How to Clean Your Tower Garden in 3 Simple Steps
I was relieved to learn that all the sudsy plastic parts fit in my bathtub—just barely, but they fit. Their underwater collisions echoed against the wall’s white, ceramic tiling as I turned the faucet off, wetted a sponge, and got to work.
See, to keep your Tower Garden disease-free (and looking sharp), you should clean the whole system after each growing season and—if you’re really diligent—between fresh plantings. That’s what I did in my bathroom this past April after a winter of growing greens in my dining room. And that’s what I’m going to teach you how to do in this post.
After all, fall will soon be upon us. And whether you intend to transition to a cool weather garden, move indoors, or pack up your Tower Garden for the year, the changing of seasons means it’s time to clean.
So here are the three simple steps of cleaning your Tower Garden.
1. Drain and Disassemble
First, you’ll need to drain the Tower Garden water reservoir. Consider using the drained nutrient solution to water potted plants or landscaping. The plants will love it!
Draining the reservoir is a breeze:
- Unplug the pump.
- Attach one end of the drain pipe to the tip of the shower cap nozzle.
- Place the other end of the drain pipe into a bucket or other container.
- Plug in the pump, and allow it to pump water out of the water reservoir.
- Once the reservoir is nearly empty, unplug the pump, and pour out the remaining solution manually. (This step is important, as running the pump without water may ruin the motor.)
Think assembling your Tower Garden is easy? Well, good news: taking it apart is even easier.
To disassemble your Tower Garden:
- Remove your plants.
- Detach the growing sections, starting at the top. (You can leave the bottom section attached to the reservoir lid.)
- Discard any roots or other plant material.
- Unscrew the blue hose from the reservoir lid and pump.
2. Soak and Scrub
To clean your disassembled growing sections, you can put them in either a bathtub (like I did) or the water reservoir. After you choose a container, follow these steps:
- Fill it with warm, soapy water.
- Allow the growing sections to soak for 30 minutes.
- Scrub everything, and clear the shower cap holes with a toothpick.
Non-toxic, DIY cleaning solutions
After a few months outside, soapy water might not cut it—your Tower Garden may need a little something extra. To get that “new” look back, try these cleaning formulas. Both are non-toxic, which is important since Tower Garden grows food.
Vinegar + Water (+ Elbow Grease)
This formula is pretty basic: mix equal parts vinegar and water, and, using a sponge or stiff brush, scrub your Tower Garden with the solution.
Baking Soda + Soap + Hydrogen Peroxide
Hat tip to Live Simply for this handy formula. It’s great for more stubborn stains (what I like to think of as growing season battle scars).
- 1 cup sodium bicarbonate (i.e., baking soda)
- 1/4 cup castile soap (or dish soap, if you prefer)
- 1 tbsp. hydrogen peroxide
- Mix ingredients until they form a sticky, glue-like substance.
- Apply the mixture to your Tower Garden, and allow it to sit (and work its magic) for a few minutes.
- Scrub your Tower Garden with a sponge or stiff brush.
- Wipe everything clean with a damp cloth.
You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the cleaning formula you create (as smartly suggested by Carolyn on the Tower Garden Facebook page). Essential oils are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial—and they smell wonderful.
Cleaning the rest: pump filter, net pots and steel rods
By the end of a growing season, your pump may be clogged with decomposing roots and other plant debris, which can result in plant disease (or at the very least, a stinky smell) over time. To clean the pump filter, simply remove the pump cover and flush the filter with water.
And if you have a dishwasher, the net pots and steel rods are top rack safe!
3. Rinse and Repeat (as Necessary)
Between major cleanings, you’ll likely find a little algae or mineral buildup (i.e., white, crusty residue) on your Tower Garden. Neither should affect the health of your plants, but they’re a little unsightly.
To clean up minor messes like these, water, a small brush—a toothbrush, even—and a little scrubbing should do the trick.
Have you discovered the ultimate Tower Garden cleaning formula? Leave a comment below and share it with the world (or at least with me)!
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