I love the idea and the motivation behind the Garden Tower Project, however I do not love the $300 price tag. For those of you out there who are handy, we can make one of these! This is essentially a strawberry planter (stacked co-centric planters) with a worm tube (vermiculture) in the center.
I used cedar fence boards, which at the time were very inexpensive and have since gone up a little in price but are still fairly cheap. I made 4 boxes that would stack one on top of the other.
We also purchased a nice wide piece of PVC which my husband drilled holes in (to allow worms to move in and out). I placed flattened cardboard boxes underneath to help prevent the pervasive weeds from coming up through the bottom. I still get a few of the most persistent ones (dollar weed) on the bottom, but not many.
Once the boxes were stacked and the pipe was in the center, we held it upright and began adding dirt. The cap on the top of the tube was to keep things out, but as you can see bugs will still be able to get into the top holes (ideally there would not be holes above the dirt, slight miscommunication with the husband about where to stop drilling). I will fill those holes in to prevent flies from getting in and laying eggs.
I could not find a local supplier of compost worms, so I purchased some red wriggler worms from Uncle Jim’s worm farm. I got 2000 since they were on sale. I put about half in my worm tower and the other half in the compost pile. I put some kitchen scraps in the worm tower and the less desirable (to worms) scraps in the compost. I have read they don’t like citrus, onions, and spicy items but enjoy most other fruit and vegetable scraps, and shredded paper.
I actually did this last spring, and the dirt has compacted a lot since I filled it up, so some of the upper tiers need to have dirt added. As you can see the plants on the bottom are happiest so far. I plan to plant some herbs that prefer dryer, warmer soil in the top tiers this spring. The broccoli, kale, parsley and rosemary all overwintered and are thriving on the lower level. I have been mulching with oak leaves to keep in moisture.