The Tower Garden is a fantastic vertical garden, and with the following minor changes, you’ll be able to grow a Tower Garden all winter long.
The temperatures are starting to drop but are you and your Tower Garden ready? Read our 9 tips to help you grow much longer than your soil-growing friends.
How to Grow a Tower Garden All Winter Long
- Keep your Reservoir Full. 20 gallons of water will hold on to the heat much longer than 5 gallons will. By keeping your reservoir full the water stays warmer on those cold frosty nights (which your plants prefer). The Tower Garden FLEX has a 20-gallon reservoir, compared to a 13-gallon reservoir with the Tower Garden HOME. For this reason, we recommend your winter Tower Garden is a Tower Garden FLEX.
- Use a Dolly. Have you ever stood barefoot on a concrete surface, or even a wooden deck, in the middle of a cold winter night? It’s pretty cold, isn’t it? If your Tower Garden Reservoir is placed directly on concrete or other similar surface, the cold transfers to the reservoir, and the water cools much quicker. By using a Dolly or a thick rubber mat under your Tower Garden Reservoir you allow air to flow underneath it and reduce the rate at which it cools.
- Heat the water. Add a submersible heater and set it to the lowest temperature (usually 68) when temperatures are falling below approximately 50 degrees. If the heater is longer than the reservoir is deep, stick it to the side of the reservoir at an angle with the suction feet. This is one of the most important things to do to enable you to grow a Tower Garden all winter long!
- Place your Tower in the sunniest location you have. The days are shorter and the sun is much less intense in the winter. Give your crops as much sun as possible and in return, they will grow much faster. Remember, 5 hours minimum for leafy greens, lettuce, and herbs and 8 or more hours for fruiting crops. Screen rooms are going to give you around 10-20%. That’s not something you need in the winter!
- Add Tower Tonic at full strength. In the summer you reduce the amount of minerals you add (see the post here for more details.) Be sure you revert back to regular strength (20ml of A and 20ml of B for every gallon of water you add) when temperatures are below 85 degrees. Read this post if you want to learn how to measure the Total Dissolved Solids with a TDS Meter, however, it’s not necessary providing you add nutrients at the right dose and empty the reservoir every two months or so.
- Bypass the timer or set your timer to run continuously through the cold nights. The exact hours will depend on your temperatures. If temps are below about 40 degrees bypass the timer, or set the timer to run continuously through these hours. Plug the pump straight into the wall or follow the instructions on your timer and ensure the time is set correctly on the timer before setting it to run the pump continuously for a few hours.
- Cover your Tower Garden. A Frost cloth or frost bag can be used to cover your Tower Garden on frosty nights. It can be purchased online or at nursery stores and is pretty inexpensive. A small pop up greenhouse could be used to dramatically extend your growing season in many parts of the country (there is not much need for one in Florida). Check the specifications of the greenhouse to ensure it will stand up to your specific weather conditions and is the correct size for the number of Tower Gardens you have. You could also use a submersible heater and/or a small space heater when using a pop-up greenhouse. Beware of fire hazards though!
- Use Grow Lights. Grow lights will allow you to grow year-round inside your house, garage, office or other indoor area where you have space. There are many different types of grow lights so you will need to research them to be sure they are suitable to grow what you would like to. Tower Garden LED Grow Lights are full-spectrum and will allow you to grow fruiting crops inside. You’ll just need to consider the size they will grow to and whether you will need to be the bee and pollinate them.
- Select the Correct Crops. One of the biggest mistakes we see new Tower Gardeners make is simply selecting the wrong crops. While the Tower Garden does extend the growing season, you still have to select the right crops. There are a handful of crops that we just cannot trick into growing outside of their preferred season. You’ll be able to grow peas and strawberries in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, but you’ll have to wait until it warms up to grow virtually every other fruiting crop. Lettuces, leafy greens, brassicas, and many herbs love the cool weather. These are the seedlings we offer that love the cool weather. If you are growing inside with grow lights, you will need to consider the size the crop will grow, whether it will need to be pollinated and whether you are willing to do the pollinating.
That’s it! Those are our 9 tips to help you grow a Tower Garden in the winter. Do you have any other winter and cold weather growing tips? Add them to the comments below. You can order your Tower Garden here.