Tower Garden Maintenance

One of the reasons so many people love growing a Tower Garden is because there is so little maintenance. There’s no weeding, digging or tilling. It’ll take about 15 minutes per week to maintain a Tower Garden.

So, what do you need to do and when?

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 should take a minute or two, tops!

Look for holes in the leaves, bugs on the underside of leaves and little black dots, which could be worm poop. There’s no need to treat for bugs if you’re not seeing any. Applying pesticides more often than recommended will do more harm than good. If your tower is outside, you can spray it down with water straight from the hose. Use enough pressure from the spray gun to dislodge any pests, but not to damage the plants.

Also look for changes in the colors of the leaves. Yellow leaves can be an indication of fungus, disease, incorrect pH, or normal aging of the leaves. If your leaves are yellow but you’re not sure why, read this post on yellowing leaves.

In a nutshell, if you are growing inside or outside, be vigilant and treat when necessary.

Twice a Week

Check water level

It is important to get into the habit of checking your water regularly. At first 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. Ensure you are not adding too much nutrients! It’s a common mistake and causes more harm than good. Read about that here. Your plants and your wallet will thank you!

Now these are just guidelines. If you are growing a lot of large, heavy feeders, you will probably have to check it and add water more frequently. Possibly everyday!

Check pH

The pH is important for one reason and one reason only. Nutrient uptake. 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. This range hits the optimal pH for most crops. If your leaves start to yellow, the pH is likely outside of this range. Check this post for other causes and resolutions.

The Tower Tonic Mineral Blend you add to your reservoir is acidic. When the plants consume these acidic nutrients, the pH will naturally rise. If your pH is dropping, the nutrient solution may be to concentrated.

If you’re checking your pH a couple of times a week and you’re finding it isn’t changing much, go a few extra days before checking it again. You’ll start to figure out how your pH is affected and how often you need to check it. Personally, I’ve had to adjust the pH in my multiple home towers just a couple of times a year. Others are adjusting theirs a couple of times a week. It all depends on your water source and the crops that you are growing.

Be sure to check it AFTER you have added your minerals, not before. The minerals are acidic so they will lower the pH.

Weekly

Give it a clean

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 Garden. 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’ve 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, the roots can grow through the pump and filter, restricting the water flow. This could eventually burn out your pump! This can be prevented by cleaning the pump and filter (if your pump has one) regularly, placing the pump at the side of the tub rather than the center and by trimming the roots. We talk about that below! I’ve heard of some growers putting their pump in a pantyhose, as an added filter. It’s not something I’ve done but it isn’t going to hurt!

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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