Just wanted to say that I think that Rain Tower is wonderful. My GF wants one but I'm not all that great with tools and have no workspace (or grow lights for now). Anyone want to build me one?
But...I'll have the instructions up on Tuesday.
Does anyone have any issues with the stability of the vinyl column? I am going to try using a 10 gallon fermentation bucket, its a little deeper which may give the column more stability. Then use the full length of the column.
Also, I think using a piece of pvc 1/2 or 5/8 from close to the bottom of the pot to the top and then thread the plastic tube inside of it. The pvc will prevent the plastic tubing from being able to bend up against and plant or roots.
I am working to build a cage for the rain tower using PVC. My design utilizes a rectangular reservoir as opposed to the 5 gallon bucket.
Has anyone grown peppers or tomatoes in the rain tower. How does your cage function for supporting the weight of a plant with maturing fruit?
I'm planning to do Red Robin Tomatoes in mine. They only get 12-15" tall and wouldn't crowd out the plants about them (much). I was thinking of a PVC stand with a PVC cross above the tower with strings hanging down which plant clips could be attached to. Cheap and easy. Just a rough idea but might need extra support for high wind. I'm testing bush beans it it currently. Those shouldn't need support.
Do you have a photo of your tower that you could post? I'm going to attempt to make one and just trying to get as much info as I can on them. People seem to have many mods to it and would like to take advantage of all the new improvements over the original.
Thanks! - Troy
Has anyone used something other than rock wool cubes to start seeds? That is before the seedlings are placed in the expanded clay pellets in the net pots.
rlattajr, now remember, I am only a beginner. I am now to hydroponics this year. I was using rock wool cubes and plugs. Seeds would start. No issue. So I decided to step up my game. I bought a heat mat that you place under your starter tray. Leaving the dome on......Then I tried something called Oasis Cubes. A fellow grower recommended them to me. He said that they would have root sprout in 2 days. So I gave them a try. He wasent kidding. In two days I had nice tall, sturdy sprouts with roots going through the bottom of the cube.
Now remember I shifted gears, I bought a heat mat that keeps everything at a nice constant temp.
They work like a champ. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the information. I don't wish to use rock wool.
Are you just looking for a cheaper alternative? Right now I'm testing out cotton on strawberry runners. They are slow to root but I should know in a few days. Other than that I only use the 1" rockwool cubes for everything now since you get so many per sheet.
Vertical Tower w/ Chiller
Living in Florida makes growing in a tower a challenge during the summer. With temperatures in the high 80’s and low 90’s in Florida the nute solution will cook the roots of the plants.
I have seen a design from Mike Walker in Delaware who experimented with ice and a cooler as a reservoir.
I am trying to implement a chiller, either a commercial or modified dehumidifier or AC unit and plumb it into multiple towers. This setup may require the use of an additional reservoir and then plumbing into a manifold to distribute the solution to each tower. Another design would be use the chiller in a water reservoir and let the nutrient solution
@rlattajr Good point. no one mentioned much about cooling the reservoir and how important it is to keep the temp in the reservoir below 20C. I have my unit indoor at 26c indoor temp.
my reservoir is a rectangle 5 gallon and I wrapped some bubble wrap and drop in iced bottles 2 times a day to keep the temp around 20c.
you are on the right path.
1) Aquarium chillers (170$-500$) you will need a second pump for this.
2) DIY solution with a dehumidifier (acidic water my eat at the radiator in the nutrient solution in long term and cause micro nutrient imbalance. also the radiator is big so you will need a big tank to fit the radiator in and then pump the water to your water reservoir and back so multiple pumps. Humidifier new unit would be 200$ so you need some luck finding a cheap used one and then spend the time playing arround with it.
3) Thermoelectric cooler, smaller device, lower power to chill , higher power consumption, there are some options out there.. I am making my own unit (2 Peltier 12706 in series on top of each other with a CPU and fan cooler and high amperage power adapter) this gets technical and you need to know what you are doing a bit.
4) Insulate the heck out of your reservoir and drop in a frozen 1 gallon bottle daily.. the cooler is 30$ with split top so you can have access for a big 1 gallon jug. cheap easy no electricity.. mess with 2 frozen bottle and you will need room in your freezer for this.. and of course daily change of the bottle.
5) If you just need few Degree C drop in your water temp put a 12cm 12v fan on top of the water and let it blow at the water.. evaporation caused by this should give you few degree temp drop.. you are increasing your evaporation so a bigger reservoir would work better..
on the side note
I have whole bunch of strawberries in mine (albion -ever bearig) also the following
Basil, cilantro, cherry tomato, dwarf bell pepper soon I might add some other stuff
I grow the seeds in paper towel in a zip lock bag and once they are 2 inch tall I put them in the tower with plastic wrap for a week or 2 so they can catch on..
this way I don't add a medium that will effect my PH in the tower
next I might just grow the seed on paper tower and plastic wrap in the tower and skip the zip lock bag.
For people who are lazy to make this system they are being sold on ebay for not too much money
I made my chiller out of a small styrofoam cooler, a very small fountain pump and lots of tubing. I coiled most of a 10' roll of 1/2' tubing in the cooler and added water, salt and ice. One end of the tubing connected to the pump in the nutes tank. The other end was secured so it drained back into the nutes. Later I coved the exposed tubing with pipe insulation. Ran it when outside temps reached 70*. Worked really well!
Instead of loose ice you can just freeze plastic containers like 2ltr pop bottles or gallon milk jugs. They actually last longer and are less messy.
sounds good but still you need daily ice.
I also did not consider water temperature when building mine in Arizona. I ended up bringing inside and putting it next to a south facing window. I also complimented this by adding a flourescent light from Amazon. I've been trying to figure out a solution to this problem for awhile. Another thought I had was to somehow put the water reservoir indoors to get chilled from my indoor temperature and then pump it back outdoors to water the plants. I never ended up doing this but you gain the benefit of sunlight and the cooler temperature indoors.
I had mine outdoors in the shade growing lettuce all last summer and had no problem with the temps but I'm in Illinois. Somebody else buried their buckets to keep them cool.
I checked out ebay and found 3 different people selling them. One was a short tower...maybe 4' tall. Another was mad from round PVC and had purple PVC cement dripping down the sides. There was also a tall one that looks like the seller stopped selling them after a complaint about it breaking during shipping.
@ SleestaksRule Lettuce is very forgiving plant!
I have lettuce growing in the poorest conditions and it just does not give up!
I mostly just freeze water, pop and juice bottles.
Hello, I am a newbie here & have watched many of the rain tower videos and have all the supplies to build one except for the nutrient solution. Pardon me if I am missing something but can someone post a link to what type of nutrients, brand name, mixing, etc.? I can't seem to find this discussed in the videos--only the construction of the towers itself. There is no hydroponic store near me so I assume I have to buy solution online. Is there a mixing guide somewhere here?
I'm still confused on pH and PPM but trying to learn--I've never grown anything in my life--want to try this as a hobby.
Hi Kim. I'm new to this as well, and all the options can be a bit overwhelming. My current struggle is deciding what type of lighting to use. I am fortunate in having a new local hydroponics store with an owner who is eager to answer all my questions, so that helps a lot.
As to your question, I plan to try General Hydroponics FloraDuo A and FloraDuo B, mixed according to the package instructions for a few 'rounds'. Depending on the results I will try supplementing that with a few free samples the dealer gave me at his grand opening. It will take a while to get to that point, but once I do I'll post the results.
Please keep us updated on your project. I have Joi Choi seeds ordered that will be my first to sprout and add to the tower I'll build. As for the build, I have a few of my own minor tweaks in mind, nothing major but if anyone is interested I'll post some photos.
Thank you Bob for the reply. I will look into FloraDuo A&B. As for tweaking the build of the tower, the only thing I do not like about the tower is the 5 gallon bucket as for aesthetics. I'm working on finding a large decorative container that I can attach a lid to. I'll keep you posted.
Thank you again!
PH: make sure to soak your media . hydroton in PH 6 water for 2 hours or so to make sure it does not mess up your ph once in the sysytem, do not use organic stuff in your tower, stay away from lemon juice and vinegar to change the ph, those stuff are garbage and will destroy your system.
get general hydroponics PH down dry it will come in handy.
Air: If your water in your reservoir is above 20c adding an air stone helps preventing root rot and bacterial growth.. certainly if above 25c.
nutrients: get powder nuts, Hydro-gardens hobbyist formula is great and the cheapest you can get and will last you a life time,
the lighting is bigg issue since the towers are longa nd the light from above does not get the bottom plants well so you might end up using a light from bottom and one from top .. you have to be creative based on your space.
If your plants do not get enough light they will get weak, sick and infested.. so keep your plants happy and prevent issues..
I'm still really new to this myself. However, I've done a lot of research on this exact subject. I am currently using Maxigro (which was recommended by the owner of this website) so far I've had success and I am in week 3 of a NFT grow. I just follow the instructions on the bag, 1-2 tsp per gallon of water (I am doing 1 1/2 tsp per). Make sure you mix your nutrients well (I.E Dissolve them all in the water, no sinking particles or few at least) into your reservoir.
Make sure you remember how much water is in your reservoir, this will help you in knowing when to dump and change it out. After you mix your nutrients check the PH of the water. This website/link helped me out a lot in the process of all hydroponics.
I don't know much about PPM just yet, but that's my next venture.
One thing that I've learned is when do you know to change out your water. If you have a 5 gallon reservoir you need to keep it there. Track how much water you add, once you add 5 gallons more of water it's time to dump it and restart. (I hope that makes sense) I check my PH on a daily basis, mostly because I've invested a lot of time/money into a dream project. Controlling PH is the biggest thing, but making sure you don't over fertilize is also important. Follow the instructions on the bag and you should be successful.
Don't forget an air stone either!!
Hope this helps
Thank you Edery for the simply hydro link...that site did clear up a few things that I was still confused on.
Are saying that I still need an air stone in the Rain Tower? Does the air stone run 24/7 off an aquarium pump or does it need to be cycled 15 on/15 off like the nutrient pump?
Sorry for more questions!
You don't need an air stone in the tower. The roots are getting oxygen from dangling in the air. If it was a deep water culture system where the roots are constantly submerged then you would need an air stone.
The old style Aerogardens work the same way...no air stone.
Thank you SleestaksRule for the replies...glad to know that about airstones. I'm a newbie--never grew anything. My late husband did grow carnivorous plants though. Starting my tower build as soon as net pots & hydroton arrive tomorrow.
For the lettuce I used Maxigro at about 400 PPM. If your growing something like basil you'll want it higher at about 800 PPM. If you watch in the beginning of the video below I show that.
The meter I used in that video died a few years ago and I bought a cheap digital one from Amazon.
Here's a link to a chart showing all the different PPM for different veggies: http://www.tomorrowsgarden.net/node/11
Thanks for sending the link to the PPM meter you currently use. I'll be shopping for both a PPM meter and a pH meter this weekend. I've looked at a few and (as usual) the ones I see recommended most often are a bit pricey. Mind sharing your thoughts on the pros/cons of the ones you have used? I currently use this for testing pH and I'm a little concerned about the accuracy. I don't have anything to test PPM yet. To make matters a bit more confusing some sources use EC instead of PPM, claiming PPM can be misleading depending of what conversion factor the manufacturer uses. Gah! Maybe I should just plant the seed and stop trying to make it so complicated!
My first meter was the LED one and I got it back in 2006. It died in 2012. I paid way too much for it so decided to try the cheap digital one. I love that thing. I'm much more happy with a digital read out and it's accurate.
For mixing the nutrient powder I put some powder in a milk jug with a little water and shake it violently until dissolved. Then I add it to a 5 gallon bucket of water and adjust to the right ppm.
As for the PH I was using the drops like you have. When they ran out I bought a digital one which I also love. Here is the exact one I got: PH Meter. I got it in 2011 and it's still on the same batteries. There are cheaper ones on Amazon but this one I can say does work great.
I just ordered a combo package of the pH meter & PPM meter you posted about with free shipping. Am I correct in saying that instead of using a liquid pH down that I could just use a few drops of white vinegar and for pH up just use a little baking soda after I get a reading on the digital meter?
You can use lemon juice for PH down. I don't any more because I had all this gunky stuff on the roots when I was growing hydroponic cucumbers. I'm pretty sure it was the lemon juice that did it. Now I just buy some cheap PH Down, no special brand.
As for PH UP I've always used baking soda.without any problem. I never used vinegar with it.
I think you'll find the PH will go up as the plants grow so you'll be using more PH down.
Don't adjust your PH until the nutrients are all mixed in.
I thought these videos were worth sharing on how to keep your resivour cool outdoors during the summer heat. I don't have the problem here in the north but for those of you in the south, Mike Walker has a home made cure for keeping it cool.
Ingenious engineering !! The small water pump you used was a ?? Keep up the great work.
The problem I'm having is too much water overspray coming from the openings in the vertical water tower. I think maybe my water pump is putting out too much water. I currently have a 1/2" hose and wonder if I should go to a 3/8" hose. It is trickling down the sides from the top. I have a bigger size pump to accomodate my tower which is 8 feet. Also, I want to switch from the five gal bucket to a larger size (15 to 20 gal) but the tote I bought is too flimsy and doesn't hold the tower in place like the lid on the sturdier 5 gal bucket. Any ideas?
I just Use a ball valve to adjust the volume.
.......you got to let it grow!
The size of hose has no effect on the flow. The same amount will end up at the top regardless of the hose size. You can put a ball valve and a tee. The pump should putt out a fixed volume, so putting a valve after a tee allows the linked flow out the top while the excess flow goes out the tee. Just my opinion.
I stumbled on this photo today and remembered you guys are into it. Looks like one plant is not happy.
how do i plant strawberry with established root system in hydroponics?
if it comes from dirt I would incubate them for a while in a neutral system as they bring unwanted guests with them.
wash the roots well.. and put them in claypots in the system
nothing special about that
they are prone to root rot so do water changes often, make sure you have high dissolved O2.
If the conditions are right strawberry does great but in my experience they are a bit sensitive and you can see the effects of a stressor on them once things are off a bit so pay attention to them
Found this on YouTube
Have you received any pushback from Tower Garden? While not exactly the same, their tower looks quite similar. I want to build my own, but I wanted to see if you had any bad experiences with them.
Having built a unit that I used successfully for a year (indoors during winter), I wanted to have another unit however the build time seemed excessive. Instead I bought a Spring System from Bright Agrotech (brightagrotech.com) for less than twice the cost of materials. It is a well thought out unit, much quieter than the towers (important in winter) and they are a very customer orientated company. I would suggest you check them out. They are more into multiple tower systems (green walls) for commercial use but they scale very well down to the single tower 'Spring System'.
I love building and actually enjoy the time that goes into it. I have looked at BA quite a bit and their products and information are great! How is the production compared to the tower you built?
The sales people for the tower garden constantly attack me in forums and on youtube, lol. One lady just would not stop and I had to block her from my YouTube channel because she was getting a little insane. They keep spouting out all the selling points of the Tower Garden. The only thing wrong with the tower garden is the price.
I was inspired by your tower and created an indoor system. The bucket was placed into a PVC planter pot I picked up from Home Depot. I used spay installation foam to hold the bucket in place leaving a spot for the timer and electronic. I just finished it so we will see how it does.
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