So excited to find this group!
I’ve put together a three bottle system for my daughter’s room that uses an aquarium as the reservoir. For the actual farm as complete, I used under $25 worth of new parts:
- 3 CVS 1.5L Water Bottles (on sale for 3/$2)
- 10 ft 1/4″ OD tubing ($5)
- 1 ft 1/4″ ID tubing ($5 for the 10 ft length - I have excess left…)
- Air pump ($10 at the hydroponics store)
- 5 gal hexagonal Aquarium with under-gravel filter (free, was en route to be taken out to the trash)
- 2 goldfish ($1 since my daughter hand-picked, else $0.10 each)
- spraypaint (had on hand – painted each one black first, then oversprayed the black with white primer)
- 3 netpots (used the 3.75″ ones, $0.50 each from the hydroponics store)
- 1 empty children’s liquid tylenol bottle (free)
- Expanded clay balls ($12.99 for the bag at the hydroponics store, maybe used $1 worth for this setup)
- 18″ black cord (had on hand)
- 1 nail (had on hand)
- 2 ball inflation needles (had on hand, just bought 10 for $4 on eBay to replace what I took and prepare for future window farms)
You’ll see in the picture (will edit tonight to include) that I also used some double-sided velcro and bamboo stuff, but I consider that primarily decorative so didn’t include it in the cost. But I haven’t yet put in the one way doohickey to prevent water siphoning back to the pump, so that will be another couple of dollars.
I cut two rectangular holes in each bottle, which will allow two plants per bottle and made it easy to drill the 1″ hole in the bottom of the bottle. I could have gotten by with a 1″ drillbit and a 1/4″ drill bit. For finishing the holes in the sides of the bottles, I used a hole punch so the corners would be neat (and not “tear”) and regular scissors to make the rest of the cuts. The only other tool I needed was a tiny screwdriver, which I used to poke the holes for the ball needles.
I think I could have drilled the 1″ holes freehand, but I rigged up a wood jig that supported the bottle – another picture to add tonight… I also fastened the “silencer” bottle on the top of the group the same way the other bottles are fastened together. The “silencer” quiets any noise from the water popping out the top of the system, and creats a “finial” effect that is esthetically pleasing. A nearly-vertical nail in the window frame and a piece of cording around the neck of the “silencer” are used to support the load of the system.
For the drip, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the standard instructions. But I liked the description where folks used the ball needles to inject water into forced air, rather than forced air into water. So I did it that way, stuffing the tubing down into the cylinder coming up from the under-gravel filter. The system gets a good drip on a continual basis and it’s no more noisy than a regular aquarium set-up would be.
I’ve transplanted some basil and parsley into the two top bottles and plan to put strawberry plants in the lowest bottle.
In the mean time I’ve got some okra, lettuce, and cherry tomato seeds germinating in rock wool for a future window farm in my other kid’s bedroom…