For many years now, I have researched hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics systems. I worked with one hydroponic system that was horizontal and mainly used to grow tomatoes. It was fantastic except two things, mobility and nutrients. I like something mobile so I can move it around depending on sun location and weather. Also, I don’t prefer purchasing nutrients but organic nutrients like compost tea break down too quickly to use in these systems without mineral supplements. I kept thinking I would build my own and just never got around to it.
Earlier this year, I discovered this system called a Tower Garden and I can’t tell you how much I love it! I also liked this company’s solution to nutrients; they use earth minerals, with the 16 major macro and trace elements that plants require. Oh don’t think I’m not going to play around with this but in general, this solution seems to be the best of what I have seen so far. Most liquid fertilizers use ammoniacal nitrogen but this nutrient contains nitrate nitrogen. Conventional growing often uses ammoniacal nitrogen to force quicker growth. The problem with plants growing so quickly is they have a weaker cell structure and that makes the plant more susceptible to pests and diseases. Nitrate nitrogen keeps the plant healthier and required calcium levels higher. As my good friend Elsa would say, “This pleases me!”.
Talk about easy, it doesn’t get any easier than this! The plants are so healthy, I only have to check the water level once a week and on average so far, I add about 2 gallons per week with nutrient solution. Then, the whole 20 gallons of water has to be changed out once per month. I take the used solution and fertilize the soil garden with it!
On January 26, 2013, I assembled my tower garden. I had a few seedlings of dill and lettuce already and I just washed off the dirt and put them in the tower. Some plants I started from seed. At first, I started the seeds in little trays but since our home has UV windows, the plants grew leggy and some died. So, I decided to plant the seeds directly in the pods on the tower. They all germinated and are growing very well.
Here’s what the tower looked like when I started:
Here’s what it looks like 35 days later:
I think I want about 5 more of these things so I can experiment with each one. While I still grow many fruits and veggies in the soil, what a fabulous alternative this lovely Tower Garden is! Look for updates as growing progresses!