Archive for the ‘Hydroponics’ Category

Two Month Window Farm Update

July 5, 2010

So I’ve had some incredible success as well as a few failures since the last update.

Success!

Both the thai basil & the sweet basil continue to be a very easy and rapid growing hydroponic success for me. In fact it has been impossible for me to consume it all myself. I’ve been sharing with friends and making random basil concoctions as much as possible. Pesto tends to be my fall back creation but this morning I added basil butter to the mix thanks to the suggestions of my friend Hannah. Check out her blog about living local, good stuff to be seen and read.

The lettuce grew fast as well and was a delicious treat. In fact I’ve got seedlings up for arugula, two star lettuce and cosmo savory lettuce and will be replacing some of my failure plants with, fingers crossed, a continuous supply of fresh greens. It will be interesting to see how long it takes from planting to harvest on these.

Failure :(

I’m down to only 6 plants in the window farm currently. I ended up trashing the peppers because I couldn’t get the aphids to go away and I was worried about them migrating to other plants. The strawberries were destined for failure since the nutrients I’m adding aren’t intended for blooming plants. The cilantro and parsley have been under performers but are still alive. All that being said the mint, thyme and thai basil grow like weeds!

There is TONS of information on windowfarms.org about plant selection, watering & nutrients. Admittedly I went at this with VERY little background research. I used the website as influence for my design but ended up just winging the rest of it. I’m hoping to find some more time to spend reading and talking with other window farmers and push my window to its full production potential.

The tomatoes also didn’t work out for me. They grew HUGE but never bloomed successfully. I’m fairly certain that my issues were related to an over watering condition. It was a bit too late by the time I realized what was going on. I’ve trashed them and will be dedicating that entire system to lettuce production.

Stay tuned for the next update!

Two Week Update

May 23, 2010

So it has been almost two weeks since I put the original window farm blog up. Here are some progress pictures!

May 23rd Update

May 23rd Update

I had to make a few adjustments to the system to keep it from flooding my condo. It currently waters 6 times a day for 30 min and the lights are on from 7am-11pm. I’ve just adjusted the timer to run the lights from 10am-10pm and will let you know on the next update if I notice any changes in the growth of the plants. Since I brought all of these plants in instead of growing from seed I have a few insect issues to deal with now. I don’t expect them to be too bad however.

The basil and tomatoes are continuing to grow as well. I have no supplemental light on the basil which explains why the lettuce in that planter isn’t growing very quickly. It is also a ‘head’ forming variety of lettuce so not sure how well it will to in hydroponic system just yet. I think the large tomato plant is about to bloom (fingers crossed) and the other two have grown about 6″ in the past two weeks. It is a bit difficult to get the light down to the smaller plants because of the really tall plant.

If anyone would like some fresh herbs please let me know! Don’t for see me being able to use them all.

May 23rd Update

May 23rd Update

Urban Food Production

April 11, 2010

So I continue to experiment with growing my own herbs and food in my downtown loft. I was recently been turned onto some new and innovative techniques. Most people know the term ‘hydroponic’ and immediately think of pot. Did you? Well, believe it or not, hydroponics is an incredibly effective and efficient way to grow a wide variety of herbs, fruits and vegetables. I looked at pre-fab systems, however quickly realized there weren’t any that fit my dimensional constraints or budget. So I began looking at DIY possibilities for modifying one of my window boxes into an ebb and flow hydroponic system. After a week of research and design I finished creating my system out of 6″PVC, an aquarium air pump, (2) 1 gal Gatorade bottles, some hoses and connectors as well as some hydroponic pots and growing medium.

So how does it work? A timer turns on an air pumps which adds air to one of the 1 gal bottles and pressurizes it. This pushes the nutrient solutions into the other 1 gal bottle which is already full. Because it is full, the pressure then pushes the liquid up a tube into the bottom of a 6″ pvc pipe. After a few minutes both 1 gal bottles are empty and the PVC is in the ‘flood’ stage. Inside the pipe is an air stone that is now helping to oxygenate the water. This oxygenation is great for the plant roots. Once the timer shuts off the water will begin to drain out and refill the two bottles.

I was already pretty excited about this system when I happened to hear a program on NPR talking about window farms. This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen in some time. I’m going to soon be building the very first window farm in downtown Nashville! Once complete I hope to begin spreading the word and helping others create indoor, vertical hydroponic farms to help supplement their own food supply.

Check them out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLJ6ZDfw3OA&feature=player_embedded
http://www.windowfarms.org/
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/windowfarms/turn-our-cities-windows-into-vertical-veggie-farm


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