Tower Garden Maintenance

If you’ve ever heard me talk about the Tower Garden you’ll have heard me say “It’s the easiest garden on earth!”  I’m being honest, it really is.  There’s no weeding, digging or tilling and just a small amount of maintenance needs to be performed each week to keep your produce nutritious, delicious, strong and healthy.  Just like when we eat healthy foods we are less likely to be sick, the same applies to our vegetables.  They are more resistant to disease and pests.  WINNER!

Your maintenance each week is going to take you no more than 15 minutes per Tower. Yep, LESS THAN 15 minutes per Tower. So what maintenance is involved?

Daily

Check for pests and diseases.

It is far easier to deal with a few bugs than it is to deal with a massive infestation! By remaining vigilant and giving your tower the quick once over each day you’ll stay ahead of the game. This quick once over should take you less than a minute.  Look for holes in the leaves, bugs on the underside of leaves and little bit of black stuff which could well be worm poop. Also look for changes in the colors of the leaves.  This could indicate a fungus, disease, or simply incorrect pH or normal browning and aging of the leaves.  There is NO NEED to spray as a preventative method.  Just be vigilant.

Twice a Week

Check water level

It is important to get into the habit of checking your water regularly.  When you first start your Tower with seedlings you will use just a couple of gallons a week.  As the plants get bigger and the temperatures heat up you will start to go through more.  Read this article on adding nutrients so that you don’t end up throwing money away in the summer months!

These are just guidelines. If you are growing a lot of large heavy feeders you will probably have to check it more frequently. Possibly everyday!

Check pH

The pH is important for one reason and one reason only.  When the pH goes out of the ideal range the plants are unable to take up nutrients.  Keep your pH between 5.5 and 6.5.  If it drifts outside of this range the first thing you will notice is that your leaves start to yellow.  Now if you check your pH a couple of times a week and it hasn’t changed then go a few extra days before checking it again.  You’ll start to figure out how your water reacts, or doesn’t, to your conditions.  I have personally had to adjust the pH in my towers just a dozen times in over a year.  Others are adjusting theirs a couple of times a week.  One more thing regarding pH.  Be sure to check it AFTER, not before, you have added your minerals.  The minerals are acidic so they will lower the pH slightly.

Again, if you are adding water multiple times a week you will need to check you pH each time you add water. If it doesn’t change much, increase the number of days between each pH test.

Give it a clean

Just once a week use an old scrub sponge, toothbrush or other small scrub brush to remove any algae, mineral build up or foliage from the Tower.  It will take just a minute or so if done regularly and will reduce the risk of it staining.

Monthly

Clean the filter

I’m sure you heard the saying “don’t do as I do, do as I tell you”.  Cleaning the filter is a perfect example of that!

As you can see to the right, the roots can grow through the filter, restricting the water flow and this could eventually burn your pump out, and I promise you, you don’t want that happening!  This can be prevented by cleaning the filter regularly, placing the pump at the side of the tub rather than the center and by trimming the roots.  We talk about that below!

Roots growing through the pump filter

Trim the Roots

Remove the access lid, reach in and pull the roots.  WARNING!  There is an electric cable and a blue hose in the reservoir too.  Be 100% sure that you have neither of these in your hand if you are going in with scissors.  You could have a huge bundle of roots in your hand so don’t go chopping willy nilly.  Trim (or simply pull them) them at a level close to the water line if full.  There is NO NEED, I repeat NO NEED to remove each individual plant and trim the roots of each one.  This will cause stress and worst case, you could lose the plant.

 

So that is it!  Easy right?  Now quick, go out and give your Tower a quick once over.  You’ll be glad you did.

Tower Garden Maintenance

11 Thoughts on “Tower Garden Maintenance. What, when and why?”

  • I have 2 towers going and I have to add at least 5 gallons of water daily to keep the water level up. I never dreamed they would take so much water! Check the ph every other day!

    • If you are growing a lot of large plants that are producing fruit you will grow through a lot of water. Checking the pH twice a week is the recommended schedule. If you added water more often then check it then too. If you check it and it is in range most of the time then check it a little less often.

  • I was adding about 5gallons of water daily. In the past two weeks, I removed a huge cucumber plant and since then have only needed to add 1gallon every 3-4 days. I use half strength nutrients because the temperature is 90+, but some plants are slightly yellow. The pH is fine and no diseased plants. Should I still use half strength fertilizer when there is little evaporation?

  • I can’t get away with half strength even in FL. My plants do not get enough nutrients. Other Tower Gardens owners have expressed the same thing to me. We have lost plants because of cutting back to half strength even in Summer.

    • That’s odd. Too few nutrients will not kill plants. Too many will. I added nutrients at full strength a few weeks ago in error. I almost lost everything in that tower.

      Just like us in the summer, we need more water but we don’t have a higher caloric need. The plants are the same. In the summer the water evaporates at a higher rate, the plants use more water so we have to replace it more often. Plus, they will only take up what they can. By adding to much you are not super charging them and tend to be throwing money away. Half or even quarter strength is fine in the summer. I really think something else was the problem. How often were you emptying the reservoir?

  • I’m a new owner of the tower garden and I’m loving it. However, I’m not loving the fish tank smell which is caused by algae, I assume. I currently have it indoors since the weather here in Chicago is still quit cool. Once the weather is more stable it will be placed outdoors. My question is, is it normal to have algae growth and for the tower to smell like a fish tank? I have made sure all holes are covered and that there is no light getting into the tower. As mentioned “I assume” this is algae. It’s not green but a brown rust color. How do you clean the tower itself inside from this? I have cleaned and changed the water in the reservoir but the tower itself still has this rust color in it.

    • Hmmm, there really shouldn’t be a fish tank smell. If you have a fish tank smell I would recommend emptying the reservoir and filling it with fresh water and nutrients.

  • I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed to get the residue off the plastic! I’ve even let it soak for a week! It’s not coming off! Please help with any suggestions!
    Thank you!

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