I am growing mixed lettuce in six TG for a local organic food store as an experimental business (ad)venture. It is going quite well. My first TG was planted at the beginning of December and I have enjoyed seven bountiful harvests from it. Now it is time to throw out the remaining plants (I am down to half capacity in the tower at this point due to strategic culling), clean the tower, and re-plant with new lettuce seedlings. My questions are pretty basic.
1. Should I remove the black plastic baskets, some of which, have dried dead roots attached at the bottom? If so, how to safely remove them as it isn't obvious to me that they are easily removed without breakage. Or, should I simply use a stiff brush and scrub them while leaving them inside the tower?
2. Do you recommend taking apart the entire tower and giving it a thorough cleaning, or, is this unnecessary? What cleaning solution is recommended?
3. I have yet to clean the pump or its filter. Do you recommend that I do so?
Thanks in advance for your responses. Thelma
Since you have six I'd recommend you break one down completely and clean all the pieces (I've done this, took me less than an hour) and if you find it super dirty needed than proceed to do the rest. I personally didn't find mine really needed it tbh. I tried my best to soak everything in hot water w/a little bleach before I scrubbed them.
I think that once you determine if you want to break them down completely you can decide on the black baskets. I'd just scrub them where they are if you choose not to break them down because reality is you would need to take off those tower pieces to safely remove them without the risk of breaking them. However, they are still usable cracked, I cracked a few just pulling them out and they still stay intact in the pods.
Yes you should clean the pump and filter, I found this: "Clean the pump filter monthly. unplug the pump, pull the pump up through the access port and remove the pump cover. clean with water to remove debris. Or, another technique is to turn off the pump and firmly place a garden hose at the top of the center stem in your shower cap. This will blow old root debris out of the filter into the bottom of the tank. Be sure to clean out the debris from the tank bottom or it will clog your pump."
Hope this helps!
Thank you for your response. I am happy to report that I broke down two of my TG and brought the subunits home and placed them to soak in my bath tub in hot water and H2O2 overnight. Then, I scrubbed everything down with a nylon scrub/sponge the next day. I even recycled all of the black net pots successfully. After that, I took all of the components back to my grow shed and reassembled everything and then re-planted with a new generation of lettuces. It all went smoothly and I feel more confident now having completed my first 'recycle' of my TG. Thanks so much for your guidance.
By the way, I continue to be utterly amazed at the elegance of the TG design and would love to hear Tim Blank speak about the various prototypes of the TG and how the whole evolution of design was carried out over the years. What worked? What didn't work? What were some of the funny stories along the way? The TG is truly a manifestation of brilliance. I live in a very remote and isolated aboriginal community in Canada and our community members are quite impressed with what these TG can do.
Hi firstname.lastname@example.org, A few comments...
- If you use Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) anywhere near your TG, PLEASE make sure it is "food grade". FYI: Most common 3% H2O2 brown bottles from your local pharmacy are not food grade (they contain synthetic stabilizer compounds you really don't want near your food). Also, be VERY careful working with H2O2. Concentrations above 3% will burn / discolor skin.
- Next cleanup, try a mix of 3% food grade H2O2, white vinegar and Dr. Bronner's Castile soap (http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Bronners-Magic-Soaps-Pure-Castile/dp/B00120VWJ0).
- Give this cleanup process a try: http://www.towergarden.com/content/towergarden/en-us/blog/2015/08/cleaning-tower-garden.html
FYI... Although Tim Blank was instrumental in turning the TG product into a marketable system for commercial and residential use, he was not the actual inventor. That distinction goes to a man named Morris Bryan. For Morris, it was a 25 year journey from "twinkle-in-the-eye" to patent.
This document was generated from the following discussion: Recycling the TG for the first time....any suggestions?