9 Replies Latest reply on Aug 27, 2017 12:36 PM by joed

    Tweaks?

    dniezby

      Just curious as to what "tweaks" people may be doing to their tower gardens?

       

      IE: Adding different pumps, adding bubblers, ways to monitor water levels, nutrients etc.

       

      I saw someone that installed a float valve that automatically triggers a valve to top off the water.

       

      So, what are things you may be doing to improve use or monitoring of your TG?

        • Re: Tweaks?
          joed

          Hi dniezby, Here are a few of my "tweaks":

           

          Use Sub-15 Minute Increment Nutrient Pump Timing Cycles

          Hands-down, this one tweak alone has provided the most positive results. There are too many benefits to discuss them all in detail here. The nutrient pump timing I use is always in the 1-3 minutes On, 5-12 minutes Off range... regardless of growing environment (indoors, outdoors, etc.).

           

          Use Adjustable Depth Grow Port Clips Instead of Net Pots

          Being able to control the depth of the rockwool starter plug inside the TG grow port has enabled me to control how much of the starter plug gets wet... thereby controlling how long the plug stays wet. This increased level of control has allowed me to get closer to the plug manufacturer's wet / dry ratio recommendations... which, has shown noted improvement in plant growth / health (especially with young seedlings) and together with sub-15 minute pump timing, has significantly reduced the levels of nutrient robbing algae growth on the plug's surface. The use of a clip has also made it a lot easier to remove / move plants without damaging their roots.

           

          Insulate the Nutrient Tub

          This tweak helps me keep the nutrient solution temperature in the critical 65° to 75° F range. I use water resistant, reflective bubble wrap for this purpose.

           

          Aerate the Nutrient Solution

          The use of an air pump and bubble diffuser in the TG nutrient tub helps maintain dissolved oxygen levels in the nutrient solution. The mixing action of the bubbles also helps mitigate nutrients from dropping-out of solution.

           

          Plug Unused Growing Ports & Tub Power Cord Hole

          I use 2-inch diameter neoprene "Cloning Collars" to prevent light, debris, external water and uninvited guests (like frogs & lizards) from entering the TG internals. A cloning collar is by far the best choice for this purpose... beating-out a host of other materials / devices such as wads of foil, plastic wrap, ping pong balls, K-cups, etc. etc. by a long shot.

           

          Weatherproof / Waterproof the TG Electrical System

          I replaced the stock nutrient pump timer with one that is 100% IP66 rated waterproof. I also use special weatherproof electrical insulation gaskets at every electrical cord / outlet connection. I also use a gasket and a protective outlet cover on all unused extension cord and wall outlet receptacles. This is done for indoor and outdoor TG's alike. Taking these steps mitigates power outages due to false GFCI device trips. It's also the "safety smart" thing to do.

           

          Filter the Water

          Regardless of the source, I always filter the water I use in my TG's. Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtered water is best. At the absolute minimum, I use a water filter that contains sediment + activated carbon + KDF filter elements. Using filtered water has significantly reduced the challenge of keeping the nutrient solution chemistry in-check.

           

          Use a pH Meter

          I use a pH meter with one button press calibration instead of a liquid pH Test kit to measure nutrient solution pH. A properly maintained pH meter is more accurate and far less prone to user error than liquid test kits.

           

          Quiet Indoor TG's

          I use a silencing device on all my indoor TG's to virtually eliminate the water noise it makes when the nutrient pump is on. One benefit of this is I now have more flexibility with TG placement in the house. Normally, I would not place a TG in a bedroom or in the same room with a TV or entertainment center as the TG nutrient cycling is distracting... it's an option now with a silenced TG.

           

          I have many more "tweaks" for the TG but I think the above is enough for now.

           

          BTW: You mentioned "float valve"... (as in auto-filling) - for what it's worth, I would not recommend this as a TG tweak unless you are using it with an external nutrient solution tank or auto-dosing system.

           

          -- [please mark this post as "Correct Answer" (under Actions menu) and/or "Helpful" when appropriate] -- Happy Growing! -JoeD towergarden level2concepts tgtech TG Tech

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Tweaks?
              dniezby

              Do you have any links for any of these things like the grow port clips or ways to quiet water flow?  Though, I think I would love that sound. We have fans running in every room 24/7 for that white noise.


              I was thinking of getting digital timers. Water and Lighting..  I'm 100% indoor (Condo life) I might be able to do another one next year on my deck but for now, it's all indoor.  Need a better way to light my tower than the cage lights.  The downfall with the cage is distance.  Any nice looking practical lighting methods you guys know of? 

               

              If you have seen Microsoft's TG's they have a wonderful set up. Wish I could get that set up.  But again, there is no way to move the lights as plants grow.

               

              As for water, I just use tap water with a carbon filter.

               

              One of the best "Tweaks"  you posted has to be what I think too many people forget - closing off open ports. Great idea on using the Neoprene plugs.

               

              Hope we find more cool "tweaks" here.

                • Re: Tweaks?
                  joed

                  Hi dniezby, As requested...

                   

                  =-=

                  Use Sub-15 Minute Increment Nutrient Pump Timing Cycles

                   

                  HYTimer®

                  http://www.level2concepts.com/hytimer

                   

                  =-=

                  Use Adjustable Depth Grow Port Clips Instead of Net Pots

                   

                  GPClip™

                  http://www.level2concepts.com/gpclip

                   

                  =-=

                  Insulate the Nutrient Tub

                   

                  Reflective Bubble Pack Insulation

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BPAULS

                   

                  =-=

                  Aerate the Nutrient Solution

                   

                  Indoor: Tetra Whisper Air Pump

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0009YF4FI/

                   

                  Outdoor: TetraPond APK100 Air Pump Kit

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CQ7JRAY

                   

                  Standard Airline Tubing

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002563MW/

                   

                  Air Pump Check Valve

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N92AXHF/

                   

                  4-Inch Air Stone Disc Bubble Diffuser with Suction Cup

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M9DL67H/

                   

                  =-=

                  Plug Unused Growing Ports & Tub Power Cord Hole

                   

                  Grow Port Plugs

                  https://towertalk.jiveon.com/docs/DOC-131415

                   

                  =-=

                  Weatherproof / Waterproof the TG Electrical System

                   

                  HYTimer® + Weatherproof Gaskets

                  http://www.level2concepts.com/hytimer

                  http://www.level2concepts.com/gaskets

                   

                  =-=

                  Filter the Water

                   

                  Sediment+Carbon+KDF (Minimal Filtration):

                   

                  Camco 40043 TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector

                  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006IX87S

                   

                  Replacement Cartridges: Camco Water Filter, 2 Pack

                  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-2-Pack/14504322

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0024E6V30

                   

                  Reverse Osmosis / RO (Best Filtration):

                   

                  Hydro-Logic 150 GPD Stealth RO150 Reverse Osmosis Filter

                  https://www.amazon.com/Hydro-Logic-Stealth-Reverse-Osmosis-Filter/dp/B01MYVS35X/

                   

                  =-=

                  Use a pH Meter

                   

                  Oakton EcoTestr pH 2+ Pocket pH Meter:

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYV3938/

                   

                  pH Meter Accessories...

                   

                  Calibration & Storage Solutions:

                  (bottles last a long time)

                  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MSZ4Q7Z/

                   

                  Replacement Batteries:

                  (more than you'll ever need - but it's an awesome deal)

                  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ISD96X8/

                   

                  =-=

                  Quiet Indoor TG's

                   

                  TGSilencer™

                  http://www.level2concepts.com/tgsilencer

                   

                  =-=

                   

                  -- [please mark this post as "Correct Answer" (under Actions menu) and/or "Helpful" when appropriate] -- Happy Growing! -JoeD towergarden level2concepts tgtech TG Tech

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Tweaks?
                    joed

                    Hi dniezby,

                     

                    "Need a better way to light my tower than the cage lights."

                    What specific aspects of the TG Grow Lights Kit do you feel could use improvement?

                     

                    "The downfall with the cage is distance."

                    Can you elaborate on this?

                     

                    -- [please mark this post as "Correct Answer" (under Actions menu) and/or "Helpful" when appropriate] -- Happy Growing! -JoeD towergarden level2concepts tgtech TG Tech

                      • Re: Tweaks?
                        dniezby
                        Elaborate I will.


                        The cage limits the range from plant to light source.  In fact, it is completely set. If plants grow larger for example peppers or another bushy plant, the distance from plant to light source can't be expanded and eventually, the plant will grow to touch or try to pass the lights causing burns or other damage. 


                        TG needs an expansive lighting system. Right now, I use a simple PVC rig that stands up around the TG and I can move the lights closer or farther as needed to spread the light across surface area of plants. 


                          • Re: Tweaks?
                            joed

                            The TG Grow Lights Kit was designed for use with plants that are harvested during their vegetative growth stage (leafy greens, herbs, etc.). Harvesting / pruning of vegetative growth plants should begin before they touch the grow light bulbs. The kit was not designed for use with flowering / fruiting plants as this type of plant has different grow light requirements that vary over the plant's lifetime. In addition, flowering / fruiting plants have different physical characteristics, such as they generally tend to be larger / bushier / wandering (vine). In short, an adjustable lighting system is outside the scope of requirements for the design (a long winded way to say: it's not necessary).

                             

                            That being said, you are not alone in your desire to have a grow light system for the TG that is designed to promote the indoor growth of flowering / fruiting plants. Unfortunately, that's a tall order (and a costly one at that). Such a kit would need to be designed from scratch and you would discover quickly that such a kit could easily cost more than the TG system itself. It should be noted that all of the "tweaks" that attempt to modify the design of the existing TG Grow Light Kit so that can include the growth of flowering / fruiting plants are nothing more than a compromise (i.e. rob Peter to pay Paul). If you understand these compromises and are willing to work around them, then hacking the existing grow lights kit is most likely the best way to go (and a task that is best left to the end user).

                             

                            -- [please mark this post as "Correct Answer" (under Actions menu) and/or "Helpful" when appropriate] -- Happy Growing! -JoeD towergarden level2concepts tgtech TG Tech

                              • Re: Tweaks?
                                dniezby

                                joed wrote:

                                 

                                The TG Grow Lights Kit was designed for use with plant that are harvested during their vegetative growth stage (leafy greens, herbs, etc.). Harvesting / pruning of vegetative growth plants should begin before they touch the grow light bulbs. The kit was not designed for use with flowering / fruiting plants as this type of plant has different grow light requirements that vary over the plant's lifetime. In addition, flowering / fruiting plants have different physical characteristics, such as they generally tend to be larger / bushier / wandering (vine). In short, an adjustable lighting system is outside the scope of requirements for the design (a long winded way to say: it's not necessary).

                                 

                                That being said, you are not alone in your desire to have a grow light system for the TG that is designed to promote the indoor growth of flowering / fruiting plants. Unfortunately, that's a tall order (and a costly one at that). Such a kit would need to be designed from scratch and you would discover quickly that such a kit could easily cost more than the TG system itself. It should be noted that all of the "tweaks" that attempt to modify the design of the existing TG Grow Light Kit so that can include the growth of flowering / fruiting plants are nothing more than a compromise (i.e. rob Peter to pay Paul). If you understand these compromises and are willing to work around them, then hacking the existing grow lights kit is most likely the best way to go (and a task that is best left to the end user).

                                 

                                -- [please mark this post as "Correct Answer" (under Actions menu) and/or "Helpful" when appropriate] -- Happy Growing! -JoeD towergarden level2concepts tgtech TG Tech

                                I definitely agree that it's designed for smaller vegetative plants and you're correct, for plants like that, they should be harvested long before they grow to the lights. It's my mixed crop creates this issue.  Ideally, I need some herbs but

                                 

                                As for designing an adjustable lighting system, I think TG's issue is designing one that looks pretty on it's tower.  It's very easy to design a lighting system that would work independently of the system.

                                 

                                In fact, as I write this, I actually just came up with a design that would accomplish both. Look nice and be extendable. Oh and be affordable. Time to hit the 3D drawings.

                      • Re: Tweaks?
                        joed

                        Hi dniezby, Here are a few more "tweaks":

                         

                        Seedling Shields

                        Provide additional protection and support for young seedlings.

                        https://towertalk.jiveon.com/docs/DOC-1215

                         

                        TG Nutrient Tub "Dipstick"

                        If you are performing proper TG nutrient solution maintenance, all you really need to know is when your nutrient solution level is down by 5-gallons. An easy way to check for 5-gallons down is to use the long end of the TG Tub Access Port Cover. Holding the Tub Access Port Cover as shown in the photo below, nutrient solution level is down approx. 5-gallons when liquid level just touches the lower edge of the cover.

                        TG_Tub_Lid_Dipstick.jpg

                         

                        -- [please mark this post as "Correct Answer" (under Actions menu) and/or "Helpful" when appropriate] -- Happy Growing! -JoeD towergarden level2concepts tgtech TG Tech

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