It’s no secret that ZipGrow towers are helping hundreds of home growers and commercial producers across the world grow more in a smaller space.
Not only do these vertical farming towers produce 3x as much as traditional horizontal growing techniques, they give growers a ton of biological surface area, maximizing the nitrifying bacteria; an essential piece of any successful aquaponics system.
Today we’re answering one of the most common questions we receive about our towers:
“What’s the proper spacing for my ZipGrow towers?”
Spacing ZipGrows for Success
Spacing ZipGrow towers is a very simple process, but must be fine-tuned to your individual needs.
As with all tower systems, spacing is important as it influences the amount of light available at the bottom of the tower.
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!
ZipGrow towers are different.
ZipGrows are designed to conserve light.
What? Light as a resource? Crazy right? Or… is it?
With ZipGrow towers, even when the plants are fully grown with one tower every 2.5 square feet, the average light loss from the top front of the tower to the bottom rear of the tower is only 32 or 33 percent.
This means that ZipGrow towers are three times more efficient at light conservation than 4 sided towers, even when spaced 4 times as densely.
Questions about ZipGrow towers? Check out this Q&A
Spacing ZipGrows for Maximized Growing
Mass configurations are the tower configurations of choice for commercial producers cranking out high yields (see: maximizing production and maximizing their revenue).
You see, 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.
The spacing that you choose (side to side and back to back) is relatively variable, but I would recommend choosing enough space that you can access the towers to move them around, check for bugs and spray.
In our greenhouse, we usually have around 20 inches of space between rows to do this.
Green Wall Spacing
Now if you’re growing on a wall or in a center-facing row with towers, you can space them much more closely. When we put towers on a wall or grow them on racks (centerfacing rows) we can often space them very closely.
For very bushy crops, I would recommend 12 inch centers, with 8 inches between towers.
For more average crops like lettuce you might space the towers on 8 inch centers (with 4 inches between towers), and for very short-statured crops that like to be planted densely you can place towers side by side, or space them with only an inch or two between the towers.
Depending on the crop and spacing that you choose with this technique, you can end up with a very bushy, dense wall of vegetation.
This could help you thwart the bone chilling winter winds, reduce your cooling costs in the summer with a south wall filled with living greens or just create a beautiful living, salad producing fence in your backyard!
It all comes back to your situation and goals
The spacing that you choose really depends on your needs.
We design these towers to be as basic and flexible as possible so that you can use them for commercial production in a greenhouse, or to cover the wall of your garage; so that you can use them as accents in your garden, or use them in industrial production techniques in warehouses; so that you can really do as many creative things as possible with them.
We are super pumped to see folks growing in freight containers, and warehouses, on the sides of buildings, in greenhouses, on rooftops and making towers the centerpiece of their installations.
People are using towers to clean up wastewater and for live sales in restaurants and grocery stores.
ZipGrow Tricks of the Trade
All of our Upstart Farmers have their own methods and tricks- practices unique to their style of growing and market. As you learn to grow with towers, you too will come up with your own preferred spacing and growing style. This gives you the basics on spacing, but how you end up spacing in the end is completely up to you.
We’re happy to help you as much as we can as you work on spacing. Don’t hesitate to ask us questions- we’ll do our best to answer them!
Remember that almost all of the aquaponics and vertical growing knowledge you will gain will be gained through practice!