rockwool
rockwool

Holds your seeds and will maintain moisture like a sponge. Don't squeeze.

Grow Light
Grow Light

Optional. Keep seeds and young plants a few inches from the light. Grow lights are designed to give a specific temperature of light, 6500K.

net pots
net pots

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.

hydroton
hydroton

Clay balls that help regulate moisture and hold your plants in place. They are chemically inert, so will not affect your water's pH.

gh maxigro
gh maxigro

General Hydroponics MaxiGro is my preferred nutrient for early stage plants. Buy it online or at a local hydroponics supply store.

gh maxi bloom
gh maxi bloom

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.

Timer
Timer

Get a timer with 15 minute intervals. Found and hardware, hydroponic supply stores, or, of course, online.

PPM Meter
PPM Meter

(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.

pH Measure and Adjust
pH Measure and Adjust

(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

Parsley, Basil, Rosemary
Parsley, Basil, Rosemary

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.

Young Plants
Young Plants

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.

Lettuce
Lettuce

Bibb Lettuce did extremely well and grew faster than I could eat it.

Lettuce
Lettuce

This was some kind of looseleaf lettuce. It was great for salads.

Strawberries
Strawberries

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.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

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.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

More Jalapeños... seriously, they loved the hydroponics.

Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers

I chose small bell peppers (about 1/2 size) so they would be less likely to break off of the branch.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes

Somehow I managed to forget to take pictures of my full-sized tomatoes, but we had tons of cherry and yellow pear tomatoes.