pH and Your Tower Garden

How does pH Affect Your Tower Garden Plants?

How pH affects plants Tower Garden

pH stands for Potential Hydrogen. It’s a measurement used for growing in both soil and soil-less gardening. A balanced pH for water is 7. Anything below 7 is acidic and anything above is alkaline. Most plants do best with a slightly acidic pH of 6, but anywhere between 5 and 7 is good for most plants in your Tower Garden.

A balanced pH helps plants to take up the nutrients in the water. If the pH isn’t correct plants won’t be able to use the Mineral Blend (nutrient) you put in your Tower Garden. Plants won’t wither and die overnight if the pH isn’t correct. The affects will be gradual. Growth will slow. Leaves might wither over time and you might get brown spots on the leaves.

What to do if pH isn’t correct?

If you see that your plants aren’t doing well, check the pH. If it isn’t correct, then adjust it as soon as you can. See Weekly Maintenance of the Tower Garden for how to adjust your pH. Once the pH is correct, snip off leaves that don’t look good. New, healthy leaves should grow back. If incorrect pH goes on for too long, the plants won’t recover. You’ll need to clean out your Tower Garden and start over with new plants.

For more on the importance of pH in plants, here’s a good article. (External link).

TGardener Logo Tower Garden Curriculum Supplies

If you need Tower Garden supplies and don’t have a distributor you can order rockwool, mineral blend, Tower Gardens, and more from my website at skoontz.towergarden.com. If you need help, email me at steve@tgardener.com. I’ve been supporting teachers and individuals who use Tower Gardens since 2015.

Looking for Tower Garden curriculum?

Tower Garden Basic Seed Starting Procedure for Schools

Download the PDF version of Tower Garden Seed Starting Procedure.

Looking for Tower Garden Curriculum?

This seed starting procedure has been adapted for the classroom from a procedure shared by Joe of level2concepts.com. It’s a little different than what’s in the Tower Garden manual, but works well in a classroom. This procedure works best growing herbs like basil, and lettuces like arugula, red salad bowl, buttercrunch, pak choi, and black seeded simpson.  For the full procedure to use with other crops, visit www.tgardener.com/seedstarting.

If you need supplies and don’t have a distributor you can order rockwool, mineral blend, and more from my website at skoontz.towergarden.com. If you need help, or are interested in purchasing a Tower Garden, email me at steve@tgardener.com. I’ve been supporting teachers who use Tower Gardens since 2015.

Soak the rockwool in pH adjusted water

Soak the rockwool for 30 minutes in pH adjusted water. (5.5-7.0)

Use the pH test kit that comes with the Tower Garden. Put 5 ml of water in the vlal and add 5 drops of the solution.  Compare the color with the colored dots on the test paper. For a small amount of water ,like the apple juice container in the picture, use just a few ml of the pH – or pH + at a time to adjust the pH. Don’t stress out if you can’t get the pH exactly right.  Most plants will do fine if the pH is close.

Drain the water from the container

After 30 minutes, drain the water from the container.

 

Pour some seeds into your hand

Pour some seeds into your hand

 

Drop 6-10 seeds into the hole.

 

Pour seeds on 3X5 cards for little students to plant

Pour seeds on 3X5 cards for little students to plant

Give each student a rockwool cube and pour out several seeds onto 3X5 cards. The students can count out seeds and place them in the hole in the rockwool.

Add about 1/4″ of water to the bottom of the tray. You want the rockwool to stay damp until the next day.

Cover the container so that all the seeds are in the dark. (A file folder works well for this.) Place container on a counter or in a cabinet.

Check each morning and evening (or when school is out) for sprouts. Replace the water each day. Most lettuce will only take two days to sprout.

When seeds have sprouted you’ll see white fuzz on the seeds.

It’s important to uncover the seeds when they sprout and place them on the Tower Garden base and turn on the lights.

Replace the water each day with 1/4 inch of water.

After about a week, seedlings should look like this and are ready to place in the Tower Garden.

This basic procedure will produce fairly good lettuce for classroom use.  If you’d like to grow better plants, visit www.tgardener.com/seedstarting  for a more involved process.

Insects on the Tower Garden

Keep Insects Tower Garden

Don’t Panic!

Oh no! You’ve discovered little monsters all over your indoor Tower Garden. Before you panic, take a deep breath, and relax for a minute, it’s going to be OK. First let’s try to figure out how the insects got there before you try to eradicate them. Here’s a handy checklist.

Are there any soil plants within 20 feet of your Tower Garden?

I know the potted begonia you brought in to keep it from freezing will love the Tower Garden lights, but once the soil warms up, out will come the insects.

Did you purchase seedlings from a grower?

Growers grow a lot of plants and it can be difficult in a greenhouse to not have insects. Try starting seedlings yourself. It’s not that difficult if you follow this seed starting procedure.

Did you start your plants from seeds yourself?

If you started your seedlings yourself and didn’t follow this seed starting procedure, I’m guessing you didn’t replace the water daily. Insects can lurk in stagnant water.

Did you keep the sides of the Tower Garden clean?

Whenever you harvest, clean the sides of the Tower Garden with a wet rag. It’ll help keep insects away.

Were your plants growing well?

Insects will attack weak plants. If a plant looks bad it probably won’t recover. Pull it and start over.

Did you clean the netpots or growing clips between planting

It’s a good idea to soak your netpots and growing clips in a mixture of 1 cup vinegar to 1/2 gallon of warm water.

Are you trying to grow tomatoes indoors?

The longer a plant is in the Tower Garden the more chance you’ll have insects. If you consistently have trouble with insects on a certain crop, you might need to switch crops. Some crops are more susceptible to insects than others.

What to do next?

You’ve figured out how the bugs got there, next is how to get rid of them. Tower Garden has a great post with ideas for getting rid of insects. Scroll past the beneficial bugs and try the insecticidal recipes first, especially if you’re growing indoors. If these ideas don’t work, I’m afraid you’ll have to pull the plants, thoroughly clean your Tower Garden, and replant.

Are you a teacher looking for Tower Garden curriculum?

If you’re in need of Tower Garden supplies, contact your distributor. If you don’t have a distributor, supplies can be ordered from skoontz.towergarden.com/shop.

Weekly Maintenance of the Tower Garden

Tower Garden Maintenance

The weekly maintenance for indoor growing is usually very consistent  The water level drops about the same amount each week.

A regular outdoor watering can works well as it takes about 1 watering can per week to refill the tub.  Don’t use softened water or very hard water.

Once the water is added, measure out 50 ml of Tower Tonic A and 50 ml of Tower Tonic B for every full watering can poured into the Tower Garden. Add the Tower Tonic separately.  (Don’t mix them)

Use the pH test kit to test the pH of the water in the tub. Put 5 ml of water from the Tower Garden into the vial. Drip 5 drops of the solution into the vial and compare the color with the test strip. The pH should be within 5.5 and 6.5. Use about 10 ml of the pH Up or pH Down as needed to bring the pH to the correct number. (Further Instructions come with the test kit.)

Learn more about the importance of pH in your Tower Garden plants.

Tower Garden Frequently Asked Questions

If you need Tower Garden supplies and don’t have a distributor you can order rockwool, mineral blend, Tower Gardens, and more from my website at skoontz.towergarden.com. If you need help, email me at steve@tgardener.com. I’ve been supporting teachers and individuals who use Tower Gardens since 2015.

Tower Garden Setup

Here are videos from the Tower Garden company to help you setup your Tower Garden for the first time.

This video covers adding water, nutrient solution, and setting the timer.

Since I mostly grow indoors, I use a 2 gallon watering can instead of a garden hose. The video will tell you to set the timer at 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. For indoor growing, this should be 15 minutes on, 45 minutes off because the rockwool won’t dry out as much indoors as it will outdoors. If you have a pump with an ‘I’ or ‘O’ setting, use the ‘I’ setting for indoor growing.

Pin It on Pinterest