Today is aeroponics update day! In this episode we share differences between our fancy commercial Tower Garden and Steffan’s boat worthy Proof of Concept Version. If you are more into reading, highlights are below. BUT, if you watch, you get to see the plants in action in both gardens.
Commercial Tower Garden
We purchased the garden and got it started in the beginning of August (as you saw in our Unboxing Episode). We also started the seeds at this time for transplanting into the garden. To get a bit of a jump start, we brought plants in from the garden, as well. We followed the instructions in the Tower Garden info for moving them from the soil to the tower and for the most part they did well. We brought in the following:
- Swiss Chard
The only complete fail was the lavendar, which died nearly immediately. We have no idea why. The kale was successful, but had to be removed due to aphids. These aphids have actually spread to the pepper and tomato plants in the garden, so as part of the plan to control them, the Kale had to go. We are currently treating them with Neem oil and it seems to be working. If it doesn’t we may have to jump ship and start over. But so far, it’s looking positive.
In addition to the lights on the tower, this garden gets a lot of natural light. We transplanted the seedlings we started and everything is progressing nicely.
The only issues we have had have been with initial PH setting. We had to check it daily and keep on adding the PH Down solution. We don’t know why, but it has since stabilized.
As far as water usage, as of the episode taping in September, we have only added three gallons of water. We have NOT done a complete water swap as recommended by the Tower Garden company, but we will at some point. We’ve also had an issue with our pump getting very noisy. At the time of the taping, I had called to get a replacement under warranty and they sent us a new one at no charge.
The best part is that the peppers have flowers on them, which means we might get peppers soon! AND we have been getting regular produce from some of the plants, including:
- Swiss Chard
Boat Worthy Proof of Concept Tower Garden
Steffan worked on this POC for much of the early summer. He started seeds mid-July-ish and by August, he had some of them in the garden. But, even though these seeds were started and transplanted into the garden earlier than the commercial tower, they are not doing as well. We are not sure why, but we have a couple of theories. The first being lightening. If you watch the video, you’ll see that the POC Tower Garden lives in the basement and only has the lighting system for its nutritional needs. These lights are not only less powerful than the commercial tower’s, but the POC garden does NOT have the benefit of any natural light.
The second theory has to do with water quantity and distribution. The commercial tower has a well designed distribution system of the water as it flows through every hour for its 15 minute feeding. With the POC tower, some plants get LOTS of water, others get very little. I personally thing that we need to cut back on watering frequency, but to date, we have not done that.
We also have a couple other issues with the POC garden. Drippage and plant growth. The system in general drips and leaks a lot. Unlike the commercial garden which we’ve only had to add about three gallons of water to, Steffan has add nearly twice that to the POC garden. This is not just due to drippage, but also evaporation. And the plants seem to grow downward first, even more-so than with the commercial garden. They do find their way up again, but again, if you see the video, you’ll see the difference.
At this point we have to concede that the commercial version is much better. That being said, we’re going to continue tweaking and such to see if we can get the Boat Worthy POC up to snuff. We’ll do another update in a few months. Until then, let us know if you have any thoughts on ways to improve our POC Boat Tower Garden, we need all the help we can get!
Kelly (& Steffan)
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