Holds your seeds and will maintain moisture like a sponge. Don't squeeze.
Optional. Keep seeds and young plants a few inches from the light. Grow lights are designed to give a specific temperature of light, 6500K.
These hold your plants and go into your tower. They have slits in the bottom to allow water in and your plant's roots to grow out.
Clay balls that help regulate moisture and hold your plants in place. They are chemically inert, so will not affect your water's pH.
General Hydroponics MaxiGro is my preferred nutrient for early stage plants. Buy it online or at a local hydroponics supply store.
General Hydroponics MaxiBloom is my preferred nutrient for blooming flowers and growing fruits and veggies. Buy it online or at a local hydroponics supply store.
Get a timer with 15 minute intervals. Found and hardware, hydroponic supply stores, or, of course, online.
(optional) Measures how many parts per million of solids is in your water. Good water should be under 50 ppm. With your plant food, it should be between 800 and 1500 ppm. Add water to dilute or nutrients to strengthen. You can easily measure this in the water in the lid of your tower. Buy online or at a hydroponics supply store.
(optional) I use General Hydroponics pH Up/Down and testing. Most plants do best in a pH around 6 to 6.5. If you need to adjust it start small, especially with powder concentrate and give few minutes for the solution to cycle and mix. You don't want to chase a number up and down.
Tools of the Trade
Your tower will come with everything you need to start, but eventually you may need to order additional supplies, such as nutrients. If you want to up your grow game you can also measure water pH and use grow lights to strengthen your seedlings while still indoors.
Last Year's Towers
Herb tower did really well over the winter (Portland, OR). I left a few of the pots empty since I wasn't going to need as many herbs as I was growing.
Once the outdoor season I started, I began putting my extra plants outside in the sun just in case one of my main plants didn't do well.
Bibb Lettuce did extremely well and grew faster than I could eat it.
This was some kind of looseleaf lettuce. It was great for salads.
My strawberries didn't do very well, but I think they were damaged in the transplant process. I've heard they typically do well in hydroponics.
I had as many Jalapeños as I could use and ended up make a pepper jelly that was great with wine and crackers with the 3 pounds I harvested at season end.
More Jalapeños... seriously, they loved the hydroponics.
I chose small bell peppers (about 1/2 size) so they would be less likely to break off of the branch.
Somehow I managed to forget to take pictures of my full-sized tomatoes, but we had tons of cherry and yellow pear tomatoes.