If you’ve been growing your Tower Garden for a while, you have probably experienced this. If you are new, don’t feel left out, it will happen at some point. 🙂
No need to worry! With a process of elimination it’s easy to determine the cause and fix it relatively quickly. Read on to find what 9 things may be causing your plants to wilt.
If it’s happening to just one or two crops, it could be that they have become damaged by weather, disease or pests. If this is the case you will likely need to remove the plants and plant some new seeds or seedlings. If your whole Tower is affected then read on!
1. Check the Reservoir
Life happens, you run from one thing to the next and before you know it your reservoir is empty, pump is sucking air and your plants are wilted. If I had a dollar for how many times this has happened to my multiple Towers over the years, I could probably buy a new Tower Garden.
Fix it. Fill the reservoir with water an add the appropriate amount of nutrients, based on the size of the reservoir and the temperatures. Read this post for details.
By pass the timer, by plugging the pump directly into the outlet and run the Tower continuously until the next morning. Generally, the plants recover overnight when the temperatures are cooler. If by the morning some leaves are still wilted, carefully remove them with scissors or garden shears. This gives the plant the chance to focus on recovering, rather than trying to saves foliage that might be past the point of no return. If the plant has a lot of fruit, remove that too. When the plants have recovered, plug the pump back into the timer and the timer into the outlet.
Prevent it by get in in the habit of checking your reservoir levels often, especially during the summer months and when growing large fruiting crops. They drink a lot of water! Easier said than done, I know!
2. Check the Breaker
Although rare, the breaker may have tripped.
Fix it. Flip the breaker back to on. If the breaker trips again you may need to get it checked by a qualified electrician.
Prevent it by ensuring all cables are not damaged and plugs are not sitting in water.
3. Check the GFCI
If you’ve had rain lately the outlet or connections may have got wet and tripped the GFCI outlet. I’m not an electrician so I don’t know the reason why, but I have to also check the GFCI outlets in the bathroom.
Fix it. Reset the GFCI outlets.
Prevent it. Protect the external outlets with weatherproof covers. Don’t allow timers or plugs to sit where water puddles. Protect connections with weatherproof boxes and protect timers with these weatherproof boxes. If the GFCI continues to trip it could be the pump, timer or GFCI outlet that is the issue. You will need to eliminate each by trying them in different outlets and/or removing the timer temporarily. Running the pump continuously for a few says isn’t going to cause a problem.
4. Eliminate the Timer
Another rare, but possibly cause is the timer itself. Plug the pump straight into the outlet and run the pump alone. If the pump runs (and doesn’t flip the GFCI) then it would appear the timer is the cause.
Fix it.The Timer has a 1 year warranty. If you purchased your Tower Garden in the last year, contact Tower Garden on 866-235-0414. They will ship a replacement free of charge. If your timer is more than one year old you can purchase a replacement.
Prevent it. Sometimes electronics just go bad. Prolong the life of your timer by keeping it out of puddled water. Protect it in one of these weatherproof boxes.
5. Clean the Pump and Pump Filter
Over time, roots grow down into the reservoir and can get sucked into the pump. The pump may get clogged and stop working.
Fix it. Pumps prior to 2021 have a small mesh filter on them. Pumps since then do not. Remove the cover on the pump. You may need to wiggle the cover a little as you pull it. If your pump has a filter you’ll need to remove it. Once you have removed the cover (and filter) remove and roots that may have grown through the pump. Replace the filter (if you had one) and replace the cover.
Prevent it. When replacing the pump, use the suction cup feet to attach it near the edge of the reservoir and not in the middle. When placed in the middle, the roots from the plants drop down directly over the pump and are more likely to get sucked into the pump. Reduce the chance of roots getting sucked into the pump by removing the long roots. Just reach in, grab with your hands and pull off any roots that are hanging in the reservoir. There is NO NEED to use scissors and there is NO NEED to remove individual plants.
6. Check the Blue Hose
If you rotate the Tower Garden Reservoir lid to get light more evenly across the Tower, you may have unscrewed the hose. If you have lifted the reservoir lid you may have pulled the hose apart.
Fix it. Ensure the blue hose is still securely attached to the Tower Garden and the pump. If the blue hose is broken you can contact Tower Garden for a replacement. You can also find them at Lowe’s and Home Depot in the Irrigation department.
Prevent it. There is no need to rotate the Tower in the summer months. If you are rotating your Tower in the winter months, when the sun is lower in the sky, remember that you may be loosening the hose each time you rotate it. Get in the habit of checking this hose each week. If you are lifting the reservoir lid, do so carefully as you may break the hose if the suction feet are securely attached to the bottom of the reservoir.
7. Replace the Pump
If the pump isn’t working, despite checking the breaker, GFCI, removing the timer, cleaning the filter and checking the blue hose then it may be the pump itself.
Fix it. If your pump is under 1 year old, contact Tower Garden on 866-235-0414 and they will send a replacement free of charge. If your pump is more than 1 year old you can purchase a replacement.
Prevent it. Cleaning your pump and ensuring the impeller is clear of debris will prolong the life of your pump. I always recommend having an extra pump on hand. Even though your pump has a one year warranty, it will still take a few days to arrive. Purchase an additional pump here.
8. Did you Recently Refill Your Reservoir?
If you recently refilled your reservoir chlorine could be the problem. Chlorine, in small amounts should not be a problem. However, if your plants are not used to chlorine, it could be the straw that breaks the camels back, especially if you have other factors that cause stress too (high temps, high winds, high concentration of minerals). Over time, chlorine dissipates. How long it takes depends on the concentration of chlorine and it could take between 1 and 5 days. Chloramine does not dissipate and some municipalities are switching to chloramine. The only way to know what your municipality is adding is to call them and ask.
Fix it. As the chlorine dissipates the plants should improve. Leave the pump running continuously to help the chlorine dissipate faster. They should have improved by the next morning. If your temperatures are high it may take a day or two. It may be worth emptying the reservoir and refilling it with filtered water.
9. Did you Recently Add Minerals?
A common mistake I see is when it comes to adding minerals. You see, the mineral dosing is important. The hard work has been done for you and the brains behind the Tower have figured out the rate at which plants take up minerals and nutrients. More is not always better, especially when it comes to the Mineral Blend. However, when it’s hot, plants need more water but they don’t need more food. I see and hear about many Tower Gardeners who just add “a cup of each” weekly, no matter how much water they are adding. To start with, in cooler temperatures, this may not cause too many problems. But over time, especially as temperatures heat up, you can find the minerals get more and more concentrated in the reservoir. It’s not necessary, will cause problems and you will blast through minerals much faster than you should. We wrote a post here that goes into the details.
Fix it. Either empty some of the water and add water to dilute the minerals. In some cases it is just best to empty the reservoir and start over. It’s recommended that you do this about every 30-60 days anyway to avoid mineral lock.
Prevent it. The regular dose is 20ml of each A and B for every gallon of water. A FLEX holds 20 gallons so if you refilled a FLEX you would add 400ml of A and 400ml of B. The HOME holds 13 gallons so you would add 260ml of each A and B. As a general rule if the temperatures are over 80ish add minerals at half strength (10ml per gallon) and if over 90 add minerals at quarter strength (5ml per gallon).
10. Do You Have Too Many Extensions for the Pump?
The pump that comes with the Tower Garden is powerful enough for the Tower plus one extension. The standard pump is not powerful enough for 9 or more regular growing pots (or baby green equivalent).
Fix it. If you added two extension kits, you will need the high capacity pump.