Frequently Asked Questions
Interested in growing with a Foody hydroponic system? Here are some questions frequently asked by people just getting started.
What about water? What pH should the water be?
The ideal pH range for most plants is 5.2 to 6.0 in hydroponic setups. Maintaining your water within this pH range will help ensure that the nutrients your plants need are available. Chlorine is one of those elements that is best if eliminated from your water source. This can easily be done by filling buckets or large bottles with water and just letting them stand for 48 hours prior to adding the water to your tower.
What is the proper total salt range for the water solution?
A salt range of 500 ppm to 1100 ppm is safe for most hydroponic plants. The total salt level is an indicator of the level of nutrients in the water solution. Too high of a salt level will harm plants, while too low will result in slow growth. As a general rule, plants will have a higher nutrient requirement during cooler months, and a lower requirement In the hottest months. Young, established seedlings or rooted cuttings are started at 500-600ppm. The TDS is increased to 800-900ppm during peak vegetative growth. During the transition from early to heavy flowering, TDS is further raised to 1000-1100ppm. It is then reduced to 400-500ppm during the final 2 weeks of flushing. A TDS meter is an essential tool needed when growing hydroponically.
What do I need to know about grow lights?
There are a number of plant grow lights and prices vary widely. The challenge with vertical towers is to get sufficient light to plants up and down the vertical spectrum. We've designed a vertical lighting tower which holds two T5 four foot long grow lights that works very well. It's available with a simple PVC support structure or a metal stand.
How can I start my own seeds?
Seeds may be easily started using a variety of methods. We've placed small amounts of soil in used egg cartons and then planted seeds in them. Commercially available seeding trays are available that also work very well. Two that we recommend are Rapid Rooter and Root Riot cubes. The nice thing about the commercial cubes or plugs is that once the seedling roots grow through the bottom of the cube the whole thing may then be planted into a planting pocket of the Foody tower.
What is the Foody Tower made from?
Each Foody tower is made from food-safe plastic that is BPA free and UV stabilized for years of use.
How long does it take to set up a tower?
Set up of a Foody 8 Manual Watering tower, including putting soil in the growing pods, takes about 20 minutes. A Foody 8 Hydroponic tower takes a bit longer as it has more parts...usually 45 minutes. A Foody 12 Hydroponic tower also takes about 45 minutes. Step by step assembly instructions are provided and no previous gardening experience is required.
What's the proper water temperature for plant growth?
An ideal water temperature range is 65 to 75 degrees F. Cooler temperatures will not usually cause a problem but water that's above 80 degrees F can be a detriment to healthy plant growth. The higher water temperatures promote root rot and diseases such as Fusarium and Pithium. Oxygen levels of the water are also lower at higher temperatures, which is not good for the plants.
What kind of space do I need for a Foody?
Foody's may be placed indoors or outdoors. The tower itself only needs a 20" diameter of floor space. A total area diameter of 2.5 to 3 feet will allow plenty of room for future plant growth. For indoor placement, it's best to place your Foody facing a southerly exposure near a large window or glass door so that it gets some natural light. All towers need to be placed on a level surface. A set of indoor grow lights is recommended as they will greatly help encourage healthy plant growth.
What's the difference between the different Foody towers?
Our three main towers all have unique features to keep in mind when you're trying to decide which tower would work best for you. Our main tower, the Foody 12, is a hydroponic tower with room to grow 44 plants. Each planting location has an individual net pot, which holds a small amount of growing medium. Water is distributed throughout the tower by way of a water pump and siphoning system.
The Foody 8 Hydro is our hydroponic tower designed for the outdoors. Unlike the Foody 12, the Foody 8 hydro does not have net pots in the growing pods. The plants are instead grown directly in the growing pods, and the water trickles down through the growing medium.
The Foody 8 Soil is our non hydroponic tower. It works well both inside and outside, and acts more like a traditional planter. Plants are watered by hand, with any excess water being drained into the base reservoir, where up to eight plants can be grown hydroponically.
Can I get replacement parts for my Foody Tower?
We do offer replacement parts for our towers. However, given the number of small components that go into each tower, we do not offer everything on our website. If you need to replace a smaller component, be sure to give us a call and we'll get you the right part.