Last week I finished my second windowfarm setup. This time, I’m using a t-joint system to lift the water.
After seeing some great posts of other setups in the last 6 months, I decided to look for plastic pots that I could fix to a free standing dowel. After no luck finding plastic pots in Baltimore in November, I bought some plastic cups at $1 each from Target. The cups were easy to drill into for holes, and where the perfect size for 3 inch net cups.
After sizing a piece of bead chain around the tops of the cups, I looped the bead chain through a hole in a wooden dowel and set the cup in the chain. The cups are spaced every 12 inches along the dowel:
In the bottoms of the cups, I drilled holes for my drainage lines:
I put drainage lines on each cup because I couldn’t get acceptable dripping from one to the next. Water would stick to the cup, rather than fall straight down. I also tried string and short sections of tubing, but water would splatter and/or miss the next cup during periods of high flow. Plenty of friction keeps the system water tight.
Once hanging, an additional rubber band helped keep the cups level:
I like this hanging cup setup because it isn’t difficult to move cups around. Though I’m not 100% behind the holes in the dowel idea. It isn’t easy to drill aligned and level holes when all you have is your arm to guide you. Alternative ideas might be to hang the bead chain on a hook, or to drill small holes in each cup and thread string/wire/chain through each similar to a V3 windowfarm.
The bottom cup acts as a reservoir. It doesn’t hold much water, so I’ll probably need to add water every day when the plants get big. Pre-mixing my nutrients in a gallon jug will be essential.
Specifics on the t-joint setup:
- It is a bit more than 2 feet from the top of the reservoir cup to the bottom of the loop, and about 1 foot from the bottom of the loop up to the t-joint. The reservoir cup is about 6 inches tall.
- The stand on the right is for the air pump. This way the pump is higher than the top of the reservoir cup and water should never flow back into the pump.
- One key to this setup was having a tube with a wide inner diameter for the air+water line. My reservoir line inner diameter is 1/8 inch, and my air+water line is 1/4 inch. When the two lines were the same, the air tended to flow back into the reservoir.
Here is an annotated close-up:
I placed a valve on both the air and water lines so that I can have maximum control over the overall flow rate (I had lots of flow issues with my V2 airlift). I also inserted an extra valve + t-joint as a drainage line. My only concern is that the small valves may get clogged. Only time will tell.
I have two columns for my two air lines coming out of the pump. In between the two columns is a third column for lights. I just have two lights, but I may add more. This window faces east:
I’ve planted sweet valentine lettuce, endive, jalapeno, basil, and black cherry tomato. The lettuce are already a 1/2 inch to an inch tall, so they will be going in first. I’m sure the tomato is going to want to grow everywhere, so I need to figure out a good way to manage it.
So far, I really like the t-joint. It seems very stable and easy to setup.