I got my Lettuce Grow hydroponic farmstand garden in April of 2021, and after about a year I moved it indoors. Many of these tips will work for other hydroponic gardens as well. The Lettuce Grow tower worked great outside, but I was still fighting pests, so I wanted to move it inside where I wouldn’t need to worry about pest control at all.
I’ve learned a lot about hydroponic growing in the past year and am sharing a few tips to help you on your own hydroponic journey. Click here to read my posts on setting up the Lettuce Grow farmstand, and another review after growing for four months.
*The current friend code offer is you save $75 off your Farmstand, and I get a $25 credit. So please click here to save $$ and support my fancy lettuce habit
Tips on Moving Your Hydroponic Farmstand Indoors
First You’ll Need Grow Lights
Growing indoors means grow lights, and the cool thing about the Lettuce Grow towers is the lights that are made to work seamlessly with the tower design. You might have noticed my friend code at the top, and that is what made my move indoors possible, as I saved up my credits each month until I could buy a grow light ring. So I very much appreciate people using the code! After several months I finally got enough grow lights for my big six level tower.
You can see the lights in my photo above. They easily twist right onto the growing sections and hook up to each section as you build the tower. The whole set-up was very easy, and one of the reasons I recommend going with the Lettuce Grow farmstand and their lights.
Find a Good Spot
The hydroponic tower is going to be bright, and it is going to turn on several times a day making a little tinkling waterfall sound. So think about that when you set up the location. We have it in the corner of our living room, where we actually enjoy the extra light.
This isn’t something you want to set up in your bedroom, where the grow lights pop on early in the morning, or the sound of water falling wakes you up in the middle of the night.
Find the Right Timer Settings for You
I followed the initial set-up recommendations for the water timer, and my plants were always soaking wet and started to get moldy. I eventually found I needed to water my plants way less than the instructions recommended. Having your plants watered too much makes the growing medium mold, and also encourages gnats. If you do get gnats, read the next tip.
Fight the Gnats
Growing indoors sometimes attracts gnats, especially if your plants are wet all the time. If you find yourself with gnats buzzing around, first stop watering so much. It’s even ok to let them dry out a little between watering when you are fighting the gnats. I’ve had them pop up all the time, and found sticky plant paper works really well to catch them.
You can click the link to find the sticky insect traps I got on Amazon. They are really cheap and work great with the grow lights! I stick the part that would normally go in the ground right in the tower and then the big part sticks onto the light. They catch a lot of the gnats and I change them every couple weeks.
I also put painter’s tape on the open holes if I move a plant. You can see the blue patches in my tower photo. I use that tape because it doesn’t leave a mark or sticky residue. I cover the exposed holes so gnats and other bugs can’t fly inside the tower and breed in there. It also keeps the water from splashing out.
Put Your Tower on a Stand
You might need to move or rotate your garden, so it’s easiest if you have it on a stand with wheels. Lettuce Grow sells one made for the stand, but I went with a big 24″ one on Amazon for slightly cheaper and free shipping. The 24″ size is actually bigger than the tower base, so you could go with a smaller size.
Move Plants Outside
One thing I do with my indoor plants is move them outdoors when I want to replace them. This is a great way to let them go to seed and collect free seeds for your garden. I often just plant the entire thing in the ground, grow cup and all. A lot of times the roots will be deeply embedded in the cup, so you’d damage the plant too much trying to remove it. Once it is finally totally dead, I remove the plant and grow cup from the ground.
Choose Your Plants Wisely
Indoor gardening does present some challenges when you want to grow something besides lettuce and herbs. I really wanted to grow cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers, so that took getting a little creative with my set-up. As the tomato plants grew, I used fishing line to string them up. For the cucumbers, I brought in a trellis and propped it up for them to grow.
The cucumbers struggled a bit because they didn’t get enough light once they grew on the trellis, but as you can see from the reel below, the tomatoes went crazy! I got SO many tomatoes! They eventually took over the whole tower. I moved these outdoors once they got way too big, and they continued to grow and produce tomatoes.
Save Money and Grow Your Own Seedlings
Although I recommend starting out with Lettuce Grow’s seedlings and plant food, after a while ordering seedlings at $2.50 a pop can get pricey and eat into any savings you might get from growing your own food. So when I don’t have any credits to splurge on seedlings, I grow my own! The important thing is to find a growing medium that works well in the Lettuce Grow cups. A lot of them are cone shapes, or pointy, and the ones you’ll need are more cylinder shaped.
The Rapid Rooter plugs above are currently $18 on Amazon and fit the Lettuce Grow tower cups pretty well. You get 50 of them, so that equals to about 36 cents for each seedling. I also get my seeds on Amazon and found 5000+ heirloom greens seeds for $12. I’ve had great luck with these sprouting. I also got a pack of herbs, and regularly save seeds from things I want to try and grow.
I’ll be writing more about starting your own seedlings in another post soon! If you have any questions about the Lettuce Grow tower, or hydroponics, I’m happy to help. I’ve dealt with pests, learned how to trellis, fixed a leaking tower and grown both indoors and outdoors.
And just one more time- my friend code will save you $75 off your farmstand! https://www.lettucegrow.com/shop?pc=FRIEND-SE2U