn’t let it register in my head that I broke my foot.

I have too much stuff to do!

What about the garden? How will it get weeded & watered? How am I going to wear a backpack sprayer for applying fertilizers & pesticides while I’m hopping around on crutches? How am I supposed to carry stuff so I can actually garden?

And then what about my real life? No dog walks for a few weeks (taking our first one today). But how would I get to & from work? How would I get home at lunch to let the puppers out? How do I get my coffee cup from the kitchen to the living room without spilling?

These were the existential questions burning holes in my mind – but I tried my best to keep it from eating me alive.

And I believe these are all the reasons why I broke my foot.

Yes, I brought it upon myself, but I feel as though I was meant to break my foot in order to slow my life down. I was getting to a frantic pace of action – always busy doing something, feeling the need to create content / document the garden journey & just do as much stuff as possible – always on. With this accident, it forced me to stop & realize how fast the world can pass you by when you’re busy & focused in your own lane.

But more than anything, it humbled me.

You don’t realize the importance of your freedom until you rely on everyone else for transportation. Whether its hauling my ass to work (thanks Kyla), hauling me home for lunch (thanks Brian), or delivering the coffee from the kitchen (thanks Kyla), we all take the little things for granted until something helps mold our perspectives. Accepting help is something that I needed forced upon me & I am very appreciative to my friends & family for helping me when I couldn’t help myself.

Out of the struggles also come solutions, though.

Gardening on crutches is an absolute nightmare. You have to deal with crutches sinking in the soil, crutches damaging plants (R.I.P. to at least 2 tomato plants), and… you can’t carry anything!

I started getting creative with carrying work stuff in a backpack & for the garden I had won a tool belt on Instagram last year (never thought I’d wear that, what kind of guy wears a tool belt apron-thingy). The 5 pockets got packed with all the tools I needed: Soil Knife, Pruners, Weeder, plant ties, and whatever else would fit. To finish it off, I hooked a kneeling pad on the belt and that’s how I accomplished most of my gardening with a broken foot – by crawling around the garden like a child.

Although I was forced to slow down, I kept pushing myself to do as much as I could. Not only to keep the gardens groomed, but just to prove that despite the broken foot, I was going to keep doing my thing. The first 3 weeks were strong and then I decided, “hey, maybe I should just rest all day instead of part of the day?”

My mind stopped calling the shots and my body stepped in and told me to chill. Week 4 was a relaxing time with much less gardening & going, and I think it was a sort of turning point. At this point I was driving so I was exercising my foot whenever I drove and had to push in the clutch. I think that served as a micro-therapy and applied enough pain to slow me down the rest of the day.

As the weeks went by, I slowly began coming back to life. I was able to start walking – first on my heel, then slowly into a limping walk that allowed me to abandon the crutches. I limped for a week until my foot muscles & ligaments got built up and now I’m basically back to normal!

Although I was mad at myself for getting into this situation, I feel like it was much needed. I needed to slow down. I needed to ask for help instead of trying to do it all. I needed time to myself & time to think. And most of all I needed my mobility taken away from me so that I could appreciate what role Hustle plays in our lives. Ultimately & ironically, I think I needed to slow down so that I could optimize my actions & attack my goals even harder!

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Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

One of my resolutions for 2018 was to publish a weekly blog post. I started the year off extremely strong, sometimes even posting multiple times a week – or I’d get on a roll of posting on 3 consecutive days – I was really feelin’ it!

But a few things happened, and I decided to pivot & follow my instincts on blogging.

I felt as though my posts were manufactured & becoming forced just for the sake of keeping up with the metrics of my resolution – not in line with metrics of my motivation.

And then it was even more forced when I was trying to align my blog posts, with my Instagram posts, with my YouTube video. And as I’m writing this, the logic seems flawless – but the execution was lacking, it was motivated by the metrics, not the true passion.

Mostly this is my fault & the fault of my perception on it, but the pivot took me to some really interesting places and some new mediums that allowed me to test my limits & push myself out of my comfort zone.

I had already been working on my Podcast that I started on Anchor, so I kept publishing on my channel “Plant Rant”. (Check out my latest episode below or the whole channel here)

As I carried on with the podcast, it too felt like it was lacking something. It definitely wasn’t focused, but that’s how I wanted it – I just wanted to rant – Plant Rant. Sometimes it was about gardening, other times it was about social media, or my thoughts on something that was grinding my gears, or my observations & perspective on stuff. I really enjoyed it, but it was just lacking something!

The fact that it was spontaneous was probably a very limiting factor, but it was important to me so that I could practice my verbal skills, build confidence, and because I believe all the magic happens in spontaneity.

What needed to happen was a merging of all of these ideas & platforms into one – and that’s basically what I did!

And thus the Vlog was born!

Vlogging has been a great collision of everything that I want: spontaneity (because I never plan or try to manufacture content), visual content combined with an audio commentary, providing value through knowledge & experience, and documenting my process of growing my garden and my business.

From Vlogging and posting on YouTube & Facebook, I went to creating content for IGTV. I would still post the IGTV videos to Facebook, but didn’t feel like it was good for YouTube because of the vertical format vs YouTube being optimized for horizontal. I like the concept of IGTV and think that it will really take off with the time & development – especially if they can integrate it into the feed in some way.

Recently, I have been pretty terrible at producing content & keeping on the up & up with stuff! After breaking my foot, I basically went in to hyper-drive trying to prove that I could keep up with everything and that my broken foot wasn’t going to slow me down. I ran on pure adrenaline for the first 3 weeks & doing as much activity as I could handle. After the 3rd week I began driving again and that pushed the limits a little, but was necessary to rehab the foot & begin working the muscles again (I have a manual transmission and the broken foot is my clutch foot).

From that point I realized that I needed to slow down a little bit if I wanted to heal up, and I think that was the whole reason I broke my foot in the first place – to force me to slow down, smell the roses, and enjoy life without constantly trying to do 8 million different things.

I feel like that last sentence completely contradicts the whole point of this article, but when I slowed down the production of my content, I began consuming more content, observing, and realizing what would draw me into videos. Basically observing success & reverse-engineering it to fit with my personality & style.

So now that I have gotten a chance to rest my mind, had time to rethink & refine my content strategy, I’m ready to get back to executing against my master plan to ultimately buy land & begin my farm – stay tuned to the podcast & the vlog, and please! – feel free to reach out with any gardening questions or topics you would like to see covered on the blog/vlog/podcast!

 

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Vertical Growing

Vertical farming has become a hot topic in the last couple years in the Green Industry & is only continuing to grow in interest & popularity.

A big push has been made for Vertical Farming due to a few factors:

  • Decreasing amount of arable land
  • Increasing amount of extreme weather
  • Uses less land to grow more food
  • Uses less water
  • Uses less fertilizer
  • Moves Green Industry closer to technology

Here are a few of the ways you can grow vertically – indoors & outdoors!

Grow Racks

Grow racks are probably the most popular method that is currently out there. Some companies are growing 10-15 levels high, or even higher in some cases! Crops grown in these systems is limited to leafy greens & herbs due to the smaller space they occupy. Commercial crops like Tomatoes & Cucumbers are already “vertical growing” – some grow up to 30 feet tall!

AeroFarmsVerticalFarming.png

Zip Towers

Commercialized by Bright Agrotech, these grow towers are essentially like 2 gutters sandwiched together with a foam growing media that you grow the plants in. Unlike a gutter that lays horizontally, these are grown vertically and then you stack towers side-by-side. I have not tested these out, but have had my eye on them since the first time I heard about them! You can grow them outdoors, but I feel like it would be more ideal to do indoors or in a greenhouse to maximize production.

Zip Towers.jpg

Grow Towers

There is a wide variety of Grow Towers out there. Some are hydroponic or aeroponic – meaning that the roots are either growing in nutrient-rich water, or the roots hang in the air & is misted with nutrients & water. Typically, those types of towers are also using artificial lighting, but I have seen some growing in greenhouses.

Grow Towers.png

Other Grow Towers do use soil – some are made by growers themselves, but I am going to be testing this Tower out this summer that holds 250 plants & uses soil – so excited to see how well it works! This is going to save me from building as many Gutter Growing systems & will save a ton of space as well! Instead of 250 heads of lettuce taking up 250 square feet, it will take up 4 square feet – pretty impressive right?!

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Gutter Growing Systems

This has been made popular by In.Genius Farms out of Canada & I’m excited to give this a whirl this season. I think I’ll mainly grow leafy veggies, herbs, green onions, & maybe even strawberries. My concerns are that they will not stay hydrated enough – & will be hard to keep watered when temperatures get in the 90s this summer. Not only the water issue, but the actual heat issue – how will that affect the plants roots, will it bake them? I guess there’s only one way to find out!

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I think that Vertical Farming will only continue to expand, but there are some challenges that need to be tackled:

  • Energy usage from Grow Lights
  • Ease of harvest from higher racks – typically a scissor-lift is used
  • Crops grown – most vertical growers only grow leafy greens, microgreens & herbs
  • High startup costs

Vertical growing has been in theory for nearly 100 years, but companies are just beginning to tackle this growing option with plant factories & new growing systems coming out all the time. There are challenges, but through testing, failing, & innovating, I believe that this will be the future of growing as the population expands & the size of farms continues to shrink.