this page, like many others on our website, is a work in progress. we are learning more about this method of growing food slowly but surely. we would love any suggestions for additional resources, tips/tricks, etc. please get in touch to help round out this collection of resources.
Advice, tips and tricks
- Plug the Tower Garden power cord into a surge protected power bar.
- Fans to circulate air can help to prevent fungal infection, encourage self-pollination of flowers and promote growth.
- The water pump is suggested by manufacturer to be on for 15 minutes at a time then off for 15 minutes. Some suggest a shorter interval is better (5 on/15 off).
- The water pump has suction cups that should be used to stick the pump to the bottom of the reservoir. Do not plug in the pump until it is submerged in water. If, for whatever reason, you need to pull the pump out of the water (for cleaning/inspection), unplug it first. Running the pump dry can cause damage.
- Light timer suggestion is 14 hrs on/ 10 hrs off or 15 hrs on/9 hrs off.
- If the tower has been used in the past, disassemble it and clean thoroughly with warm soapy water and a cloth or soft-bristle brush. Get rid of any old roots and algae buildup. Check water pump to ensure that it is not clogged with roots (this will lessen the pumping capacity and potentially lead to the uppermost pots not receiving enough water).
- As the tower is reassembled, insert pots in the holes before installing the next layer.
- Some people find a rubber mallet to be a helpful tool when assembling tower to ensure a tight fit.
- There is no need for chemical to start seeds or in the first few weeks of growth, though the Growing Guide suggests half strength fertilizer.
- Seeds can either be started right in the tower in rockwool (soaked in water 30 minutes) or started in rockwool in a tray and transplanted into the tower.
- Rockwool plugs should completely fill the pots to block light exposure to the inside of the Tower Garden (this will cause algae to grow).
- Plants that grow larger/longer leaves (kale, swiss chard) are best planted near the top where they will be less likely to block the light from plants above them.
- Sprawling plants (New Zealand spinach, nasturtium) are best planted near the bottom of the tower where they will be less likely to block the light from lower plants.
- Plants that perform best in a Tower Garden are typically leafy greens and herbs. Fruiting plants, like tomato, cucumber, and zucchini are slow to produce, sprawling (so tend to block light to other plants), and some require hand pollination in an indoor setting. Try lettuce, kale, swiss chard, basil, cilantro, etc.
- Check the tower every day, making sure that all plants are receiving adequate moisture.
- Check the reservoir water level weekly. Do not allow the pump to operate if it is not submerged under water. Running the pump dry can cause damage.
- Wipe outside of tower down once a week with a damp cloth.
- It is helpful to have a tool to easily measure the water level in the reservoir. A wooden spoon marked at the 20 gallon and 15 gallon water level will let you know if it’s time to add water/chemicals.
- Chemicals should be added with each addition of water. Add 100 ml of both Tower Tonic A and B for each 5 gallons of water being added. Adding the tonic to a bucket with the water to be added prior to pouring into the reservoir can help mix and distribute the tonics.
- Some people suggest trimming the roots of the plants as they grow so that they don’t clog up the reservoir. To do this, open the reservoir port and reach in with scissors, cutting the dangling roots. Be careful not to cut the water line or power cord. Remove the trimmed roots and compost them.
- Using a pH meter, check the pH prior to adding water/chemicals. pH should be between 5 and 7.
- Check the total dissolved solids (tds) with a meter prior to adding water/chemicals also. It should read >1000 parts per million (ppm).
- Part A and B should be added at the same time after testing. Some people recommend 200ml of each.
- When all plants have been harvested and you want to start all over again, the system should be drained, disassembled, and cleaned according to the instructions in the Growing Guide.
- Chlorinated water is not recommended for growing with the Tower Garden. To naturally de-chlorinate water, leave out for 48 hours and the chlorine with evaporate prior to adding to the reservoir.
- Algae in the water is usually the result of light getting into the inside of the tower garden. To avoid this, ensure that all parts are fitted together tightly, and fill all of the holes with plants or a light blocking material.
- Yellowing leaves is an indication that the pH is not within the 5-7 range.
- Clean the pump filter monthly. Make sure to unplug it first so as to not run it dry.