What is A Tower Garden?

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Gardening is a passion for many people. Often, those who are elderly will take up gardening as a hobby. It has been said that the average age of the beginning gardener is around 40 years old. 

But what if those who love gardening live in a small apartment or townhome without the yard space to have a garden? Well, A vertical tower garden may be just the solution. These gardens are, as they say, “vertical” and can easily fit in a corner, or you can place it outdoors on a small patio.

What is a Vertical Tower Garden?

A vertical tower garden is any vertical pattern of objects/containers that uses an upright growth to make the most of any growing space. Most vertical tower gardens will use an Aeroponic or a Hydroponic growing system to feed and water the plants. Some gardeners may choose to use a simple mix of quality soil and manual watering every 2-3 weeks.

Aeroponic System

This system is a method of growing plants without soil. Instead, the roots are suspended in the air and irrigated with a nutrient mist. The roots have greater access to oxygen, which results in a healthier plant.

Hydroponic System

Hydroponics is a type of horticulture, a subset of hydroculture that involves growing plants without soil and using mineral nutrient solutions instead.

Both hydroponic and aeroponic systems are great options to bring indoors for plant growth; many mass gardeners even use these types of systems to produce their crops. However, you do not need a giant system for this to work in your home. All you need is a vertical countertop-sized hydroponic garden and the plants you choose to grow. Most plants that can be grown in average soil can also be grown in a hydroponic garden.

Vertical gardens come in many shapes and sizes. When they think of a vertical tower, most people think of just that; a vertical pole with plants coming out of the sides.  However, vertical garden towers can entail any type of potting material that uses an upright growth pattern. A vertical growth pattern can include anything from pots hanging on a wall to staggered pots going upward in a staircase fashion.

This article will focus on the typical vertical pole with a soil mixture inside. Now, it is possible to save time, but not necessarily money, and go out to buy a pre-made vertical gardening system, or the system can be built as a Do-It-Yourself project. This project is your simple assembly of just a PVC pipe and soil.

How to Make a Vertical Tower Garden:

You will need:

  • PVC pipe – 6-to-8-inch diameter by 4 ft. long
  • PVC pipe – 1½-to-2-inch diameter by 4 ft. long
  • Cordless or electric drill
  • 1-1/2 inch Hole saw for drill
  • ¼ inch Drill bit
  • 5 Gallon Bucket or Pot
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Potting Soil
  • 16 Pieces of Recycled Cardboard, roughly 2-inch square
  • 17 seedlings of lettuce and mixed greens

How to assemble the Vertical Garden Tower

  1. First, Mark four evenly spaced lines vertically down the large pipe. These will serve as guides for the holes you’ll drill.

2. Measure 12 inches from one end and mark a line around the circumference of the pipe. For reference, mark this end of the pipe “DOWN” so you’ll remember that this end should go down into the soil when assembling your tower.

3. Using the hole saw, drill one hole where a vertical line intersects with a horizontal line. Now drill a second hole directly opposite at the vertical and horizontal line intersection. (Mind you, these holes do not have to be perfectly aligned; just get them in the ballpark.)

4. Drill three more holes along the same vertical lines, leaving about 10 inches between holes. You now have two lines of four drilled holes.

5. Drill three holes on each of the remaining vertical lines, offsetting each new hole so that it’s placed diagonally from those adjacent to it, making an alternating pattern

6. To use in the garden: Use a shovel to dig a 10-inch-deep hole in the ground, then bury the bottom end of the pipe almost to the first hole.

7. To use on a patio or balcony, drill several holes in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket or large planter and fill halfway with gravel. Place the pipe on top of the gravel and add soil around the pipe up to the top of the container.

8. Drill about 30 randomly placed quarter-inch holes in the 2-inch PVC.

9. Place a small PVC pipe inside the larger PVC so that the top of the inner pipe is slightly higher than the outer pipe. (Add a bit of soil inside the 8-inch PVC to elevate the 2-inch pipe if necessary.) Once established, filling this inner pipe with water aids in getting moisture to the roots.

10. Fill the large pipe with potting soil up to the bottom of the lowest holes, keeping the inner pipe centered.

NEXT STEPS, ALMOST THERE!

11. Fold a piece of cardboard into a V and set it inside the hole. Slide a seedling into each of the lowest holes, using the cardboard as a funnel of sorts. Gently push the piece of cardboard into the hole. This helps to prevent potting soil from escaping. Add more soil to reach the next set of holes. Lightly water seedlings in to settle the soil; continue in this manner until each hole is planted.

12. Also, Water the tower slowly from the top and into the 2-inch pipe.

Now that the Vertical Tower is built, what types of plants can be grown in the tower?

Types of plants to grow in a Vertical Tower Garden

Due to the nature of needed pollination and the necessary lighting, fruiting plants such as squash, tomatoes, melons, and the like will not work well in a tower garden. The best types of plants to grow in a Vertical Tower Garden are the ones that are green and leafy or herbs.

The top 10 things that can be grown in a Tower Garden are:

1. Arugula

2. Spinach

3. Kale

4. Basil

5. Mint

6. Thyme

7. Chives

8. Cilantro

9. Basil

10. Lettuce

Benefits of a Vertical Tower Garden:

There are many benefits to owning a vertical tower garden. Of course, the most advantageous of them all is that the garden is relatively small and economical, which allows it to be used in smaller homes and spaces. Among other benefits are the consumption of less water, and the outside pests that would normally eat in the garden are obsolete. Therefore, the plants will not become diseased. It has also been said that the plants grown in a tower garden are likely to grow faster than their counterparts.

In addition to the small compact size of the tower garden, there are also health benefits. Since the plants grown in the vertical tower garden are either leafy greens or herbs, the vertical garden can lead to healthy eating and holistic medicinal benefits.

Vertical Tower Garden – The Wrap-up

There is no better time than now to add a vertical tower garden to your space. The possibilities are endless, from aeroponic, hydroponic, wall gardens to any type of tower garden you can think imagine. Lastly, follow the guidelines in this article to get your vertical garden growing and thriving in no time.

FAQ

Yes, you most definitely can grow strawberries in a tower garden. Strawberries are one of the better plants to grow in a tower garden and can be achieved easily.

As with most other indoor plants, they typically like well-draining porous soil. You can make a potting mixture at home with sand or perlite bases. However, if you use a vertical tower garden that is hydroponic or aeroponic, you will more than likely not need a soil base since these types of gardens use a different kind of medium.

For most plants to thrive in the tower garden, about 6-8 hours is ideal. If your space does not allow for much natural light, consider adding a grow light to the location of your vertical garden. Grow lights can be set to timers and even provide a heat source if needed. You can purchase a basic heat light, use led lights, and even some grow lights that look like decorative pieces to compliment the space.

Watering a tower garden will depend on the type of tower garden you create and the plants inside. If you use plants that prefer never to be overly saturated and have no hydroponic system involved, you should water on average every 10 days.

The number of plants that a vertical tower garden can hold will vary depending on whether you purchase a pre-made tower or make your own tower. Some towers can hold 2 or 3 plants on the other end of the spectrum; some vertical towers can have 15 to 20 plants.

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