This document has been created in the interest of empowering new growers to enter the world of aeroponics feeling confident, supported and poised for success. We at Grow For You Inc. do not stake claim of copyright on any of this content. This information is all freely available through other resources. We have simply compiled what we believe to be the most relevant and useful content, combined it with our own experience and tried to make it straight forward, in order to provide an easy starting foundation. We welcome and encourage sharing and passing along of this book. We would also deeply appreciate feedback and suggestions about how to add or improve content.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the interest of continued knowledge-sharing and building a community of
aeroponic home growers please send us your pictures and stories of both success
and learning! We will share on our website and via social media so that others can
learn from YOU.
Welcome to the world of Home Aeroponics!
Whether you opt to buy a Grow For You Inc. Vertical Garden Tower or find another avenuefor growing, Grow For You Inc. is dedicated to making the benefits of aeroponic growing accessible to all. We are committed to sharing information and offering resources to foster success. We are constantly learning and expanding our own knowledge through experience, experimentation, observation and following the advice of other growers. We highly encourage you to do the same but recognize it can be overwhelming. Our efforts will focus on steering you toward informative resources. Please visit our site regularly to find updates and information. Of course you can always message with specific questions if you
need further direction. This Growers Guide is designed to start you off on your best foot. Here you will find the foundational information to understand the needs of an aeroponic system so that you can grow successfully while you continue to expand your own knowledge. We expect that you will soon find yourself enjoying the fruits of your own garden while building confidence in
your new found skills. We hope you find it helpful and encourage feedback to help improve this resource for others.
If you are a Grow For You Inc. Tower Owner,Thank you for your interest and purchase of a Grow For You Inc. vertical garden. All Grow For You Inc. towers are handmade and custom painted with great care. Each unit is tested before and after assembly to ensure proper flow and no leaks. We use UL approved submersible water pumps and all new components to create your assembly.
We stand by our work and ask that should you encounter any problems with the structure of your tower you contact us directly so that we may work to resolve them.
Kate and Eric
Grow For You Inc.
What is Hydroponics?
The most familiar method for growing plants is in soil. This is sensible given that in the
natural environment plants root themselves in soil in order to access the needed nutrients to grow and produce. Under ideal environmental circumstances there would be enough nutrient content in the soil, enough moisture, sunlight and warmth to propagate healthy plants and in turn support the needs of the world’s population. Unfortunately in today’s climate, circumstances are less than ideal. Plants do not always thrive, the needs of the population have become extremely high, and the process of cultivating and transporting food has become costly to both the environment and the health of our food. Hydroponics is a response to understanding the basic needs of plants. It is a methodology based on recognizing that plants do not need soil. They need the nutrients found within the soil. Plants – like all organisms – need water, sunlight, warmth, oxygen and nutrition. If we provide these things we can produce healthful plants anywhere!
Hydroponics, by definition, is a method of growing plants in a water based, nutrient rich solution. Hydroponics does not use soil, instead the root system is supported using ‘’growing medium’’ such as rockwool, coconut husk, peat moss, or vermiculite. The basic concept is to allow plants’ roots to come in direct contact with nutrients, while also having access to oxygen. By controlling the environment around the hydroponic system we can optimize the growth of the plant. There are many methods of hydroponics, one of which is referred to as aeroponics. Aeroponics is the preferred method of Grow For You Inc. not to the exclusion of other methods, but because it is simple, effective and can be done vertically -allowing maximization of space.
The main difference between aeroponics and traditional gardening is that there is no soil involved. This is advantageous for multiple reasons including but not limited to:
– Allows control of environment, growth and variables that affect production. (Grow indoors or outdoors)
– Used indoors, avoids insects and other pests removing need for pesticides.
– Allows clean low maintenance and consistent production with minimum water consumption.
– Provides an inexpensive option to grow year round produce without depleting soil minerals.
– No weeding!
In aeroponics the roots of plants are exposed to air the majority of the time. As in all hydroponic methods these plants are then fed by a nutrient rich water supply that is delivered by droplets or mist in timed intervals throughout the day/night cycle. This promotes a hearty root system which facilitates the efficient growth of strong healthy plants. Grow For You Inc. uses a ‘’rain tower’’ system. We prefer this approach because it avoids problems with clogging that other systems encounter. For the average home grower we think this is an important factor to consider.
Components of a Hydroponic/ Aeroponic System
There are SO many configurations and approaches that work effectively to grow
hydroponic food. From Do It Yourself constructions to high tech farms. Many use misting systems and many use living fish to provide nutrition. No matter which approach you choose the important components are actually very simple.
1) A method by which to hold the plant in place with roots exposed
2) A water reservoir
3) Circulation/recuperation of water
4) Maintenance of water quality
5) A form of nutrient enrichment
6) A method of delivering water to the roots
7) Light exposure
8) Temperature regulation
Some helpful considerations:
1) Water exposed to too much light will develop algae
2) Water exposed to open air will lose volume through evaporation
3) Space and desired crop volume will determine vertical or horizontal systems
4) Access to water and electrical will determine what type of pump and size of
reservoir you will use
● Aeroponics uses 95-98% less water than traditional agriculture making it an
excellent option for areas where access to clean water is challenging.
You the grower
This section will be your best friend in the early days of aeroponic gardening. In the following pages we will walk you through the key components of successful growth. Whether you choose a market available growing system or embark on DIY your role as grower is essentially the same.
As the grower your role is to:
1) Ensure water quality
2) Ensure the environment is appropriate for growth
3) Provide for the nutritional needs of your plants
That’s it! With just these 3 components you will find yourself eating home grown
aeroponic produce in a matter of months.
There are home growers who have been successful in an extremely simplified approach wherein they simply mix their store purchased nutrients according to label and fill their reservoir. Switching their water every 2-3 weeks without measuring, adjusting or even monitoring. We think this is worth mentioning, because it can be that simple. However we endeavour to share further knowledge because we think knowledge is power and the more you know – the more you can grow! Your home environment will affect your garden to some degree. For example a warm, dry home will increase demand for water. A darker room will demand you use lighting sources. Dust, debris or smoke in the air will affect your ppm (parts per million). For this reason there is a slight learning curve for all new growers and no one can perfectly advise another gardener without understanding the environmental variables. We recommend new growers check their system a minimum of once per week. You will not necessarily need to take action every time – but it is best to be attentive.
Each time you check your system you should:
1) Check the “plugs” or growing medium. They should be damp – not soaked. The
colour may change but they should be free of mold and mildew
2) Check pH. It should fall between 5.5 and 6.5
3) Check ppm. It should fall between 800 and 1600
4) Ensure lighting needs are met. Minimum 12 hours per day
5) Ensure temperature needs are met
6) Observe the condition of your plants (This is the fun part)
Let’s look at these steps in more detail.
If your water is chlorinated. Allow your water to sit for 2 hours before circulating over your plants. This is sufficient time for chlorine to evaporate. This will not ‘’make or break’’your success – but is an ideal best practice.
Do not use softened or salinated water. Salt irritates roots and inhibits the plants uptake of nutrients.
In the first few days and weeks it is wise to check your plants and water quality more regularly until you become familiar with your crops’ preferences and behavior. Every environment has different variables which can affect the way your plants grow. Early attention will allow you to build confidence and also catch any problems that may arise. Checking your pH is particularly important.
The level of acidity of water is measured by a pH scale. A pH of 7 is neutral. A low pH means the water is acidic and high pH reflects basic. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic growing environment. The acidity of your water is an important part of the health of your tower. Acidity helps control bacterial growth and also affects the plants ability to access nutrients. Too high or too low and nutrients may be ¨locked out” of the plants’ uptake ability.
Most aeroponically grown plants thrive at a pH level of 6. A range of 5.5 – 6.5 is considered acceptable. Checking pH is very quick and simple using a pH meter. (If you own a Grow For You Tower we provide these instruments with a new grower kit. We also have them for individual sale on our website).
If pH is low:
1) Fill your tank with fresh water and re-check pH. (Most city water is around a pH of 7).
2) If still low add “pH up” in tiny increments. (e.g powder ¼ tsp, liquid 5ml) This is also
included in a new grower kit or for sale via Growforyouinc.com
● Do not mix pH solutions with your hands – use a long spoon or allow the pump to circulate the water for you. Re-test water until optimum pH is reached.
If pH is high:
1) Check ppm. If ppm is in the lower range (between 800-900) you can begin by
adding nutrients (nutrient solutions are acidic and naturally lower pH).
2) If ppm is in the upper range (900-1400) add pH down – this is generally liquid. Add tiny increments until you have reached a pH of 6 and ppm remains between 800 -1400.
Ppm may also be referred to as total Dissolved Solids (TDS). These refer to the total amount of mobile charged ions, including minerals, salts or metals in a volume of water. The ppm rating expresses the purity of water. This is important to the health of your system because the quality of water affects the quality, health and success of your plants.
There is a large window of acceptable ppm. However this number is still very important. Ppm represents the available nutrients for your plants to feed. Too low – your plants will fail to grow and thrive. Too high, your plants will…..fail to grow and thrive. More technically: too low your plants have nothing to feed on, too high, the food is there,but the plants’ roots will be unable to access and absorb what they need.
Important note: A high ppm prior to adding nutrients is not necessarily helpful. If your water has too many minerals they will interfere with the plants’ ability to access the needed nutrition. Most city water has around 100 ppm to begin with. If your base ppm is 100, you should be sure you add enough nutrient to achieve a minimum of 800. If your water has more than 100 ppm to begin with – we
recommend using filtered water.ppm
100-700 Add quality nutrients appropriate to your crop until you have reached a minimum of 800 and a maximum of 1400 ppm.
800-1500 Do nothing you are in the acceptable range.Continue to monitor daily.
1600 + Refresh your tank.Your plants can not feed properly.
2200 + The water is toxic to your plants, crystallization will occur and your plants will die.
Refreshing your tank:
** Time is not the ideal measure to determine the steps of care for your garden. The needs
of the plants are reflected – and met by monitoring pH, ppm, temperature, light exposure
and of course growth. This section attempts to offer some time references – but we caution
growers to focus on their monitoring routine more than days and weeks.
Typically after 14 days of growth with small sprouts and about 7 days of growth with
mature plants you will add fresh water to fill your tank. We refer to this as “topping up” (at
this point you will manage your pH and ppm according to guidelines). As your tower crop
starts to mature the plants will use more water and nutrients. They also discharge growth
bi-products into the water which affects your ppm. You will likely need to “refresh” your
tank, every two weeks. Refresh means change the water completely.
It may seem tempting to simply continue “topping up”. We do not advise this practice
because ppm is cumulative. Should you find your ppm is still in the acceptable range use
your discretion. Best practice – in our opinion is a full refresh every 2 weeks but as long as
you refresh at or before 1600 ppm your plants’ needs will be cared for.
Using your pH and ppm meter:
These instruments come to you with user guides. Please reference these guides carefully.
The meters may need to be calibrated before using – and will definitely need to be
calibrated from time to time. Understanding the process is helpful.
Calibration is quick and simple, but important.
Lighting and environment
Select a location for your tower that has plenty of natural sunlight and enough space for the
air to circulate. Most plants prefer 14 to 16 hours of sunlight. If you do not get long daylight
periods you will need a grow light. Our new grower packages come with one full spectrum
light. We also have lights available for individual sale.
● If you have only one light/ window it is wise to turn your tower regularly in order to
give all sides of the garden equal exposure. Otherwise add a second light.
If your home is damp you may want to consider a fan or small dehumidifier.
A fan is also useful in helping to build strong plant stems.
● It is not recommended that you place a dehumidifier immediately beside the tower
as this will rapidly deplete the water in your tank. Just in the same room will be
Most plants take 30-90 days to fully mature and prefer temperatures between 65 and 75
degrees fahrenheit or between 18 and 23 degrees celsius. Plants will grow in slightly
cooler environments, but will be smaller and take longer.
If you have a very cool environment but are committed to growing it is an option to warm
the water. Contact us directly for discussion and advice.
¨ROOTS, SHOOTS and FRUITS¨
Typical plant nutrient bottles are labelled with three numbers eg. 3/2/4
The numbers represent three categories: N/P/K
N= Nitrates P= Phosphorus K = Potassium
N – Nitrates/Nitrogen helps plant growth and development. It affects the quality of leaves,
seeds, and fruits and is an important component of chlorophyll, which helps
P – Phosphates/Phosphorus aids in the development of plant oils, sugars and starch. During
photosynthesis phosphorus helps to convert solar or light energy into plant energy.
Phosphorus supports root development and blooming and generally makes the plant more
K – Potassium helps the plants store protein and build immunity which protect the plants
from disease. This is essential to plant growth and producing quality fruits and veggies.
Plant nutrition can be found in both powder and liquid form. It also can be found in both
natural (biological) and synthetic (chemical) formulas. There are many variations and
combinations of N/ P/ K delivery to cater to the specific needs of growing environments,
plant preferences, and deficiencies. We recommend: a combination of two blends. Our
most versatile and successful combination has been 5/0/2 (We call this A) and 3/2/4 (We
call this B). These are applied in equal measures.
Our preference is biologic nutrients, however there are advantages and disadvantages to all
selections. This is a growers’ personal decision.
What Can Grow Aeroponically?
Perhaps the most impressive thing about aeroponic gardening is the tremendous variety of plants that can be
successfully grown. Since you are growing in a controlled environment you can accomodate for the needs of
most plants and have less concern over pests and other common issues that affect outdoor or sensitive crops.
The list below is comprehensive – and ever growing – as everything always is.
Fruits and Veggies
● Amaranth (vegetable
● Beans: Lima, bush,
pole, shell, fava, green
● Broccoli Rabe
● Brussels Sprouts
● Cabbage and Chinese
● Chard, all types
● Dandelion, Italian
● Eggplant, European
● Garbanzo beans
● Gourds, edible and
● Kinh gioi
● Lettuce, all types
● Mesclun varieties
● Melons, all types
● Mustard Greens
● Ngo Gai
● Pak Choy
● Peas, all types
● Peppers, all types
● Squash, all types
● Tomatoes, all types
● Anise Hyssop
● Basil, all types
● Bee Balm
● Cilantro (Coriander)
● Citrus Basil
● Cutting Celery
● Garlic Chives
● Leaf Fennel
● Lemon Balm
● Lemon Grass
● Mexican Mint
● Milk Thistle
● Mint, all varieties
● Parsley (leafy types
● Passion Flower
● Pleurisy Root
● Salad Burnet
● Hyacinth Bean
● Scarlet Runner Bean
● Sunflowers (dwarf
● Amaranth, Globe
● Bells of Ireland
● Kale, ornamental
● Morning Glory
● Sweet Peas
Fruiting plants, vines, and long stemmed flowers will have varied needs with regard to light, pollination and
support. All of these are manageable but will require consideration on your part before you embark on the
process. Experimentation is part of the joy of gardening. Do not let failed experiments discourage you!
Adopt a GROWTH mindset – you can DO this! Every crop is a learning opportunity whether it thrives or not.
Be bold! (And send us pictures and stories to share!)
Starting From Seed
Depending on the growing medium you select there will be slightly different directions.
Since Grow For You Inc. uses rockwool exclusively and provides rockwool with the towers
we will guide you through seeding with this material (there is a short tutorial video also
available on our website and youtube).
Briefly submerge (about 10 seconds) your rockwool cubes in water that has been adjusted
to a pH of 5.5 using either pH down or a small amount of lemon juice.
Do not squeeze the plugs. This material is specifically made to hold a significant amount of
oxygen and water. Squeezing the plug will crush the air space and render the medium
Soaking provides moisture and allows pH of the growing medium to balance creating a
sterile environment for your seeds to germinate. Nutrients are not required at this stage as
seeds naturally contain all their own nutritional needs for germination. (Isn’t nature
Insert your seed (seeds, or cutting) in the hole provided. (If using a cutting this is slightly
more advanced – consider looking into a plant hormone solution to assist in the success of
Place the plants in a tray with space for water to drain naturally. Cover loosely with a
ventilated dome and place in an area of low to medium light.
Mist occasionally if required to keep moist – but do not over water.
When the shoots begin to emerge you can remove the cover and allow for a slightly
increased exposure to light.
When roots begin to emerge from the bottom of your plugs your seedlings are ready to be
transferred into their tower (or other growing space). We have a transfer video on our
website for more in depth instruction..
We recommend starting with one or two simple ‘’hearty crops’’ until you get comfortable
with the process. Just like people some plants require a lot of attention and support while
others are less sensitive to their environment. It is wise to spend some ‘get to know you’
time, so that you can help your garden thrive.
YOUR HEARTY PLANT SELECTION:
Green leafy vegetables tend to grow well in cooler conditions. They do not depend on as
much light and flourish indoors. Since leafy veggies are not fruiting plants they do not need
pollination. For these reasons we recommend kale, lettuce or spinach. The nice thing
about these crops is that they can be harvested and used for salads, microgreens, sandwich
toppings or smoothies at any various times in their growth cycle and tend to get used in
volume. You won’t be wasting crops and you can get used to growing before you need to
think about seeding cycles.
You can also ‘’harvest when hungry’’ and continue to grow. This means you can remove the
larger outer leaves of the plant and leave the smaller inner core to continue growing!
● Did you know that most foods begin losing nutritional content within 12-24 hours of
harvest? The BEST way to get the most out of our food is to eat it as fresh as
possible. ‘’Harvest when hungry’’ is not only economical – but healthful and
Basil, cilantro, mint, chive and parsley are among the many herbs that grow well and are
highly useful. Again they do not need pollination and are quite hearty. You may find basil
does better with the addition of a grow light. We have had abundant success with different
varieties. Smaller plants still produce a good quantity of beautiful herbs.
A few words about fruiting plants
You truly can grow almost anything in an aeroponic tower. The key is to go forward with a
“growth mentality” meaning in time, with practice, everything is possible. Fruiting plants
will grow and produce beautifully, but they require additional effort and attention. For this
reason we do not exclude them, but also do not recommend trying them as your first crop.
Fruits need longer exposure to light, and different spectrums of light. They need
pollination (either by natural pollinators or by hand), additional space and support for the
fruit to develop, and sometimes pruning. None of this work is overly intense, but can be a
lot to think about when just embarking on your food journey. Think about your own time
commitment and style before you add those coveted tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries or
beans to your tower. If you DO give it a whirl, be patient and don’t get discouraged. (And
send us pictures and stories to share!!!)
The most common issues new growers experience are algae, mildew/mold on your
growing medium, wilting, failure to thrive or brown/yellow leaves.
These are all diagnosed by re-examining the basic needs of the plant and evaluating how
the needs are being met. Typically one or two of the following are causing the issue and
are easily resolved.
– Too much/little watering
– Poor ventilation/ air circulation
– Not enough light
– pH becoming too low (acid)
– Ppm is too high
If you see evidence of an issue begin by checking your basics. Problem solve by asking
yourself some questions.
1) How is your timer and water flow?
2) Are your plugs too wet or dry?
3) Are they getting good air flow?
● You may need to adjust your watering intervals, move your tower, or add a fan.
4) Are your lights coming on at the planned intervals and no bulbs have burnt out?
● Plants will wilt without enough light and your system is susceptible to algae if too
much water is over exposed to light. (e.g. Green plugs may be an indicator that they
are too wet. The resting water is developing algae due to exposure to light. This is
not actually a big problem – but is less than ideal.)
● Plants become long and spindly if they are getting too much light. An experiment
with lighting may help.
● Mold or mildew on your plugs can be removed by gently scraping it off with your
finger or tweezers. If the plant is still alive and has good roots it should recover.
This problem is caused by insufficient light and poor ventilation.
5) Have you been maintaining your pH and ppm?
● Sick roots, brown or wilting leaves are a demand for basic maintenance. Check the
pH and ppm and follow guidelines to bring the water quality back to optimal ranges
as discussed in the water section of this manual.
When in doubt – refresh your system as discussed in the
water section of this manual.
If you have issues that seem to extend beyond these quick solve suggestions we are happy
to help either by discussing with you – or sharing resources. Never be shy to connect – we
are here to help you learn and grow!
If you purchase a Grow For You Inc. Garden Tower your kit will arrive partially assembled
for your convenience, but there will be a few steps required of you.
Step 1: Place the pump directly in the centre of the reservoir base with the splash guard
resting loosely over it (at this point your reservoir will be empty).
Step 2: Insert your reservoir into the tower base. Thread the electric chord for your pump
through the exit hole of the base.
Step 3: Lift the tower insert into place (the blue rain tower assembly is already inside the
tower. The cap is OFF. Lift as one unit).
Step 4: Connect the blue rain tube to the pump ensuring you have passed through the
splash guard. Hand tighten only, no tools required.
Step 5: Slide the splash guard up and attach firmly to the neck flange. No tools required.
These pieces are designed to fit together.
Step 6: Look or feel inside the top of your tower insert . Ensure the “rainmaker” cap is in
place slightly above the first set of plant pots, and that the blue tube exits the hole in the
rainmaker. This simple step is key to adequate water distribution over all plants once your
tower is functioning.
Step 7: Place the cap on the top of your tower.
Step 8: Fill reservoir. Use the pH and ppm guidelines provided in the water section of this
manual in order to meet the ideal range of pH 6 and ppm 800-1400.
*Always check pH first and again after adding any nutrients or modifiers.
Step 9: Plug tower into timer.
Step 10: Set timer for intervals of approximately 20 mins every 4 hours for young plants
and every 2 hours for mature plants. (Keep in mind that every home is different so use
your own judgement to make changes. Plugs should be kept moist to touch, but not
saturated and never dry).
Step 11: Plug the timer into a wall outlet. Observe for any significant splashes or leaks.
Small spatter may be observed but should be contained once plant baskets are in place.
Step 12: Place plant baskets in the openings and observe. Water should trickle internally
only from the top down. There should be no water escaping (¨over shot¨) through the lid or
the plant spaces. If there is any over shot unplug the unit and lower pump pressure.
Once the assembly is running, the growing medium (rockwool/plugs) in your plant baskets
should be damp but not saturated. If the plugs seem extremely wet adjust the timer for
shorter ‘on’ intervals or longer ‘off’ intervals.
Conversely, if your plugs are dry, check that your pump is flowing properly and increase
the watering intervals.
If your system is shut down for a period of time (eg. extended vacation, moving):
Be sure to empty and allow all components to dry thoroughly.
In the case of accidental shut down such as power outage:
A brief outage should not cause any problems, just restart your system.
An extended outage may require that you check your water quality and adjust.
To avoid concerns over bacteria in stagnant water we suggest changing the water
completely and running the system without nutrients for about an hour to thoroughly
cleanse the system.
A peroxide rinse or vinegar rinse can also be useful. Simply add one cup of one or the other
(NEVER COMBINE CLEANING AGENTS) to your filled reservoir and run the system.
These precautionary steps can also be added to your best practices to keep your tower
clean. Consider a rinse between harvests or every 3-6 months.
If you feel the need to clean your system but have an active crop, plants can be gently
removed and kept moist in a large bowl or bin for the duration of the process without fear
of damaging or losing your yield.