Adding Nutrients to the Tower Garden in the Summer
One of the most frequently asked questions we are asked is regarding adding nutrients to the Tower. Specifically, adding nutrients to the Tower Garden in the Summer. “How much should I add and when should I add it?”
The instructions are pretty simple, really. For every gallon of water you add to the Tower Garden reservoir, add 20ml of Mineral Blend A and 20ml of Mineral Blend B. This is what we call the regular dose or “full strength”.
However, think back to science class at school for a second. What happens to water when it gets hot? You got it, it evaporates! The water evaporates in a Tower Garden but the minerals in the Mineral Blend do not. As humans “perspire”, plants “transpire”, and because of this, they have a greater need for water, but not minerals in the summer months.
Have you ever struggled to grow in the summer? Have you seen pictures online of flourishing Towers and wondered why yours doesn’t look as healthy and vibrant? Adding too many minerals could be one cause.
So how do you know how much Mineral Blend to add in the warmer months?
As a general rule, we suggest adding nutrients to the Tower Garden at half strength (10ml of each per gallon), or every other time, when temperatures are over 85 degrees consistently, as it says in the Growing Guide.
Don’t worry if you managed to skip over that part of the manual. You aren’t the first and you certainly won’t be the last to do so!
You could even drop that to quarter strength (5ml of each per gallon) when temperatures are over 95 consistently.
I already mentioned that water evaporates and minerals do not. Over time, as the water evaporates the minerals in the water will become more and more concentrated. Plants transpire as I mentioned, so just as humans need more water in the heat, so do plants, yet they do not require more food.
Adding at Half Strength Vs Every other Time
Let’s just say that you check your reservoir levels one day and you add 5 gallons. Then you get caught up in your day-to-day things and the next time you check it you add 12 gallons. You find yourself back on track checking every few days and the next time you add 5 gallons again, can you see where I am going with this? If you add minerals every other time but never add the same amount of water each time, you could end up with a diluted mineral solution or a really concentrated mineral solution.
Do I need to measure the nutrients in the reservoir?
Don’t forget, the Tower Garden was designed for those without any gardening experience to be able to grow their own food at home in a food-safe plastic system, without any growing experience. There is no need to measure the minerals in the reservoir when you are a) adding the minerals at the right dose based on the temperatures and b) emptying your reservoir every 30-60 days (as recommended in our maintenance guide).
If you really must know how much minerals are in your reservoir then there is a way to find out. We’ll talk about this more in our next blog post…
Jason and I were skydiving instructors when we got involved with Living Towers and Tower Gardens. We were not growers by any means. (See an old post here if you want to read more about that).
Adding too much Mineral Blend is, in my opinion, the most common reason Tower Gardeners struggle in the heat. Not only will your crops struggle, but you’ll race through the Mineral Blend in double time! Read 10 Summer Tower Garden Growing Tips for Tower Garden Success to learn our other tips to give you a kick-ass garden all summer long!