ZipGrow Tower FAQ

ZipGrow Hydroponic Tower – FAQ

Common questions about ZipGrow towers

What is a Hydroponic Tower?

A hydroponic tower works by using conventional hydroponic techniques in a vertical, gravity fed system. The nutrient rich water is fed through the tower and is able to grow beautiful, abundant crops in a vertical plane.

What is ZipGrow?

ZipGrow is the leading hydroponic tower solution on the market.

Where can I purchase ZipGrow Towers?

You can find them on the Bright Agrotech online store at http://shop.brightagrotech.com.

What size are ZipGrow Towers?

Standard ZipGrow Tower sizes are 3-foot and 5-foot, although we can work with you on custom sizes for larger commercial orders. Contact us for custom commercial orders and to get a quote.

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How many plants can go in a ZipGrow Tower? 

Small statured crops like lettuce may be planted eight seedlings per 5-foot tower, while larger plants such as basil should have more room; plant 10 basil plants in a 5-foot tower. Again, make sure you know the nature of your crops as to not choke the other crops in that tower out. 

How far do you space ZipGrow Towers apart? 

Most tower systems experience a lot of light loss, even at generous spacings. This is especially true of 4 sided systems, which experience almost 90% light loss(!) from the top front of the tower to the bottom rear of the tower, even when spaced at 10 square feet per tower! When ZipGrow towers are massed and managed properly, 2.5 square feet per tower is more than enough to get good crops out of your towers with natural light.

  • For growers just starting out in greenhouse “massed” configurations, we recommend 22″ side-to-side and 20″ front-to-back for beginners
  • For more experienced growers, we recommend 18” side-to-side and 16” front-to-back with optimal sunlight.
  • For Farm Wall configurations, growers can use as little as 10 inches side-to-side depending on crop variety and crop maturity. 

The above dimensions are center-to-center measurements.

Are ZipGrow Towers’ plastic safe?

Our towers are very safe!  It’s crucial you know that we pride ourselves in sourcing 100% virgin USA-made, food-safe PVC for our tower housings and keeping a very close eye on our supply chain. On top of that, our specially designed Matrix Media has a silicone binder that limits exposure of the water to the plastic. It’s made from recycled water bottles and is designed to be very safe. We truly believe in the safety of our towers. Trust us, we wouldn’t feed our families and friends with them if we didn’t!

How do I set up my ZipGrow Towers?

One of the beautiful things about our towers is that growers can be as creative with their configurations as they want! The most common way to set up ZipGrow Towers is in:

  • Massed configuration. Growers with a traditional space like a greenhouse usually prefer to group their towers in rows of four or five to maximize space and get sunlight to their crops.
  • ZipRacks or ZipFarms. ZipRacks, racks on wheels with ZipGrow Towers back-to-back, are ideal for warehouses and facilities using artificial lighting. ZipRacks allow for quick mobility of multiple towers.
  • Farm Walls are best for tight spaces and small growers. Restaurants and home growers especially love the Farm Wall, and many farmers use the system to display produce in grocery stores or in their farms.

 

planting a zipgrow tower

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How do I plant a ZipGrow Tower? 

(Click to enlarge)

Planting a Tower is very simple and can be accomplished in three easy steps:

1) Pull the old inserts (or as with brand new media inserts, use provided wicking strip) out of the tower using your pulling hook and pick out the root balls.

2) Pop the seedlings in as you “zip” the inserts into the tower housing with your pulling hook.

3) Once you’ve “zipped” your Matrix Media inserts into your tower, you’re ready to hang them back up and get them irrigated again!

 

I want to start a ZipGrow farm. Where should I start?

You don’t need a degree to be a ZipGrow Farmer, but education does help. To give aspiring farmers a guided source of information, we created Upstart University, an online learning platform. We also provide hundreds of free articles, videos, and even downloadable guides to help you and your farm. A great place to start is writing a business plan and compiling a financial plan for your farm.

 

What do other people say about ZipGrow Towers?

I am the executive producer for the exhibit at the USA Pavilion, where we featured ZipGrow Towers. They look fantastic and I am so proud we are featuring them at the pavilion. I want to have them bursting with lettuce and thyme around my door in Brooklyn!” – Molly McBride

ZipGrow Milan 2015 expo pavilion edge of wall

Love the ZipGrow Towers. I bought a couple ZipGrow Towers to make my own green wall on the side of my house. I have had them only about a month, but I planted them right away with lettuce I started from seed and I am just about ready to start harvesting already. So far, the towers have been awesome. I only started with a couple towers to see how they work, but I will be buying a few more to complete my green wall shortly because they have worked so well.” – Michael G.  

Learn how ZipGrow towers are used for hydroponic farming systems.

How much produce can I grow with ZipGrow Towers?

ZipGrow Towers are a powerful tool for hydroponic farmers who want to take advantage of the vertical space in their growing space.

1) ZipGrow takes advantage of vertical space, allowing it to grow 2-3 times as much per square foot as horizontal techniques.

2) Matrix media is perfectly designed to host beneficial microbial communities and percolate water through the tower, creating a healthy environments for plant roots

3) Full support for first time growers, with a growing community of professional growers.

For detailed production estimates, check out the calculator on our shop.

Where can I get help with a financial plan for my farm?

Financial plans can be a tedious task rife with error and confusion, but they are necessary for business planning and for securing funding. Getting help with your plan will reduce the hours of research and Excel work you have to do and will give you more accurate numbers.

Need some help? Check out our Financial Plan & Analysis package and we’ll run the numbers for you.

 

What are farmers saying about ZipGrow Towers?

BayBerry Fresh

 

“I started working with Bright Agrotech all the way back in 2011 when Nate [Storey] was getting started because I liked how dense you could stack the towers in small spaces which was important because I started in a 6X12 ft greenhouse.  I obviously benefited from a business partnership! The partnership gave me access to equipment, leads, and funds that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It would have been very hard to start the business without those initial resources.”

– Haydn Christensen, Owner of Bayberry Fresh

 

 

Localize Farm“I first started using ZipGrow Towers about three years ago when I founded Localize, LLC as an ultra local urban agriculture business in the Minneapolis, MN metro area. The ZipGrow towers and associated systems, allowed me to build a profitable business with no previous agriculture or growing experience. The versatility and simplicity of the towers is what makes them stand out among other systems. The unique design of the towers allows you to grow a variety of crop types with the same system indoors, outdoors, in a green house, on the side of a building, wherever! …In addition to their great products, the most valuable aspect of Bright AgroTech is their vast wealth of knowledge regarding hydroponic growing and their willingness to share that information. In my experience, they value the success of their farmers over pushing product, which for someone like myself who really had no idea how to grow hydroponically was paramount to growing my business.”   – Ryan Sweeney, Owner of Localize Farm

How can I grow a small herb garden for my restaurant?

Restaurants everywhere are using the Farm Wall to adorn the walls of their buildings, dining areas, and patios. The simple towers-and-gutters ZipGrow system fits easily on a wall or in a corner. Shop for Farm Walls now.

How are other restaurants using ZipGrow Towers?

Restauranteurs have found unique ways to use ZipGrow Towers to boost the flavors of their dishes and delight their customers. The Alibi Pub in Laramie, Wyoming, keeps eight farm walls in their kitchen and outdoor dining areas to grow herbs and greens for their dishes. The pub, run by Ethan and Kerri Smith, strive to bring life to every task undertaken and every dish created. “People get the energy when they come in here and they see that on the wall,” says Ethan. “They already know it’s fresh. Especially when she,” he nods at Kerri, “jumps up there and cuts something off. They’re shocked. They’ve never seen it.” 

Page at 63 Main, in Sag Harbor New York hooked up their living wall to an aquaponic system and uses the system not only to create food but to draw in customers. Here’s what Amber Chapel, Page’s Marketing and Communications Director, has to say about the Farm Wall in the restaurants’ atrium:

“I think people are just really impressed. And the fact that they get to see up close the food they’re food growing. And the fish, and they can hear the water. It’s interesting, especially for guests in the dining room to dine in that environment. We noticed almost immediately when the green wall was installed in the atrium room that guests were requesting to be seated back there.”

restaurants with living walls

 

How are other container farmers using ZipGrow?

ZipGrow Technology is empowering farmers to grow in shipping containers and other modular container units to rapidly implement a turnkey hydroponic farm to start seeing results fast. By using Towers, these container farmers can maximize their production space, without sacrificing precious space needed to perform basic farm maintenance (something many stratified production farms often neglect). Although these containers are outfitted with professional ZipGrow Technology, Bright Agrotech does not sell or distribute these complete container units. For more information on container/modular farm providers, see below.

Growers choosing a container farm over a greenhouse, warehouse or linear wall setup often base their decision from the “turnkey” design which requires minimal setup from the grower. Because they can be picked up and put on the back of a truck, containers can be grow food anywhere there is sufficient energy hookups. This can be an extremely convenient arrangement, since container farms are typically environment-controlled, run year round, and have remote monitoring capabilities.

 

Freight Farms uses ZipGrow towersWho is Freight Farms?

One of the forerunners of the container farm movement, Freight Farms builds productive farms inside shipping containers. Each farm is outfitted with ZipGrow Towers. Freight Farms is based in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Modular Farms ZipGrow Who is Modular Farms?

Modular farms builds specialized container farms built to scale from one to many as the farm grows. Based in Ontario, Canada, Modular Farms is run by Eric Amyot and Eric Bergeron .

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