As more and more people move towards natural foods, the popularity of growing food at home is increasing. There's a new self-contained gardening system on the market called the Tower Garden. It's similar to a vertical garden but has a few other options, which we'll look at below. The Tower Garden can make it possible to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs regardless of your location. In this article, we're going to talk about 4 of the best products, as well as some things you should know about the Tower Garden.
What is a Tower Garden?
In short, the Tower Garden is a tower where you can grow your plants. It's made of food-grade plastic that has been stabilized by UV and is guaranteed to be BPA free. Depending on the exact product you buy, the tower can hold 20, 84, or 336 plants. After setting up, all you have to do is soak the rockwool, put the seeds in, then put them in their own compartments. Many people wonder where the soil goes, but this gardening system actually doesn't use any!
Before moving on, it's important to talk about what rockwool is and how it works. Rockwool is a material that's made out of minerals and is usually used as a top of insulation, filtration, or soundproofing. With the Tower Garden, rockwool is used like soil in traditional gardens. Not only is this material extremely absorbent, but it keeps the nutrients in and the plants from becoming unstable. Keep in mind, rockwool might be a potential hazard, so make sure you're careful when handling and try to avoid inhaling any of the small particles.
Why is a Tower Garden the Best Option?
Unlike a hydroponic garden that needs gravel, soil, or water, and air plants that suck the moisture out of the air, the Tower Garden doesn't need any of these things to grow high-quality plants. With this product, the roots of the plants are kept in a dark, enclosed space and the water and nutrients stay absorbed in the rockwool, which means the plants have a constant supply. This particular setup makes it so you can grow pretty much mess-free and don't have to deal with stuff like soil, worms, or smelly fertilizer.
Keep in mind, you'll need to make sure you're adding minerals every 2-3 weeks to keep your plants healthy and growing. The good thing is that the Tower Garden comes with enough minerals to get you started and you shouldn't have to buy more right away. You'll also want to remember that you'll need some kind of light setup if you plan on growing inside your home or other location that's indoors.
Before moving to the best products, we also wanted to touch on the fact that there are financing plans available. Most will let you a certain amount every month for 1 year. This is available for all sizes, so you don't have to worry about not having the option if you choose a smaller unit.
4 Best Tower Garden Products
1. Tower Garden Growing System
This product is the original vertical Tower Garden system and was created for use at home. Not only is it made from food-grade plastic, but it's certified to be free of all BPAs. In addition, this FDA-approved product was purposely created to be opaque to try and cut down on algae growth. In simple terms, all of this means anything you grow in the tower is safe to eat.
It has 20 different pockets, which can hold many different types of fruits and vegetables. Not only can you get this unit completely set up in 30-60 minutes, but everything you need to start planting is included in the package. You'll need to soak the 20 blocks of rockwool in water for around 30 minutes. Once it's ready, you put your seeds in and place the pod in the tower and follow the directions to ensure they grow as they should.
The tower itself holds around 20 gallons of water, which means you won't have to worry about watering them every day. You'll need to add the included minerals and continuously test the pH to ensure it's at the right levels. Keep in mind, you'll need to buy more minerals as time goes on. Another thing to remember is to be careful when handling rockwool and try not to inhale any of the particles.
2. Tower Garden Family Garden
This product is great for larger families looking to enjoy more home-grown foods. With that said, though, going higher with vertical gardens might not be a good choice. With this option, you get 3 systems, which works great for those with more horizontal space than vertical. In addition, it includes many extras to make things easier and more convenient.
The three towers give you 60 spots for plants and the 3 included extension kits will bring that total up to 84. Keep in mind, you won't get much variety in the included seeds, so you'll need to buy more. They work the same way as the product before this and comes with a support cage to ensure your plants stay upright. Another thing to remember is that you don't have to have a big family to get one of these. If you want to grow in bulk, then this is a great option.
3. Tower Garden Community Garden
While the previous products are great for use at home, they don't really work well when you have an entire community that needs food. The great thing is that this product comes with everything you need to start growing for a large number of people. Keep in mind, this tower was made to work together, so you can't break it up or give one of the towers to someone else. You need to have all of the towers for your plants to grow correctly.
The package comes with many different options for setting up the unit to help make it so the unit works together and you don't have to have 12 different timers. While you won't get any seeds with this package, you can buy some from pretty much any store. You can have a variety of different fruits, vegetables, and herbs growing at one time. Even though the price for this is quite high, it's a great investment for your community and you'll be using your own food in no time.
4. Tower Garden 2
If you're looking for a Tower Garden that has more spots than the original tower but not as many as the family system, then this is the perfect solution. One of the great things about this product is that it rotates, which means every plant will get an equal amount of sunlight. You also have the option of turning your kitchen leftovers into fertilizer, but it's not required.
It's made of food-grade plastic and is certified to be free of all BPAs. Since it's only 43" tall and 24.5" wide, it can fit in almost any spot. Not only do you not have to worry about any messes, but you also only have to add soil every 2-3 weeks and the rockwool doesn't need to be soaked very often. If you're looking for something that will let you grow many plants at once, while also composting waste, then this is a great product option. See our full Garden Tower 2 review.
Important Things to Know
If you keep reading, you'll see some of the important things you should know before purchasing the Tower Garden. These things are relatively easy to remember, but we wanted to group them together so they were more organized and concise. Keep in mind, these are only a few of the things and you want to do plenty of research before deciding to purchase a Tower Garden.
Rockwool Soaking Time
You'll need to make sure you're soaking the rockwool for the specified amount of time. Some say they work after just 30 minutes, while others will say they need to soak for at least 24 hours. Before starting to soak the cubes, you'll want to make sure that the water is lukewarm. It's not absolutely necessary, but it can make the absorption process faster. You'll also want to make sure you add plenty of water.
Once you have your water, you'll want to either put the rockwool in or pour the water directly over them. After they've been soaking for enough time, you can take them out of the extra water and start placing your seeds. When you're done doing that, you can go ahead and put the rockwool in the tower.
Another thing you'll need to know is that you'll want to try and keep the pH in the correct range. If possible, you'll want to keep the pH around 5.5. Not only can a pH under 5.0 damage your plants, but it can make the rockwool fall apart. If this happens, your plants may become unstable and stop growing.
Most packages will come with pH testers and balancing kits. The first thing you'll do is take one of the strips and test the pH. If it's above or below 5.5, then you'll need to adjust it. Take one of the balancers and pour a few drops into the rockwool. Give it time to soak through, then test again. If the numbers still aren't where they need to be, you'll need to do more adjustments.
The next thing you should know is that you'll need to add nutrients or minerals over time. You should do this every 2-3 weeks and make sure you're adding the correct amount. Adding too much could cause your plants to completely burn, while not adding enough could hinder how much your plants grow.
Usually, one gallon of the solution should last around 9-12 months. The first thing you'll do is calculate the amount of solution. You'll want to take into account what the tower size is and what you're planting. Some plants will need more nutrients, while others will need a small amount. After calculating, you'll want to pour the solution into a measuring cup and pour it right over the top of the rockwool.
You'll also want to make sure your plants get plenty of sunlight. This shouldn't be a big problem if you live somewhere with a porch or patio, but those that live in areas without one of these will need to get grow lights to mimic sunlight. There are many different options for grow lights, but you want to make sure you don't keep them on for too long because they can burn the plants.
If you have an area outside to give your plants sunlight, you'll want to take them out in the early afternoon and leave them for the recommended amount of time. On the other hand, those that are growing inside will need to have a light cycle that's on a certain amount of time and off a certain amount of time. Remember, different types of plants need different amounts of sunlight.
Finally, you'll want to consider the amount of space you'll need. If you live in an area that has a very limited amount of space, then the single towers are a great option. For those with more space, you might find that you benefit more from the family or community systems. You'll want to consider both height and width lengths to make sure it will fit.
To figure out which size fits the spot best, you'll want to take some measurements. First, measure from the floor to the ceiling. This will tell you the maximum height you can go. Next, measure from side to side. This will tell you the maximum width you can accommodate. You'll be fine as long as you get a product that's beneath those numbers.
There are several other accessories that you'll need to purchase to use with the Tower Garden. Not only can these increase the quality and output of your plants, but they can make the growing process easier and more convenient.
Indoor LED Grow Lights
If you'll be growing your plants inside, then growing lights are essential. While you can get normal lights, you can get better results by using an LED grow light. The Tower Garden is made to specifically work with LED lights, so they are your best bet. You can get ones that hang above the tower or ones that hook on and go on each side. If you choose to use the ones that go on each side, you can be sure that your plants are getting an equal amount of sunlight. Keep in mind, you'll need to have the tower close to an outlet, so you can have a power supply.
You'll also need to get some kind of nutrient or mineral solution that can be easily added to your tower. When you first buy your system, the box will include some solution to get you started. Most of the time, 1 gallon of solution will last between 9 and 12 months. The blend you choose should have plenty of nitrogen, calcium, manganese, phosphate, copper, and other minerals. It's important to give this solution to your plants every 2-3 weeks. Make sure you're adding the correct amount and remember that some plants will need more nutrients than other plants need.
If you're planning on growing plants like squash or tomatoes, then it's a good idea to get a cage. This goes around the Tower Garden and can help give your plants a little more support. They are usually made from the same food-grade plastic as the tower itself. You won't have to install this until your plants start to get a little bigger, but you can if you choose to. The cage should be relatively easy to set up and all you have to do is clip it into place. It'll be sturdy and hold your plants up well. When you're ready to take the cage back off, all you do is push on the bottom to release the clips.
If you're one of those people that have filled up all of the spaces on the tower but want to plant more seeds, then the extension kit is great for you. Some of the bigger systems will come with these kits, but you can purchase them separately if you have a smaller unit. Each kit gives you an additional 8 spots and you can use the extension with the actual system. You'll want to make sure you plant your seeds and get your extension set-up the same way as the tower. This will help ensure things work together and grow at the same pace. If this isn't possible, you'll want to put them as close as possible.
Tower Garden Dolly
A dolly for the Tower Garden can be a huge help for those that will be moving the plants between the indoors and outdoors. These garden systems can be hundreds of pounds, so it isn't really feasible to move them by hand every day. If you're planning on doing a lot of moving, then you should get the dolly when you get the gardening system. You'll put the system on the dolly, then get everything set up. Once you're ready to move the unit, all you have to do is grab the side and push. Keep in mind, you might want to keep it in an area with hard floors because the wheels can get caught up in the carpet.
Another accessory that you can get is a timer. Since every system includes a timer, it's not something that you'll need to get right away unless you plan on having extensions that aren't hooked to the original system. You'll hook the timer to the system and you can set it to water your garden at certain cycles. You could also get an extra timer that isn't hooked into the system to help keep track of the light cycle. Since your plants will need very specific water and light cycles, you want to use these timers as much as possible.
Microgreens Extension Kit
If you're looking to grow miniature greens in addition to your other vegetables, then a microgreens extension kit could be very beneficial. The seeds you plant in this extension system will produce plants about 3-4 inches tall. This is perfect for growing things like baby spinach or kale. The small kit allows you to grow 32 plants at once and you can grow even more if you use multiple extension kits. The awesome thing is that you can put this right on top of the Tower Garden and both systems will work together. If you don't really have a lot of space to grow and want a nice variety of plants, then this extension is a great option.
As you can see, the Tower Garden has some great products and accessories available. If you're looking to grow your own vegetables, fruits, or herbs, but don't really live in the right area, then this would be a great product. You won't have to worry about messes and you'll be able to grow delicious and natural foods. If you're still unsure, read some more reviews and real-life user experiences.