What Is a Tower Garden and How Does It Work?


Are you interested in growing your own produce and getting the benefits of local, sustainable and nutrient rich fruits and vegetables at home? The Tower Garden vertical aeroponic system brings an easy to operate simple solution that can be used indoors or outside.

A Tower Gardens is a vertical standing aeroponic garden. You have the ability to grow a variety of different fruits and vegetables while using less water and space to grow.

A Tower Garden works by cycling water from the reservoir to the top of the tower where it showers down over the plant roots giving them the nutrients and oxygen they need to grow.

Tower Gardens are a simple to use system that takes most of the mystery out of growing your own fruits and vegetables at home. Below you will now learn how a Tower Garden works and the components that make up this low maintenance system.

Tower Garden Aeroponics System

What is Tower Garden Aeroponics?

The tower garden is a simple low pressure vertical aeroponic system that uses gravity to drop nutrient solution over the roots of the plants. This is a much easier system to operate and maintain than the more complicated high pressure aeroponic systems that atomizes the solution into a mist.

Aeroponics is a type of hydroponic gardening with the main difference being the housing of the roots and the way the nutrient solution is delivered to them.

Hydroponics: Plants grown in a hydroponic system spend most of their time with the root system covered with a water and nutrient solution until they are ready to be harvested. Oxygen is introduced into the water through an air stone or other methods of aeration.

Aeroponics: Plants that are grown using the aeroponic method spend the majority of their time with their roots suspended in air to absorb oxygen which accelerates their growth. The water and mineral solution is sprayed directly on the roots intermittently to provide them with the nutrients and moisture they require to grow strong and healthy.

Tower Garden Design

The Water Reservoir Base

The tower garden system is constructed using a large reservoir as the base which provides plenty of water capacity to feed the plants and recapture the water to recycle over and over.  This large base creates a stable platform for the planting tower offsetting the weight of the plants growing above it.

The Growing Sections

The plants live and are supported in the growing sections of the tower. These are a stacked column of UV stabilized food grade plastic rings each having 4 growing ports in each. The plants are secured in a rockwool cube placed in a net pot with their roots extending inside the tower sections.

The roots inside the growing sections are able to absorb the nutrients from the water and stay moist giving them the ideal environment to grow big and healthy.

The 2 Tower Garden Models

Tower Garden HOME

If you plan to grow indoors only you can opt for the Tower Garden HOME. It’s a sleek and stylish more compact version of the popular tower. The bottom reservoir has built in wheels which won’t scratch your floors and can easily be rotated or moved for convenience. 

The slimmer construction makes it easy to place in any indoor location in a more visually appealing form. Plants can be grown using the light from a widow or LED grow lights can be clipped on as needed.

Tower Garden FLEX

This Tower Garden adds flexibility as it can be used indoors and outdoors. If you wish to move your Tower Garden back and forth depending on the season, you will just need to purchase LEDs for the times you wish to bring it inside. You can grow up to 32 plants.

The dimensions of a tower garden vary between models with the smaller HOME base having a 24.5” diameter and the FLEX having a 30” diameter base at its widest point. The height of the tower starts at 43” but can extend up to 114” with additional tower sections added.

Tower Garden Lighting System

Using The Tower Garden Lighting System For Indoor Gardening

The amount of light your vertical garden needs will depend on the type of plants you place in your tower. Leafy greens require 6-8 hours of light per day while fruiting plants like peppers, tomatoes and strawberries require 12-14. This can be done with a combination of natural light from a window or greenhouse and LED indoor grow lights.

The Tower Garden grow lights are a set of 4 LED tubes with a built-in timer to control the amount of hours the lights are turned on. The lights attach to the top of the tower and are suspended around the plants to provide even and equal lighting to each plant.

When relying on the Tower Garden lighting system as the only source of lighting, it’s recommended to limit your garden to leafy greens, herbs and smaller non-fruiting plants. If your goal is to grow plants that fruit, you’ll need to provide higher power full spectrum LED lighting similar to that used by commercial growers.

How Much Work is a Tower Garden?

The Tower Garden makes working with a vertical aeroponic gardening system simple and straightforward. It requires very little maintenance after initial setup other than keeping the reservoir full, pruning your plants and harvesting your produce.

The system is designed to be semi automated using an automatic timer to control the operation of the water pump and the on and off cycle of the lights.

Unboxing Your Tower Garden

The Tower Garden is delivered to your doorstep neatly packed in one single box containing all you need to be a successful aeroponic gardener. The main components include:

Nutrient Reservoir: This is the base of your tower that will contain the mineral solution and water pump that keeps your plants fed.

Pump: The water pump delivers the mineral solution from the reservoir at base to the shower cap at the top of the tower allowing the water to rain down on the roots.

Tower Sections: Vertical stacking food grade and UV stabilized PVC sections that house the growing ports the plants are placed in.

Net Pots: Net pots secure the plant at its base in the rockwool cube while allowing the roots to grow into the tower and providing support for the plant to grow. 

Shower Cap: The shower cap is located at the top of the tower and disperses the nutrient solution through a series of holes down onto the plant roots to keep them moist and nourished.

Mineral Solution: A two part mixture of the different base minerals required to promote healthy plant growth and big yields.

Photo ID 168311827 | © Simona Pilolla | Dreamstime.com

What Vegetables Can Grow in a Tower Garden?

Vertical aeroponic growing in the Tower Garden allows you to have much of your everyday produce growing conveniently at home. The variety of plants that thrive in this system include:

  • Strawberries
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Kale 
  • Collard Greens
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage
  • Squash
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Chili Peppers
  • Watermelons

Some of the larger plants such as squash and watermelons will require a support structure to hold the heavy fruits while growing. A support cage is available with the tower system to help reduce the stress of the heavy produce on the plants and to help keep the tower balanced.

A study of many common vegetables and herbs by the University of Mississippi shows that aeroponics provides a 7% to 50% increase in plant yield with a comparable flavor, and antioxidant profile to plants grown in soil.

Check out our full article on the Plants That Can Be Grown In Aeroponics

Advantages of the Tower Garden

Fast and Easy Setup

The Tower Garden is designed to be fast and easy to assemble. The food grade plastic reservoir and growings sections fit securely together using two threaded rods that can be installed without tools. 

Installation of the pump is as simple as connecting a flexible hose from the pump outlet to the bottom growing section to send the water to the top of the tower. Suction cups hold the pump to the bottom of the reservoir and the power cord routes out the reservoir feed thru hole to the automatic timer.

The Tower Garden can be assembled in 20-30 minutes leaving it ready for water and starter plants to be added. If you do happen to come across any problems during your set up, there is a customer support line that is ready and waiting to guide you every step of the way.

Everything that comes with your Tower Garden

Everything is Included To Start Growing

There are no extra parts to buy to start your vertical gardening adventure. Everything needed to get you up and running is provided with the tower including:

Mineral Solution to provide the plants with the minerals that promote big healthy growth.

pH Test Kit to help create the optimal growing environment for your plants.

Seed Starter Kit including a variety of popular seed packs, a germination tray, 20 rock wool cubes, vermiculite, and net pots.

Electric Timer to control the on/off cycle of the water pump providing a hands free automated watering cycle.

Low Maintenance

Growing in a vertical aeroponic system eliminates the need for bending down, digging, weeding and tilling which are the most dreaded parts of gardening. Regular maintenance of your Tower Garden will require adding water and mineral solution when needed, testing the ph levels and pruning the plants.

The healthy growth of your plants is promoted by the complete balance of water and nutrients that the mineral blend in the tower provides. There is no need to apply other fertilizers, chemicals or pest control additives to the plants leaving you with fresh and healthy produce.

Convenient and Secure Food at Home 

Using an automated watering system that delivers the food and water to your plants frees up your time to do more important tasks than tending to your garden. This ensures they don’t dry out or get starved for food leaving them less stressed and focused on producing a perpetual harvest all year round. 

Having a reliable food source at home creates a self sufficient lifestyle that reduces stress and worry in times of hardship. The savings on your grocery bill gives you more money to spend on other day to day expenses or to stash away for a rainy day. 

The convenience of having fresh vegetables within arm’s reach is a benefit that few people enjoy. This also allows you to have confidence and peace of mind knowing your family’s food is healthy and safe.

Tower to my table produce

Sustainable Water Usage

Tower Gardens are able to reduce water usage by up to 98% compared to traditional soil based gardening. The tower constantly recycles water over and over allowing the plants to get all the water and nutrients they need with dramatically less wasteful evaporation. 

And because it’s a closed loop system there is very little evaporation or inefficiency in watering reducing waste and your water bill.

Faster Plant Growth

Studies show the aeroponic growing system helps plants to grow 3x faster compared to regular soil based gardening. Leafy green vegetables are ready to be harvested in 3-4 weeks while fruiting plants achieve faster and larger harvests as well.

Lower Plant Stress

When it comes to plant productivity, stress levels are everything. There are two types of stress your newly planted vegetables can suffer from:

Abiotic Stress: This type of stress comes from outside influences like the changes in the water or the constant changes in the temperature outside. Abiotic stress slows down the yields on your vegetables.

Biotic Stress: Biotic stress rarely happens with aeroponic gardening. Pests and diseases bring on this type of stress and the pests can spread to your other vegetables.

When growing indoors you can control the temperature and lighting around your tower easily. Outdoor conditions are more difficult to control but I’ve gotten great results both ways. 

The consistency of continuing to feed your plants the same mineral solution will cause less of either stress on your plants. Without abiotic or biotic stress on your plants, you will see higher and more consistent yields. 

Food Diversity

By utilizing all 20 or more growing ports on your Tower Garden, the variety of fresh vegetables and fruit is nearly limitless. Unlike traditional gardening or farming methods, it’s much easier to customize the varieties and number of plants you can have available to eat at any time.

With a Tower Garden, your bell peppers can grow right next to your cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuces in the same small area. You can even add in flowers, herbs and microgreens for extra diversity.

Tower Garden Aeroponics System

Small Footprint

The Tower Garden vertical aeroponic system has a 30” diameter base taking up less than 7 sqft while growing the equivalent of 20 sqft that would be required in a flat space. Growing indoors, on a balcony or in a small space benefits greatly from vertical gardening techniques. 

Carbon Neutral

Growing your own healthy fruit and vegetables year round at home reduces trips to the store for groceries and the use of plastic bags. There is also a reduction in fossil fuel use because your food doesn’t have to be fertilized with petroleum based chemicals, no tractors are required in the planting or harvesting and no trucks needed to drive hundreds of miles to deliver between the farms and market. 

As consumers of carbon dioxide, growing plants at home helps to offset your home’s carbon footprint and contributes to a healthier indoor air quality richer in oxygen.

Easy Harvesting

The thought of growing 20 or more plants in a Tower Garden may sound overwhelming, especially come harvest. However, harvesting is quite simple and unlike like traditional gardening many of the foods you grow will be perpetual harvesters reducing the torture of spending hours in the garden. 

Not only are your plants just a few steps away but they are also elevated off the ground making them easier to access. Planting your vining plants near the bottom will allow you prune them upward as they grow, placing the fruit at a convenient height to pick.

The healthiest and most nutritious option for harvesting your plants is to pick what you need when you need it. I go out to my towers an hour before meals to pick fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and peas for grilling, frying or just eating fresh. It’s not uncommon to visit the tower for a snack throughout the day either.

Scalable

Your Tower Garden has the ability to scale in multiple different ways, you can either grow up or add additional towers to the landscape to achieve the ultimate self sufficient source of fresh produce. 

Adding 2 additional growing sections will give you 8 more growing ports to double up on your favorite plants or to add more variety. Alternatively, the microgreen extension kit is designed for smaller faster growing nutrient dense greens that add flare and flavor to homemade meals.

The extension kits include all the materials needed to grow your extra plants including the net pots and rockwool cubes. Since the base tower comes with an assortment of different seeds you’ll have plenty of options for planting in your expanded garden.

Adding a second or third tower will bring your gardening to the family level providing nearly all the fresh produce a family requires year round. Eating directly from a living garden has been the best way to teach my children how plants grow and actually gets them excited about eating vegetables.

Tower Garden on my back deck

Where Can a Tower Garden Be Used?

Tower Gardens will thrive anywhere. If you choose to opt for the Tower Garden FLEX, it can be used indoors and outdoors. Place it outdoors where the sun will hit for a minimum of 5-6 hours, whether it be in the following areas, your plants will love the Vitamin C they are receiving:

  • Deck 
  • Patio
  • Backyard
  • Front Porch
  • Terrace

The optional Tower Garden Dolly will help you find the best location to place your garden whether you decide to move it on occasion or rotate it regularly to even out the sunlight exposure on all sides. As long as there is sunlight and access to electricity, the tower garden can grow there.

The plants you decide to grow will determine the mix of sun and shade exposure you want on the tower. You’ll likely want to play around with it’s position at first to find the location that suits your space and the tower best.

Tower Gardens in Public Spaces

There are definitely other places than a home or an apartment that a tower garden can be used:

Schools: Having a Tower Garden at school helps students understand the importance of agriculture, nutrition and learning what they are putting into their own bodies. It can also teach them about patients and putting in work to see great results.

Restaurants: Top chefs want to serve the freshest locally sourced vegetables, herbs and sprouts to serve their foodie customers. Tower Gardens can be placed at the back deck, on a rooftop patio or inside the restaurant with LED lights where they can be picked each day for maximum freshness.

Community Gardens: Community gardens often suffer with lack of space, poor soil and short growing seasons. Including Tower Gardens within the community helps with all of these limitations of traditional gardening. 

Farms: The indoor vertical farming industry has taken off in recent years due to the ability to control the environment and get more yield in a smaller footprint. The reduction in water usage and increased production increases the profitability of these businesses.

aeroponic tower garden growing vegetables and herbs
Photo ID 55792329 © Juliscalzi | Dreamstime.com

Tips For Tower Garden Growing

The tower functions best when placed on a flat and level surface, especially early on in the plant’s life. As the water trickles down from the top of the tower it flows over the roots. If the tower is leaning in one direction, plants on the opposite side may not get as much water as they need for proper growth.

The water in the reservoir needs to be available to the pump which delivers it to the top of the tower. If the pump is on the high side of a tower that is not level the pump may get exposed and start sucking air rather than water.

If growing in extreme heat your tower will experience more evaporation than normal. This will cause a reduction in the water level however the minerals will not evaporate with the water. In this situation it’s important to keep the reservoir topped up more often. I do this with an automatic timer that adds a little bit of water to the reservoir daily.

Tower Garden Mineral Solution A & B

What Is Tower Garden Mineral Solution?

Traditionally, plants absorb minerals like Iron, Magnesium, Zinc and Calcium from the soil they grow in. Depending on the soil and the growing region these minerals will be available in different quantities affecting the growth and production of the plants.

The Tower Garden Mineral Solution is a 2 part liquid nutrient that gets added to the water in the reservoir. It provides a balanced level of all the minerals that plants need to grow healthy and strong. When we eat the plants these minerals transfer to us providing our bodies with the minerals we need for a healthy body and strong immune system.

The mineral solution washes over the plant’s roots and, with the assistance of the oxygen surrounding them, delivers nutrients in an easy to absorb format. The simple to follow mixing directions make it easy to keep the reservoir’s nutrient levels at the best ratio for your plants.

Conclusion

The Tower Garden aeroponics system is the ultimate Farm-To-Table solution for anyone interested in growing their own food at home. You will be helping to lower your carbon footprint, reduce water usage, and have healthier more nutritious fruit and vegetables for you and your family. 

The Tower Garden vertical aeroponic system gives home gardeners the advantages of high tech gardening in a simple and fun to use format. It saves you time, energy and money and space to concentrate on the things you enjoy doing most.

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