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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.