Getting Into Your Tower
Once your plants look like they are getting strong and they have some roots coming out of the bottom, you are ready to get them into your tower. If the temperature outside is a lot hotter than indoors you will want to do this in stages. In the image below are some plants in the front (lettuce) and back rows (peppers) that are ready for hardening outdoors.
Before placing your plants in the tower you want to harden them to the outdoor conditions. To do this put them outside in shade for a few hours a day. If possible avoid the hottest part of the day. Most of us work, so if this isn't possible just make sure they aren't in direct sun, and have a little water in their tray.
After a few days, about a week, you can place them in their baskets with the hydroton and more them into your tower.
I moved a few things into my tower that grew very fast. This was basil on top, sage on the bottom, and some pepper plants (not pictured). On the right is some parsley that survived the winter. As you can see in the images they seem to be doing well after about a week outdoors.
I've also moved summer snow peas, summer squash, and small cucumbers into my smaller tower. These three are an experiment, as they are vining plants and I'm not sure how well they will do in the tower setup.
I plan on using three or four towers this year. The tallest tower on the left will be for smaller plants, or those not requiring support. These will be lettuce and herbs. I also use this tower as a starter for larger plants before I move them over to the medium tower that will have a tomato cage.
The small tower is for the test plants, as previously mentioned.
The medium tower will be for tomatoes and peppers once they are large enough. Pepper plants require support because of the weight of the fruit the produce. Last year I lost about 4 plants when they snapped from the weight when not properly supported. I may just do tomatoes on the medium tower and not use all the openings after my debacle last year with too many tomato plants on a single tower. What a mess. Almost no yield and a nightmare to take apart after the season ended.
The tall tower is 5 feet (5 gallon), the medium will be 4 feet (5 gallon), and the small is 2 feet (2.5 gallon). I also have a 3 foot size (3.5 gallon) that I might do just peppers in.
My tomato seeds are taking forever to germinate. I'm beginning to wonder if they are going to sprout at all. If I don't see any movement in the next week Im going to start a new round of seeds. If it's a total bust I'll just bot some small tomato plants and just wash and transplant the roots into a basket. Next post I'll try and show the steps for transplanting from dirt. I bought a bucket of mixed herbs from Trader Joe's, oregano, rosemary, and sage. One sage plant is more than I need, but it's still fun to have a full tower.