10 Summer Tower Garden Growing Tips
Growing in the heat and humidity can be challenging, to say the least. With the scorching temperatures and soaring humidity comes pest and fungus problems that can wreak havoc with your crops. Although not totally eliminating pests, the Tower Garden certainly reduces pests. Below you will find many Summer Tower Garden Growing Tips to help you and your Tower Garden crops deal with the heat.
- Add Tower Tonic at half or quarter strength. This is the most important Summer Tower Garden Growing tip of them all! Water evaporates but the minerals do not. And just like us, plants require more water in the heat, but they don’t require more nutrients. Read this post here for a more detailed explanation. Instead of adding 20ml for every gallon of water you are adding to the reservoir, add just 10ml. If the temperatures are over 100 (actual temperatures, not real feel) then you can drop it further to 5ml per gallon. The plants in your summer Tower Garden and your wallet will thank you for it.
- Filter city water. If you are using city water we recommend filtering it before adding it to the reservoir. You are probably familiar with chlorine. It’s added to pools to kill bacteria and it is also added to city water to do the same. Chlorine dissipates after 24-48 hours so cities have to add it frequently to keep chlorine levels up. More and more cities are switching to chloramine, which is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia and it doesn’t dissipate very quickly at all. The heat can stress out your summer Tower Garden crops. Chlorine/chloramine will stress out your summer Tower Garden. There’s nothing you can do about the heat, but you can easily remove the chlorine/chloramine with an inexpensive filter like this.
- Keep your Reservoir Full. It takes more energy to heat 20 gallons of water than it does 5 gallons. By keeping your reservoir full the water stays a little cooler (which your plants prefer) which means you’ll lose less water through evaporation.
- Use a Dolly. Have you ever stood barefoot on a concrete surface, or a wooden deck, in the middle of the afternoon? It gets pretty hot, doesn’t it? If your Tower Garden Reservoir is placed directly on concrete, or another similar surface, the heat transfers to the reservoir, and the water warms up (your plants don’t appreciate that) which in turn causes more evaporation which means the volume of water is less so the water heats up quicker. Using a Dolly or a thick rubber mat under your Tower Garden Reservoir will allow air to flow underneath it, reduce heat transfer and evaporation, and generally make your summer Tower Garden plants happier!
- Place your Tower on the East side of a building. If you are growing delicate greens and lettuce and you have a spot on the East side of a building, move your Tower Garden there. The lettuce would appreciate the break from the heat, after all, it is traditionally a cool-weather crop. However, the Tower Garden technology allows us to grow lettuce successfully in a Summer Tower Garden. You certainly will not find anyone growing lettuce in the ground in Florida in the Summer, but you will find it in many Tower Gardens. The same can be said for Kale and Cilantro.
- Set your timer to run continuously throughout the hottest part of the day. Are your plants looking like they are struggling a little in the afternoon? Set your timer to run the pump continuously between 2pm and 5pm or the hottest part of the day where you are. Follow the instructions on your timer and ensure the time is set correctly on the timer before setting it for the few hours that it will run the pump continuously. If you have the new style digital timer, you can plug your pump straight into the outlet. Just remember to go back to the timer overnight, if possible. The plants really do like the break in between watering.
Personally, I have never done this in Central or South Florida. If you are doing the things above it simply isn’t necessary, unless your air temperatures (not real feel) are well over 100 degrees.
- Chill the water. Use frozen bottles of water to chill the reservoir. Use the largest bottle possible but ensure it is small enough to fit in the access hole. 32oz Gatorade bottles work particularly well. Fill them to about 1/2 an inch from the top to allow for the water to expand when it freezes. Have a few on hand so that you can rotate and refreeze. Ice will dilute the nutrient solution so it is not recommended.
- Harvest Lettuce sooner rather than later. Lettuce is generally a cool weather crop and you will rarely find anyone growing it in the ground in Florida, or many other parts of the country, in the summer as it is simply too hot! Due to the way the Tower Garden works, we are able to grow many crops throughout the heat of the summer we would otherwise be unable to grow. However, harvest them sooner rather than later. By this I mean harvest the lettuce as baby leaves rather than a full-size head. Over time the lettuce will start to bolt and begin to taste bitter. Then, it is about getting your timing right and having another lettuce seedling ready to go into the Tower to take its place.
- Grow heat-tolerant crops. The Tower Garden allows us to grow year-round, and trick things into growing when they would usually be considered out of season. However, some varieties will deal with the heat better than others. Look for heat-resistant lettuce and vegetables for the best results. View our heat-tolerant seedlings here.
- Run the hot water out of the hose before filling the reservoir. We’ve all felt how hot the water inside the hose can be when we first turn the tap on. When filling your reservoir ensure you allow the water to run on the ground (or another in-ground garden) until it is cold (or cool at least). The last thing you want to do is add scolding hot water to the reservoir.
That’s it! Those are our 10 Summer Tower Garden Growing tips! Follow these tips and you’ll have a thriving Summer Tower Garden all summer long!
Do you have any other summer Tower Garden growing tips? Order your Tower Garden here.
Are you growing in the winter? Check out our Winter Tower Garden Growing tips here.