Whether or not you believe in climate change, the fact is that summer can get hot enough to stress out the plants in your Tower Garden.
And that would be bad news on so many levels.
Stressed out plants emit a hormone that attracts pests.
Besides, under heat stress, plant growth and production suffer. Some plants, like lettuce and spinach, bolt and produce seed. At this point, they’re too bitter to eat.
So what’s an enthusiastic edible gardener to do?
If your Tower Garden is indoors, the temperature is much less of an issue. You can easily make it cooler. But even inside the house, your Tower — and your plants — can get overheated, especially if it's by a west-facing window (which gets intense afternoon sun). Trust me on this; I speak from experience.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to enjoy continuous harvests on your Tower Garden even through the hottest days of summer.
Grow Heat-Tolerant Plants
You’ll increase your chances of success by growing plants that tolerate — even crave — the heat. Examples of heat-tolerant plants include:
That's precisely why these are popular summer crops.
Now if you want to grow greens, you still can! Simply plant varieties of lettuce, mustard, and spinach that are more heat-tolerant than others. Do take note that you may have to start these seeds indoors, where it's cooler, and then move them to your outdoor Tower Garden.
Protect the Tower from Heat
Keep the Tower Garden as cool as possible.
If it’s outside, consider moving it to a shaded area. It will also help to elevate it on a Tower Garden dolly, or to place it on a surface that absorbs heat (e.g., concrete, tile, or brick) instead of one that radiates it.
Consider using a Weather Protection Blanket. Or rig up a sun shade using swaths of lightweight fabric.
Indoors, move your Tower away from west-facing windows. They get the most intense afternoon heat. Keep curtains or blinds closed, and switch on the air conditioner.
Frozen Water Bottle Trick
If it’s so hot that the water in the reservoir is getting too hot, you can lower the temperature. Freeze a couple of water bottles then place them in the reservoir. Keep extra frozen bottled water in the freezer, so you’ll always have some on hand when the other two thaw out.
When the temperature is high, it’s also a good idea to add just half of the nutrients than what’s called for. Heat causes water in the reservoir to evaporate faster, which makes the nutrients more concentrated.
More Frequent Watering
Just like in-soil gardeners, Tower Gardeners also have to water more frequently in hot weather. You can accomplish this by running the pump more often.
Outdoors, bypass the timer and run the pump continuously during the hottest part of the day.
If your Tower is indoors, switch the pump to the outdoor setting (3 minutes on, 12 minutes off) when it’s sweltering.
Because the Tower Garden is a closed system, running the pump more often doesn't consume as much water as watering plants that are growing in soil.
Follow these steps and you can happily keep growing in your Tower Garden, even in a heat wave.
The Bottom Line:
Whether your Tower Garden is outdoors or indoors, there are steps you can take to protect your plants from even the most scorching days of summer. This will ensure that your plants stay healthy, happy, and productive.
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