Aeroponic Vertical Gardening Steps For Success

Aeroponic Vertical Gardening Steps For Success

Aeroponic Vertical Gardening success depends on two things, water and air.

You take your glass and put it under your kitchen sink faucet and turn it on. A stream of clear, cool water fills your glass, you raise it to your lips and drink a big, satisfying gulp.

Refreshing for you…but your plants may disagree.

Tap water may be safe for you and me (some may disagree), however it’s not always the best water for plant growth. In this post you’ll learn why – and more important, what you can do about it.

The (Possible) Problems with Your Tap Water

If you have filled your aeroponic gardening system straight from your water tap and never noticed negative consequences, that’s awesome – keep doing what you’re doing.

For those of us who have been growing but can’t seem to be able to completely solve leaf discoloration, diseases, stubborn pH, and other problems,  less than ideal water source can be the problem.

Chlorine, Chloramine, and Fluoride

Most of us are on city water systems and know that we have chlorine in our tap water, keeping it contaminate-free.

What most of us don’t know is that chlorine is one of the eight micronutrients plants require for healthy growth. But, in excess a good mineral can be troublesome.

Your tap water may contain too much chlorine for your plants to handle.

Chlorine toxicity can harm leaf growth causing plant growth to look scorched or bleached.

Over the past five years, Linda and I have been filling our aeroponic vertical gardens with chlorine freewater.   We lleft five gallon buckets of tap water uncovered in the sun for at least two days. This causes the chlorine to break down.

Many major cities now treat their water with a mixture of chlorine gas and ammonia called chloramine. This solution is harder to eliminate compared to chlorine alone.

Your tap water is most likely to also contain fluoride, which doesn’t do plants any favors. In fact, it can inhibit photosynthesis and result in necrosis, or death, of leaf tissue.

Hard Water

Because hard water affects  85% of the United States , it’s likely you have hard water.

Water is considered “hard” when it measures high in dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which it picks up naturally as it tickles through deposits of limestone and chalk.

Characteristics of hard water are

  • Tastes strange (e.g metallic)

    tower garden mineral deposits

    Mineral deposits from hard water in a section of the tower of the aeroponic vertical garden.

  • Causes rust like stains in sinks and toilets
  • Leaves water spots on glass and dishes
  • Doesn’t mix well with soap (e.g. no lather)

The high mineral content in hard water poses an interesting problem for plants.

Plants need minerals right?

They need nutrients like calcium and magnesium, right?

But when they’re already getting them from tap water and you feed them a plant food such as Tower Tonic Mineral Blend, a nutritional imbalance occurs.

High pH is also a common symptom of hard water because the extra minerals act as a buffer, reducing the water’s acidity. Having high pH for an extended time can inhibit your plants’ ability to absorb nutrients.

If all of that isn’t enough, hard water may also cause scale deposits, or mineral build up on your aeroponic vertical garden growing system’s pump and irrigation system.

Tips for Improving Tap Water

Now that we have discussed the problems, lets look at a few solutions.

Activated Carbon Fiter

This fix is the simplest and least expensive: activated carbon filters. You may already have these in use in your home and not even realize it. They’re often built into water purifying pitchers, refrigerator water and ice dispensers, coffee makers, and more.

You can also buy activated carbon filters as under-counter systems and garden hose attachments. The garden hose attachments are typically marketed as “RV water filters.”

Activated carbon filters water through activated carbon, which traps:

  • Chlorine (and some chloramine and fluoride)
  • Sediment
  • Pollutants

An activated carbon filter usually makes your water smell and taste better.

Linda and I have had an activated carbon filter installed on the cold water line of our kitchen sink for over 10 years now. We not only drink from it, but also use it to water our house plants. When we need to give our house plants some fertilizer, Linda uses Tower Tonic Mineral Blend on her house plants…and on most plants outside.

We now have an ‘RV water filter’ on the yard hydrant near our aeroponic vertical gardens. We no longer have to put water in buckets for a couple of days before using it in our vertical gardens.RV Water for Vertical Garden.

When I got home with the RV filter and opened the box I learned that it required a water pressure  regulating valve to reduce the water pressure to 30 pounds before entering the filter. Check the brand you purchased if this is needed before you leave the store.

Activated carbon filters trap most of the particles in your water when used with low pressure, the reason for the water pressure regulating valve.

They don’t last forever. Plan on replacing your outdoor filter at least once a year. Our under the sink filter is replaced every four months, since it is used a lot more often.

Reverse Osmosis System

An activated carbon filter will solve most aeroponic gardening system water problems for most gardeners.

There aree some locations where the activated carbon filter just is not enough to filter your water source.

Your next recourse is to use a reverse osmosis water treatment system. This option is expensive, a several hundred dollar investment.

RO systems often use both an activated carbon filter and a cellophane-like membrane to effectively remove calcium, magnesium, chlorine, chloramine, and fluoride – basically all of the troublemakers present in hard water.

Most professional aeroponic and hydroponic farmers use RO systems.  The RO system eliminates mystery variables in the water.Creating  a controlled, predictable growing environment.

RO systems do have a major flaw, they waste water – as much 95% of the water that goes into it.

Softened water

Many homes located in an area with hard water have water softener systems. These systems are fixing the hard water problem, but…

Most water softeners use either sodium chloride (salt) or potassium chloride to remedy hard water. Plants are very sensitive to sodium and excess levels of potassium.

Remember the old cowboy movies of the alkoxide water hole surrounded by animal skeletons? That is what soft water does to your plants!

If you have a water softener it is best to have your water go through a RO system before using it on any of your plants, including your Aeroponic Vertical  Garden.

Routine Maintenance

Just because you are using an activated carbon filter or an RO system doesn’t mean you don’t have to do some routine maintenance.  Make the water in your aeroponic growing system as good as possible.

First it is important to drain and refresh your nutrient solution every two or three months.
Over time plant roots and other plant debris tend to fall down into thereservior. As this organic material decomposes, it opens the door to a host of issues, including plant disease and stinky water.

Second, try to keep your nutrient solution temperature in the 65-85 degree fahrenheit range. Also keep your pH level somewhere around 5.5-6.5.

Fluctuations are inevitable, and there’s no need to panic. But your plants will be able to consume the Tower Tonic Mineral Blend nutrients most efficiently when optimum conditions are met.

At the end of every growing season always clean and disinfect your aeroponic vertical garden. Tap Here to learn more about how to clean your aeroponic vertical garden.

If you have any more questions about the relationship between your water and your plants, leave a comment below.

If you found this post Aeroponic Vertical Gardening Steps For Success to be of value please share it with your friends on Facebook.

Tower Garden Vertical Garden

Other posts about vertical gardening that you may find helpful:

Vertical Garden Mistakes and Lessons Learned 

5 Ways to Keep Your Vertical Garden Alive While on Vacation

5 Research Backed Benefits of Aeroponic Gardening

Tower Garden Cookbook

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Microgreens Micro Greens

Using Microgreens Turns An Everyday Mom Into A Chef!

Using Microgreens Turns An Everyday Mom Into A Chef!

Have you noticed when you have a meal in an upscale restaurant how signature dishes are topped with miniature, multi-colored leaves?

Microgreens

Pixabay Photo

Now microgreens are becoming a familiar ingredient in home kitchens, too.  And for good reasons.  Microgreens add great color and great flavor to salads. They are a concentrated nutrient source and packed with beneficial enzymes because of their rapid growth. They are an excellent garnish for meats and other dishes. Congratulations, Mom, you’re now a chef!

Some restaurant patrons (and your family) may mistake them for ordinary garnish.  Just don’t tell them it’s healthy!

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They are more mature than sprouts but not quite as large as baby greens. These petite greens seem to be in the middle. As their name suggests, Continue reading

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Vertical Garden Urban Farming

Our Aeroponic Vertical Garden has been in our greenhouse since mid-November growing fresh, toxin free vegetables for our salads and green smoothies this winter.

Tower Garden Backyard Tower Garden

December photo of plants that have been in the Aeroponic Vertical Garden for just two weeks.

It is nice to just go outside with a pair of scissors and pick fresh greens when we need them. Salad greens don’t come any fresher than that!

This year we are growing three kinds of lettuce, Swiss Chard, Chives, Parsley, and lots of Kale on our Tower Garden.

We grow the kale to use in our morning smoothies. We use a vegan protein shake mix.  Each morning we add kale to our smoothie and sometime Swiss Chard for variety. We also like to add chia seeds, two teaspoons of olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Some mornings we also add some cinnamon. Continue reading

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Tower Garden Grow Lights

Winter and gardening don’t pair together well – at least not traditionally.

But gardening with an aeroponic vertical garden isn’t exactly traditional. After all, it produces plants almost automatically, without soil.

And now with the new LED Grow Lights for vertical gardens, growing an indoor aeroponic garden just became even easier. Continue reading

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If you’re like me, you’ll eagerly await the day you can transplant your seedlings that you have started in your Seedling Starter Kit outdoors. But for best results, you should introduce your plants to the outside world gradually. This is a process called “hardening off seedlings.”

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We went out into our garden to check our Tower Garden on the hottest day of the year so far.

The outside temperature was over 80 degrees to find our Tower Garden plants were all wilted and drooping!

All the months of growing these vegetables and they now looked like they where dead!

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In the spring, we had two Tower Gardens that were producing well inside our home. We wanted them outside where they could grow with natural light and air circulation.

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I Almost Killed My Tower Garden!

Content updated May 30, 2018

I went outside to pick some collard greens off one of my Tower Gardens. To my shock and horror all the plants where drooping and wilted.  I thought it was out of water. Took the cover off and looked inside. I had water, a bit low but still plenty. What is going on?Tower Garden with wilted plants

 

I unplugged the pump and pulled it out. I found the intakes where all plugged up with broken off pieces of roots and a thick green slime. It looked like Slimmer from the Ghost Busters had visited my Tower Garden. Yuck!

Unhooked the pump from the tower. Took it out of the reservoir and gave it a good cleaning. Pulled the end off and took the filter out and cleaned it with my garden hose. A soft spray and the filter was clean again.

I then took an old toothbrush to the outside of the filter and cleaned all the roots out of the portholes to the filter. A rinse of the filter and pump with the garden hose and all was clean again. Than put the filter back in and put the filter cover back in place. Continue reading