How to Plan Your Perfect Tower Garden

How to Plan Your Perfect Tower Garden

Spring is in the air! Here in the Pacific Northwest the plum and cherry trees blossoms have come and for the most part are already gone, being replaced with new leaf growth. Now is the time to begin to plan what you are going to be growing this year in your Tower Gardens. There are 3 important steps to planning and planting a Tower Garden:

Photo of Tower Garden with new plant growth.
Tower Garden in my greenhouse with plants just a few weeks old.
  • Find the ideal location
  • Picking the right plants based on your preference and growing conditions
  • Stocking up on necessary supplies

If this is your first season planting on brand new Tower Garden that you just purchased from me you will need a location with about a 2.5 square foot print with the following things:

  1. Find the Ideal Location
  • Light

If you want a productive Tower Garden (and who doesn’t), most plants need 6-8 hours of full sun or 14 – 16 hours under grow lights. Check your seed packet labels for plant-specific light requirements. If you grown outside in a location such as Arizona with intense summer heat, keep in mind your plants will need to be protected from the hot afternoon sun.

Tower Tip: If your Tower Garden sits in a location where only one side receives sun light such as against a wall, rotate it a quarter turn each day. This will achieve balanced growth. This is the easiest to day with a Tower Garden Dolly.

  • Water

Since Tower Garden uses a water + nutrients solution instead of soil to grow plants, a nearby source for clean water is critical. It’s best not to use softened, heavily chlorinated or very hard water. Not sure if you have hard water? Take a look at this water hardness map (you can also request a free water test strip via the same link).

Tower Tip: To remove chlorine, fill a bucket with marked gallon marks so you know how much water is in it. Let it sit outdoors for in the sun for two days (48 hours). This will evaporate the chlorine from the water. Then add the appropriate amount of Tower Tonic to the water to fill up the reservoir. I keep several 2.5 gallon buckets on hand with water ready to add Tower Tonic too. This way I always have water ready when needed to add to my Tower Gardens.

  • Electricity

You’ll need electricity to run the pump (and lights if you’re growing indoors). If your growing outside, ensure safety with a waterproof connection protector.

  • Level Location

    Photo of Tower Garden reservoir with wedges.
    Floor in my greenhouse is not level. Wedge was not enough. I used a piece of scrap plywood and wood to level reservoir.

Wherever you put your Tower Garden, make sure it is level, as this is essential for proper operation. When putting Tower Gardens outside I always use a bubble level to ensure it is level. I often use wooden wedges to slide under the reservoir to level it. If you are locating your Tower Garden in a garage remember the floor slopes toward the door and you will be to level it.

  1. Choosing Your Plants

The next step is the most fun, choosing your plants! As you do this think about the following:

  • Your food preferences

What produce will you actually use? To answer this, consider what you typically bring home from the supermarket. For example, I use lots of greens – such as kale, chard and lettuce – almost daily for salads, stir-fries and other dishes. So two of my Tower Gardens are filled with greens year round. Identify what you use on a regular basis, and add these to your list of plants to grow.

Produce that you only buy occasionally or goes bad before you use it will likely just take up space in your Tower Garden. Unless you’re thinking about changing your eating habits, think twice before growing such plants.

  • Produce price and availability

Tired of emptying our your wallet for fresh basil? Can’t find your favorite variety of tomato? Whether you want lower costs or more options, there’s a solution: grow your own! You’ll likely find yourself with more free basil than you can use. You’ll impress your friends with amount of quality, great tasting produce you will grow.

  • Growing conditions

Now that you’ve got an idea of what you want to grow, let’s refine the list by looking at growing conditions. While some plants – such as chard, collard greens and kale – tolerate a range of temperatures, most prefer either cool or warm weather. What you grow depends on location and season.

Since spring is just around the corner, greens and herbs are good choices for most gardeners starting now. If you’re lucky enough to have mild winters by living in a place such as Florida, the list of what you can grow this time of year is longer.

List of 16 super spring crops.
These plants grow well in the cooler temperatures of spring.

This list isn’t exhaustive, of course. Want to learn what else you can grow? There are several planting schedulers. My favorite is The Old Farmers Almanac, which shows when to start seeds and when to expect to harvest, based on your location.

A online service that does this well is All Things Plants. If you’re willing to create your own planting schedule manually, seed packet labels often indicate when to sow and harvest based on your plant hardiness zone. If you are growing indoors, season and your location don’t really matter provide you are using grow lights.

How to grow a healthy Tower Garden graphic.
Use this guide to determine how many plants you need and how to arrange them.

As a general rule, you want to arrange plants like a pyramid. Put larger and vining plants, such as squash and tomatoes, on the bottom. Avoid planting more than 4 of these, as they crowd out other plants. Put smaller plants such as lettuce and herbs, on top. Placing larger plants beside smaller growing plants is another strategy. This will help to ensure they have enough room to grow.

Have everything figured out? Download and print this planting plan (PDF) and Tower Garden Growing System  fill in the blanks with you you’ll grow to document your plan. Click here to go to our blog listing growers of plant starts for your Tower Garden.

Tower Tip: Get detailed instructions for 11 different plants in the Resource Center.

 1. Secure Growing Supplies

Congratulation, you’ve made a glorious plan! Don’t forget to make sure you have everything you need to actually get growing. At a minimum, you’ll need the following supplies:

While not essential, you may want to consider these accessories.

Photo of Tower Garden covered with Tower Blanket
Tower Blanket covering one of my towers.
  • Tomato Cage or Trellis – Larger vining plants such as tomatoes or squash, need extra support for healthy growth.
  • Weather Protection Blanket – This can protect your plants from late frosts and cooler spring nights. It’s also useful for preventing heat stress in the summer.
  • Tower Dolly – Planning to move your Tower Garden around much? A dolly makes that pretty simple.

Click over to the Tower Garden Store to order any supplies you may need.

Hand Pollinate Tomatoes, Zucchini and other plants in Tower Garden
Linda Woolsey with some of the harvest from her Tower Garden.

Summary and Next Steps

To recap, the 3 essentials of Tower Garden planning are:

  1. Finding the best location to grow
  2. Picking the right plants based on your preference and growing conditions
  3. Stocking up on necessary supplies

Once you have the essentials covered, you’ll be well on your way to growing a successful Tower Garden.

Ready to execute your plan? Here are some helpful resources:

Click here to buy your Tower Garden Now!

Tower Garden Tower Garden Backyard Tower Garden

Other posts you may find useful:

How to Grow Herbs? In a Tower Garden of Course!

Tower Garden is a Lettuce Growing Machine

Tower Garden Ripe Strawberries in 75 Days!

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