One of the main reasons folks are hesitant to invest in a Tower Garden is because they are worried they won’t be successful and it will be a waste of time and money. Growing a Tower Garden is easy when you follow our 6 tips to Tower Garden success!
We’re often asked “Is the Tower Garden easy to grow?” My answer is always “it’s the Easiest Garden on Earth”. It really is! We’re often asked “do I need to move the Tower Garden when it rains?” Do you move your in ground garden when it rains?
Of course not, so why drag your Tower Garden in and out when it rains? Not only will you be reducing the number of hours of direct sunlight it receives, but by moving it unnecessarily you run the risk of damaging larger plants like squash, tomatoes, melons etc.
Don’t baby it. Don’t fuss over it. Just follow the instructions and you’ll be set.
Anyway, let’s get back on track!
What exactly do you need to ensure Tower Garden Success?
Many years ago, when we first started growing Tower Gardens I got to thinking “what do you need to ensure Tower Garden success?” It came down to just 6 things. YES 6 THINGS, and none of these things include previous gardening experience (although that isn’t going to hurt). Each one is just as important as the next. I know, you are chomping at the bit to find out what they are. Below we breakdown each of them so that you too can have Tower Garden success!
P.S. – I still cannot keep a houseplant alive so there is hope for you if you are in the same boat!
UV light is CRUCIAL! ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL! It can come from the sun or from grow lights. Lack of sunlight is, in my opinion, the BIGGEST reason growers do not experience Tower Garden success on their first attempt. Without sun your plants are weak and more susceptible to both pests and diseases.
How much sun do I need?
The short answer is, more is better. Minimum hours of direct sunlight or hours grow lights are on are shown in the image to the right. Remember, these are MINIMUM hours. Anything above this is a bonus.
Also remember that plants, like humans, needs periods of darkness, so don’t leave grow lights on for more than 18 hours.
My seedlings/plants in my tower are long, stringy and pale. Why?
They have not received enough sunlight/light from grow lights and they have stretched in search of sunlight. This could happen as a result of filters on windows (if growing inside), not enough direct sunlight (shading caused by buildings, trees or other plants on the Tower Garden), screens (if growing in a screened room), or the grow lights are not close enough or on long enough.
If you started seedlings inside, then you simply didn’t get them outside in the sun as soon as the seed germinated (split open).
You can move them to a sunnier location but, in my experience, the plants are weak and do not always deal very well with the heat of the sun and often wilt, then die. You can try but I would get some more seeds started in rockwool.
Unfortunately there is no way to reverse this stretching once it has occurred and the best thing to do is start new seeds. A weak seedling will never be a strong plant.
We wrote an in depth post here titled How to Grow the Perfect Seedling.
Can I grow my Tower Garden or start seedlings by a sunny window?
As a rule, NO you cannot grow your Tower or seedlings by a sunny window. Most modern windows will have a UV filter on them. What does a UV filter filter out? Yep, you got it, UV rays. The very same UV rays your plants need to absorb to grow into strong, healthy, productive crops that are more resistant to pests, fungus and diseases.
If it is a specially designed sunroom, you may have some success. However, it is important to remember that your Tower Garden is probably not going to receive sunlight all the way around, like it would outside. You are going to need to rotate it daily to get even sunlight all the way around if you want to a chance at Tower Garden success inside without grow lights, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
If your Tower Garden is inside by a window, or under a solid roof on a lanai, use the following method to calculate the amount of sun each plant is receiving. Take the number of hours of direct sunlight your Tower Garden is receiving and divide it by two. If the result is more than 5 you’ll be good to grow leafy greens lettuces and herbs. If the number is more than 8 you’ll be good to grow fruiting crops like beans, peas, peppers, squash and more.
Can I grow my Tower inside a screened room?
Possibly. Screens will give a certain amount of shade. On average, about 30%, but some can provide much more.
What if your screened room has a solid roof and sunlight only enters from the sides? Then only half of the Tower will be in direct sunlight at any one time, like I described above when talking about growing in front of a window.
So if your Tower receives only 6 hours sun on one side you really need to half that to get a better number for the amount of sun the plants will get on an average day.
It reaches 100+ where I live. Does the Tower Garden still need direct sunlight?
YES!!! Plants will not survive without UV light. There are a number of things you can do during the hot summer months. There are too many go to into detail here. Read our 10 Summer Time Growing Tips post to learn them all and have Tower Garden success in the hot summer months.
It goes without saying that if we were to go without food we would eventually starve to death. Our plants need food too, and in the Tower Garden that comes in the way of the Tower Tonic Mineral Blend.
Adding nutrients can sometimes confuse growers, but it really doesn’t have to. Click here to read a previous post we wrote on adding minerals, how much and when. This graphic explains it in a nice easy way!
Adding minerals at the right strength depending on the temperatures, will help ensure Tower Garden success!
Water is also CRUCIAL for life. Just as important can be the source of the water. This will determine any treatment it has been through and if you need to do anything with it before growing plants.
Cities add chlorine or chloramine to water to disinfect it, to kill germs. Why would we want to water our plants with it? If you search online you will find varying reports on whether chlorine or chloramine are detrimental to plants. However, in our experience it is, especially if it is hot.
We wrote an in depth post on various water sources and the pros and cons for each here. If in doubt, filter the chlorine out and you’ll be well on your way to Tower Garden success!
It’s best to keep your pH between 5.5 and 6.5. When your pH drifts out of this range your plants have a hard time taking up minerals and they will yellow. No minerals = no food = no growth.
Yellow plants can be an indication of a few different things. Read Yellow plants in my Tower. What happened? here.
Without electricity our pump doesn’t run and our plants are not watered. This one is a no brainer!
What can I do in a power outage?
You could also add a solar panel to lengthen the running time of the battery. We have used a deep cycle marine battery to run a couple of towers at events for two days without a problem. Remove the timer though as it uses more power every time it turns the pump on.
Wilting plants can be a result of a number of different factors. We break them all down in 10 Reasons your Tower Garden is wilting and how to stop it happening again here.
6. Check your Tower Garden Daily.
Be vigilant and check your Tower daily, looking for pests and diseases and sign of distress. Treating them at the first sign allows you to get and stay ahead of them, massively reducing the chances of it getting out of hand. You’ll never have Tower Garden success if a pest issues is left to fester for a week or longer.