Vertical Farming Towers: The Revolution

The farmlands stretch as far as the horizon, green and lush. Soon there will be tons of vegetables and herbs on their way to the market. A horn in the traffic blasts you out of your daydream, and you realise you’re on the balcony of your apartment, with not a patch of ground in sight. But with a vertical farming tower, you can grow your own produce on that tiny balcony. What a treat!

Vertical farming Tower gardens are a type of controlled urban farming in which crops are grown in vertically stacked layers. Using hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics, these tower gardens can be used to grow a variety of leafy greens and other small plants.

According to Wikipedia, large-scale vertical farming towers are often housed in tunnels, abandoned mines, shipping containers, and unused buildings. Individuals growing their own produce at home only need a small space indoors or on a covered balcony. 

What Is Tower Farming?

Rick Leblanc defines tower farming as a method of growing food on a vertical surface, which is also known as vertical farming. This approach produces foods in vertically stacked layers rather than growing vegetables and other foods in fields or greenhouses. As such, vertical farming towers are a vital piece of equipment.

Tower farming has the advantage of allowing crops to be grown in places where traditional farming is not possible, such as cities with limited space. Furthermore, tower farms can be used to grow food all year long, regardless of the weather. Grow lights are typically used in tower farms to provide the plants with the light they require to photosynthesise, and some tower farms also use automation to assist with tasks such as planting and harvesting.

The focal aim of a vertical farm tower is to maximise plant growth in a small area. This modern concept incorporates indoor farming techniques and Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology. Due to artificial temperature, light, humidity, and gas management, indoor food and pharmaceutical production is made possible. 

Image showing hydroponic towers growing lettuce.
Hydroponic farming towers are ideal for crops such as lettuce.

The vertical farming tower method can grow great quality vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers. Kale, broccoli, all types of lettuce, spinach, and an endless list of herbs are just a few examples of common tower greens. The seedlings are frequently planted in a growing medium like coconut husk rather than in soil.

With no soil, there are fewer pests. Consequently, tower farmers don’t use any pesticides, which is a massive benefit for our health. They grow the produce in 100% controlled environments. Troy Albright explains in a related youtube video that the farmer controls the water, the nutrients, and the light, eliminating most elements that would be detrimental to the health of the plants.

You can check out this video for a clear explanation of vertical farming towers.

How Do You Make A Vertical Tower Grow? 

Seedlings germinate in soilless mediums such as coconut husks, Rockwool, or natural stone fiber. When the plants are about 1 to 2 inches tall, farmers place them in the growing cavities so that the roots of the seedlings can grow inside the tower.

According to Cindy Quarters, plants get their necessary hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon from water and air. They also need other nutrients and minerals for growth and health. Some of the vital nutrients are:

  • Calcium
  • Nitrogen
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Iron
  • Cobalt
  • Manganese
  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Sulfur
  • Boron
  • Molybdenum
  • Potassium

Aeroponic solutions provide all of the necessary minerals and nutrients in just the right proportions. The aeroponic systems have tiny nozzles that spray nutrient solution over the plants every 10-15 minutes throughout the day. farming tower can use any of the 3 main methods, hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics.

The nutritious mist clings to the exposed roots, allowing them to absorb some of the good stuff. When the liquid drips off the roots, they take in some oxygen. This process creates almost perfect growing conditions, resulting in superb quality healthy food in a shorter period.

Tower Garden Aeroponic Technology

Aeroponics is an advanced version of hydroponics that involves growing plants in an air or mist environment rather than in soil. Aeroponic systems use liquid nutrients, water, and a soilless growth medium resulting in infinitely more nutritious, colorful, and tastier food.

Tower Gardens are vertical farming units sold by a company called  Juice Plus. They come with seeds, nutrient solutions, and other supplies available in indoor and outdoor versions. 

Image showing aeroponic towers.
An example of aeroponic vertical farm towers.

A submersible pump in the reservoir sends the nutrient solution to the top of the tower via a small central hose. When it reaches the top, it passes through a device that causes it to drizzle evenly over the plants and back down to the reservoir. 

The aeroponic tower garden technology provides the plants with near-perfect growing conditions. The Tower Garden uses a timer to repeat the process at the correct intervals to ensure optimum delivery and absorption of oxygen, nutrients, and water. In a few weeks, the plants are ready for harvest. 

Aside from a few simple tasks, Tower Gardens require very little of the gardener. You need to check the water levels and clean the pump filter, but no hard labor is involved. What a bonus!

What Is The Price Range Of Vertical FarmingTowers?

The price of a vertical farming tower can vary depending on the size and features of the tower, but they typically range from $500 to $2000. Towers that are large enough to support a commercial operation can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Agrotonomy, the cost of regular a vertical farming tower ranges from $495 for a 28-plant tower to $600 for a 52-plant tower. Microgreen towers that hold more plants can cost up to $660. The nutrient solution will likely cost $300 for a 6-month supply for a farm of 30 towers. 

Are Tower Gardens Worth It?

While vertical farming towers can be expensive, many people believe that they are worth the cost because they offer a way to produce healthy food in an efficient and sustainable way. We have so many reasons to grow your own vegetables. It’s a lot of fun, you control the quality, and it’s convenient, to name a few.

Benefits of Vertical farm tower gardening, include:

DIY Vertical Farming Tower

Some companies sell do-it-yourself tower farm kits that can be assembled for a fraction of the price of a pre-made tower. If you want to start your own vertical farm, there are a few things you should think about. First, you must decide what kind of plants you want to grow. Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach are popular choices, but you can also grow herbs or even flowers. Second, you must select a location for your farm. Vertical farms can be built indoors or outdoors, but the majority of people prefer to build them in an unused space such as a basement or garage. Third, you’ll need to buy the farm’s necessary equipment. If you’re using hydroponics, this includes grow lights, towers, and pumps. Finally, establish a watering and feeding schedule for your plants.

DIY Vertical Tower

It’s easy to see the benefits of growing food in a vertical farming unit. Perhaps you fancy being self-sufficient, or maybe the idea of developing a business from this concept is inspiring you. But if you don’t have the funds for this, try making this DIY version.

The tower farm uses vinyl fence posts for the towers, a 45-gallon tank, some PVC piping, vinyl fence post tops, a low wattage submersible pump, a light timer, and a length of vinyl hose. You could be harvesting your own food within weeks with some nominal start-up costs. Full instructions are given by Oklahoma State University. 

Final Thoughts on Vertical Farming Towers

Vertical farming towers have tremendous benefits, and anybody can grow their own food. It can even be the start of a new business or feeding scheme. The aeroponic technology allows us to grow food to conserve the earth’s resources while producing far more crops of excellent quality in a faster time. What’s not to love about that? Let’s start that DIY project and get growing!

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