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As read in its patent, the Tower Garden® is a general vertical hydroponic growing system, although it is at times confused to be an aeroponic system. Priced at over $500 and weighing over 150lbs when filled, it is a patented food production system designed for urban farms, rooftop gardens, and commercial growing operations. Because of its vertical design, the system is space and energy efficient. The basic unit has a 2.5' x 2.5' footprint, and uses modular stackable growing pots. With an 11-pot maximum configuration, you can grow up to 44 plants per tower with 90% less space and water and in a fraction of the time compared to conventional gardening.
The Tower Garden® is made from hardened polyurethane. Additionally, the Tower Garden® product is designed for decades of use. The plastic is several times thicker than almost all hydroponic products available on the market today. The plastic is also completely opaque, keeping all sunlight out (which naturally inhibits algae growth), and is UV stabilized for outdoor protection.
How it works
It relies upon a small pump drip irrigation repeat cycle timer and perforated cap to drip the mineral solution over plant roots rather than misting them with an atomizer nozzle or spray nozzle as is done in proper, conventional aeroponics. The system uses standard hydroponic rock wool set into an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic modular column that pumps water over plant roots.
Four plant net pot slots are vertically arranged on the four sides of each square module which are stacked to form a tower configuration. The Tower Garden unit has a 2.5' x 2.5' footprint and 25-gallon reservoir base with a small submersible pump for the mineral solution. The nutrient water is pumped to an outlet at the top of the tower and falls into a perforated basket which then drips through the spaces and perforations in the modules, humidifying and being absorbed by plant roots and finally mostly returning to the reservoir. The system uses less horizontal space than horizontal hydroponic designs.
Seeds for the Tower Garden® are started in natural rock fiber seeding cubes, as seen in the photo above and left. After germination, the cubes are placed in full light for a week or two, where they can develop into hardy seedlings ready to transplant into the Tower Garden®.
Inventor Tim Blank
In 1993, Tim took the first step toward what was to become his life’s work when he was hired by Walt Disney World in Florida as an advanced intern at Epcot Center’s Living with the Land pavilion. Living with the Land takes visitors on a boat ride through the American plains, the rain forest, and the African desert. Through this journey, the ride explores how innovative technologies, such as vertical gardening permit more efficient food growth while preserving the environment. The ride culminates in a futuristic world of plants growing without soil − a world that quickly became Tim’s domain.
Tim Blank was Greenhouse Manager for Epcot’s cutting-edge agricultural display until 2005. He left and founded Future Growing with the dream that someday everybody on the planet would have access to healthy food in their own home and local community.
At Future Growing, Tim developed this state-of-the-art vertical garden system. In 2011, Juice Plus+ purchased the rights to produce and distribute Tower Gardens for home use from Tim Blank and his company.
The system is marketed to home gardeners by Juice Plus+ and offered to commercial concerns by Future Growing, LLC, the company that designed it. Future Growing, set up several working Tower Garden systems in Terminal 3 of the G Concourse of O'Hare International Airport which grow produce for airport restaurants.
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