Frequently Asked Questions
Inquiring minds want to know
Food is essential. We all get it. And, for many of us, it may even be plentiful. So why try to grow my own?
There are a lot of reasons. Because the centralized system that makes food available 365 days a year - specifically fresh produce - is highly sensitive to disruptions and price increases. Weather-related issues such as droughts, storms, floods, and forest fires, can disrupt the supply of many of the foods we love. In 2022, prices seem to go up every time we shop. And we want to eat fresh, because we know it's good for us, but how good is the lettuce picked a month ago, versus picking it from your garden and eating it that day? And how do you know it is truly organic?
We believe growing your own food should be a part of life. But most of us don't really want to be farmers - we have a day job. Automation is key to taking what can be a time-consuming, labor-intensive process and making it so much easier. Right in your own home. Making you less dependent on a fragile system. Giving you some control over the most basic and most important thing in life - the food you eat. That's why. And we've done everything we can to make you successful. Fully automated growing, without much of the toil that usually comes with farming. Hyperlocal. Hyperfresh. Hyperhealthy. Hypereasy.
Aeroponics is a plant cultivation method that uses a microfine mist to saturate plant roots with a water-based nutrient solution, then allows the roots time to absorb the water and nutrients before spraying again, in a continuous cycle. The size of the droplets is important for maximum uptake. Since the roots are suspended in air, they absorb a great deal more oxygen than if planted in soil. This greater access to nutrients and oxygen produces extremely fast growth, often allowing 2-3 extra crops per year, with bigger plants and more fruit. The method is proven to reduce the use of nutrient solution by 30% compared to conventional hydroponic methods that use a liquid instead of a mist.
Decide what you want to grow. If you need help figuring this out, call us! We'd love to walk you through this process. Then place your order on our website.
Once you receive your tower(s), set it up in a spot that is out of the weather. It has electronics and it is not weatherproof. In your spare bedroom, garage, basement, sunroom, or greenhouse is best. Fill the reservoir with filtered water and test the system. Add nutrient solution. Add some grow foam from the included starter kit into each grow cup, and put your seeds in. Set the program using the touchscreen panel. Then let the Grow Tower do the work.
Not necessarily, but the towers have electronics and electrical components, and any exposure to humidity for extended periods will compromise the life of your Grow Tower. It is strongly recommended that you set up the Grow Tower indoors. A major advantage to any system like ours is that it can provide a year-round supply of fruits and vegetables, but that assumes the temperature is appropriate 12 months out of the year for the plants you want to grow. Growing indoors is the only way to ensure the best environment for your plants, all year long.
2" Grow Cups (packages of 50, enough total to fill every grow opening), a sheet of Oasis Horticubes (162 per sheet), an Electrical Conductivity (EC) meter to test for correct nutrient solution levels, a pH meter, gardening snips for trimming plants, a patch kit for repairing the root chamber fabric, and a tool kit. And a printout of the recommended supplies with QR codes to take you directly to the retailer for each one.
Seeds - we are affiliated with Seeds for Generations. There are many sources of seeds. Remember, you cannot harvest seeds from a hybrid plant for the next season, so wew recommend heirloom seeds. And non-GMO as well.
Nutrient Solution - this is the plant food. There are many choices intended for hydroponics that will work perfectly with our system. We have had great success with MasterBlend's 3-Part Combo Kit distributed by PowerGrow. You can find this online at Walmart, Amazon, and a number of other retailers.
Grow Media - We use Oasis Horticubes from Amazon. These square pre-formed cubes fit nicely in the 2" Grow Cups (included with your tower). They have a pre-formed hole for your seed.
pH up and pH Down - these liquid additives help you dial in the pH that your particular plants like for optimum growth and health. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic environment (pH of 5.5-6.5)
Hydrogen Peroxide - for sanitizing your tower. Harmless to plants in diluted form, and actually adds oxygen to the system if any of it enters the reservoir.
Vinegar - Helps to reduce mineral buildup from any nutrient solution overspray on the deck lids.
Well, actually, there are many things to consider. You may want a wide variety of vegetables like leafy greens, brassicas, root veggies, etc. Each tower configuration is suitable for a certain size of plant, from short to tall, and we have single, double, and triple deck towers, so the tower configuration determines how many plants you can cultivate at the same time. You will likely desire to have the widest possible variety and sufficient year-round availability. With one ET200R Double Deck tower, you can produce a tremendous amount of leafy greens, for example, so the answer depends on what you want to grow.
Not that we have discovered. Aeroponics provides very unique advantages that make it the most universally applicable method for soilless growing.
But, full disclosure: we have obviously not grown every known plant species using aeroponics. So our answer has to be a qualified "no". A few edible things like mushrooms require a completely different approach and will not grow in the tower. But any plant that is traditionally grown in soil can be grown in the tower, as long as it fits.
Maybe this will help. Our original design goal was to create something that would work on Mars. It had to be the most energy and water efficient system we could devise. It had to be able to grow the widest variety of plants. And because potatoes are such an important basic food, we had to be able to grow potatoes. So these underlying design goals have driven us from the beginning. The product you now have access to was built for space - "Mars Tough", you might say. But we didn't reinvent the wheel, we researched all of the work that had already been done - for years - by NASA. And this is how they did it. The Grow Tower is based on proven research. It is a high quality, rugged tool. It is not a play toy or a decorative piece. It has a pump and lights that are expected to last at least 10 years. It is modular, so it can be reconfigured easily. It is the Swiss Army Knife of growing systems.
Up to 32 plants per grow deck. We have towers with a Single, Double, and Triple grow decks. But certain plants require a lot of space, like broccoli. So your mileage may vary. You can fit 32 heads of lettuce/leafy greens, carrots, onions, and parsley on a deck. You cannot fit 32 zucchini plants on a single deck.
We get it. You can buy a lot of lettuce for the cost of one tower.
What you are really buying is independence from a fragile food system, security from rising prices, resilience during weather catastrophes, and the knowledge that you are providing yourself and your family with the maximum nutritional benefits of a healthy lifestyle that is based on fresh food, harvested at peak flavor and potency.
For the busy urban mom, small business grower, restaurant or homesteader, you are buying an efficient tool that lets you be uber-productive. A force multiplier. Let the automated Grow Tower take care of the plants. You can take care of business, your kids, the rest of your homestead operations, or your full-time job.
As long as you use organic, non-GMO seeds and organic nutrient solution, and filtered water, you can be certain that your food is truly organic. You control all of the inputs. You can't be sure unless you grow it yourself. And growing indoors under full spectrum lights, you are far less likely to have any issues with environmental contaminants, bugs, or diseases. So you will not have to worry about pesticides. Neem oil is a purely organic solution and is a great treatment for bugs if they happen to find your tower. And NO WEEDS!
Plants need light, water, and nutrients to grow. They need a lot of some nutrients, called "macronutrients" and tiny amounts of other nutrients, called "micronutrients". Plants normally have to work hard to spread their roots in search of these nutrients and water when grown in soil. But if you deliver all of this straight to the roots, in the form of a liquid food, the plants will grow extremely well. In fact, since the roots are not working so hard, that energy is redirected to growing leaves and producing more fruit, and the plants grow faster and bigger. We have not devised some "artificial" gimmick to trick the plants into growing in some unnatural way, we have used the plant's natural physiology and design and figured out how to optimize everything for the plant's maximum benefit and health.
The Grow Towers require electricity. If you lose power for more than 4 hours, you can lose the entire crop. That's why every tower comes equipped with a manual foot pump, that allows you to keep your plants alive until power is restored. We suggest you treat this like your freezer or refrigerator that you depend upon for your fresh food. A generator, solar panels, or some other form of backup electrical power generation would be wise if you regularly experience power outages for extended periods.
Absolutely! We are eager to support your school's S.T.E.M. program. The towers are perfect for teaching botany, automated systems, engineering, artificial intelligence, the scientific method, and entrepreneurship. Contact us to learn more.
Absolutely. The towers give you a lot of growing capabilities in a small space. Add these to your current growing operations, or start a small produce business. You can offer live produce picked to order. Super fresh, super nutritious, super local. Create a local market to support your community. Help reduce the carbon associated with trucking produce from thousands of miles away. Give customers a highly reliable, year-round source for fruits and vegetables. You can even rent out growing "allotments" for people or restaurants who want to utilize your towers to grow specific varieties.
Absolutely. The towers can give you onsite access to the freshest, most flavorful greens for salads, herbs and other ingredients. What a great way to make your restaurant stand out from the crowd. Grow your own signature produce varieties like wasabi arugula. And place the towers where your customers can see you harvest their food right before their eyes!
Don't see your question? Send us a note or give us a call - and we'll get right on it!
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