My plants are wilting, what could be causing this?

There’s nothing worse than walking outside, looking at your beloved tower to see one or more plants are wilting. Well, apart from seeing your dog run across the yard with one of More »

GMO, Organic, Hybrid and Heirloom seeds. What does it all mean?

There are so many terms out there when it comes to seeds, but do you know what each of them really means? More »

There’s an app for that!

It seems like there is an app for EVERYTHING nowadays. One of the biggest problems people face when they first start out is identifying plants.  Come on, we’ve all done it.  You More »

Study shows higher yield on Tower Garden crops

If I’m honest, I knew this all along, and so did every other Tower Garden owner I have ever met.  But now it has been proven by a study completed at the More »

Can you spot a ladybug egg or larvae?

There are many beneficial insects out there. If you find praying mantis, spiders, parasitic wasp, lacewing larvae, ladybugs or ladybug larvae in your garden, let them be. They are all assuming the More »

 

September Tower Garden Workshop

Our September Tower Garden Workshop will take place on September 27th from 12pm – 2pm.  More information can be found below. Please register here.

Here at Living Towers we have been growing Tower Garden’s for over four years!  Are you struggling to grow in the red hot summer months? Are your crops suffering in the cold frosty nights? Are bugs bugging you? Do you know how to harvest your produce for best results? Join us at one of our monthly Tower Garden Workshops to learn all of the tips and tricks we have learnt over those years.  We’ll help you get the most from your Tower Garden.

Tower Garden Workshop at Living Towers

Tower Garden Workshop at Living Towers

Tower Gardens are taking off!

The Chicago Department of Aviation took going green to a higher level almost three years ago.

There are 26 “aeroponic” towers in the rotunda building between terminals 2 & 3, creating a first-of-its kind urban garden at O’Hare International Airport.

The 928-square-foot garden is a joint effort between the Aviation department and HMSHost, the company that runs many of the restaurant and concessions at the airport.

The vegetables and herbs harvested from the vertically oriented, indoor garden will be served only a few feet away from where they are grown at airport restaurants like Tortas Frontera, Wicker Park Sushi & Seafood, Blackhawks and Tuscany.

“There is nothing fresher than picking it off the tower and putting it in the sandwiches and pasta and other items you will eat here,” said Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino.

Some of the first crops grown at O’Hare included habanero peppers, bibb lettuce, edible flowers, thyme, oregano and green beans. In a process similar to hydroponics, seeds are first germinated in small cubes of nutrient rich volcanic rock, then they are transferred to the eight foot-tall towers that feed them a fertilized water mixture. Some plants can mature in as little as four weeks.

“In one year we can have 13 different crops,” said Tim Blank of Future Growing LLC, the Florida-based company that designed the system.

The garden serves two functions at the airport. Not only is it providing food for the restaurants, but it is also providing a green oasis for travelers.

A glass railing surrounds the garden to discourage those travelers from doing any harvesting on their own.

O'Hare Farmers Market

O’Hare Farmers Market

Chicago O’Hare now features a Farmer’s Market – a second world’s first for O’Hare! The airport is truly representing the future of local, sustainable living. The O’Hare Farmer’s Market kiosk offers fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, and thyme, which are all grown a level above the market in the world’s first airport aeroponic garden.

What do the terms “Aeroponic” and “Hydroponic” mean?

Nasa grows Aeroponically

“Aero” means “Air”, “Hydro” means “Water” and “ponic” means work.  Simply put it means working with air or working with water.  NASA have been growing plants aeroponically since the 90s and what did they find?  They found it was one of the most efficient ways of growing, both in terms of resources used and production.  You can read the full article here.

Is Hydroponics safe?

People always want to know if growing hydroponically is as safe and healthy as growing in good organic soil. According to the experts, ummm…YES! And more so! Plants don’t differentiate between nutrients that come from soil or the earth minerals found in Tower Tonic Mineral Blend. Here is a paragraph from the University of Alabama Cooperative Extension:

August Tower Garden Workshop

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Our August Tower Garden Workshop will take place on August 23rd from 10am – 12pm.  More information can be found below. Please register here.

Here at Living Towers we have been growing Tower Garden’s for over four years!  Are you struggling to grow in the red hot summer months? Are your crops suffering in the cold frosty nights? Are bugs bugging you? Do you know how to harvest your produce for best results? Join us at one of our monthly Tower Garden Workshops to learn all of the tips and tricks we have learnt over those years.  We’ll help you get the most from your Tower Garden.

Tower Garden Workshop at Living Towers

Tower Garden Workshop at Living Towers

Those Pesky Aphids!

At some point while growing your Tower Garden you will experience aphids, even if you are growing it inside a screen room or inside a building with grow lights.  Often, bugs can be even more challenging on an indoor garden as there will be few, if any, natural predators.  Unfortunately it comes with the territory. Don’t get me wrong, the bug challenges you have with a Tower Garden are, well, less challenging  than those you would have growing in the dirt!
Aphids
Read on to learn about a variety of organic methods for keeping aphids under control.

Yellow plants in my Tower Garden. What happened?

Almost all crops grown in a Tower Garden should be a rich, deep green color. If you follow the directions regarding sunlight, nutrients and pH you should not encounter this problem.  If your green plants are suddenly yellow, work your way through the flow chart below to help you determine what could be causing the problem.  Don’t worry, it’s easy to fix!

July Tower Garden Workshop

We’ve announced details of our July Tower Garden Workshop. To learn more click here…
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Tower Garden Maintenance. What, when and why?

Tower Gardne Maintenance

If you’ve ever heard me talk about the Tower Garden you’ll have heard me say “It’s the easiest garden on earth!”  I’m being honest, it really is.  There’s no weeding, digging or tilling and just a small amount of maintenance needs to be performed each week to keep your produce nutritious, delicious, strong and healthy.  Just like when we eat healthy foods we are less likely to be sick, the same applies to our vegetables.  They are more resistant to disease and pests.  WINNER!

Your maintenance each week is going to take you no more than 15 minutes per Tower. Yep, LESS THAN 15 minutes per Tower. So what maintenance is involved?

Daily

Check for pests and diseases.

It is far easier to deal with a few bugs than it is to deal with a massive infestation! By remaining vigilant and giving your tower the quick once over each day you’ll stay ahead of the game. This quick once over should take you less than a minute.  Look for holes in the leaves, bugs on the underside of leaves and little bit of black stuff which could well be worm poop. Also look for changes in the colors of the leaves.  This could indicate a fungus, disease, or simply incorrect pH or normal browning and aging of the leaves.  There is NO NEED to spray as a preventative method.  Just be vigilant.

Twice a Week

Check water level

It is important to get into the habit of checking your water regularly.  When you first start your Tower with seedlings you will use just a couple of gallons a week.  As the plants get bigger and the temperatures heat up you will start to go through more.  Read this article on adding nutrients so that you don’t end up throwing money away in the summer months!

These are just guidelines. If you are growing a lot of large heavy feeders you will probably have to check it more frequently. Possibly everyday!

Check pH

The pH is important for one reason and one reason only.  When the pH goes out of the ideal range the plants are unable to take up nutrients.  Keep your pH between 5.5 and 6.5.  If it drifts outside of this range the first thing you will notice is that your leaves start to yellow.  Now if you check your pH a couple of times a week and it hasn’t changed then go a few extra days before checking it again.  You’ll start to figure out how your water reacts, or doesn’t, to your conditions.  I have personally had to adjust the pH in my towers just a dozen times in over a year.  Others are adjusting theirs a couple of times a week.  One more thing regarding pH.  Be sure to check it AFTER, not before, you have added your minerals.  The minerals are acidic so they will lower the pH slightly.

Again, if you are adding water multiple times a week you will need to check you pH each time you add water. If it doesn’t change much, increase the number of days between each pH test.

Give it a clean

Just once a week use an old scrub sponge, toothbrush or other small scrub brush to remove any algae, mineral build up or foliage from the Tower.  It will take just a minute or so if done regularly and will reduce the risk of it staining.

 

Monthly

Clean the filter

I’m sure you heard the saying “don’t do as I do, do as I tell you”.  Cleaning the filter is a perfect example of that!

Roots growing into Tower Garden pump

Roots growing into Tower Garden pump

This can be prevented by cleaning the filter regularly, placing the pump at the side of the tub rather than the center and by trimming the roots.  We talk about that below!

Trim the Roots

Remove the access lid, reach in and trim the roots.  WARNING!  There is an electric cable and a blue hose in the reservoir too.  Be 100% sure that you have neither of these in your hand with the roots.  You could have a huge bundle of roots in your hand so don’t go chopping willy nilly.  Trim them at a level close to the water line if full.  There is NO NEED, I repeat NO NEED to remove each individual plant and trim the roots of each one.  This will cause stress and worst case, you could lose the plant.

 

So that is it!  Easy right?  Now quick, go out and give your Tower a quick once over.  You’ll be glad you did.

Tower Gardne Maintenance

 

My plants are wilting, what could be causing this?

Wilting plants

There’s nothing worse than walking outside, looking at your beloved tower to see one or more plants are wilting. Well, apart from seeing your dog run across the yard with one of your kale plants in her mouth! That’s pretty bad too.  Either way, panic sets in and everything else you were planning to do goes out of the window.

Our plants may wilt for one or more of many reasons.  Figuring out what is causing yours to wilt can be tricky, unless you follow the handy dandy flow chart I created. Click on the image below to open it full screen!