6:17 pm in Completed Window Farms, Getting Started, made from scratch (without a kit), Materials and Resources, posts with pitcures!, Projects in Process, R&D-I-Y, Seeking Advice, Uncategorized, Version 3.0 Modular Airlift Columns by Jaclyn
Hello Lovely Windowfarmers,
I started my window farm project back in the middle of October, and now that the flowers are blooming, I thought I should finally get my act together and share my experience.
Easily the most cumbersome part of the entire project was the 2 weekends spent gathering materials. Here is a cost breakdown of what I spent and where for anyone looking to price out getting started in Canada:
- Bead Chain and connections - $45
- Paint – $6
- Power Bar Timer – $22
- Clear 3/8″ ID, 1/2″ OD Tubing – $9
- Clear 1/2″ ID Tubing – $5
- Hanging Hooks x 8 – $5
- Hole Saw – $9
- Air Pump – $27
- Air line tubing – $7
- Check valves x 4 – $12
- Growing medium cubes x 100- $20
- Growing baskets x 16 – $10
- Clay Pellets- $13
- Maxikap Liquid Fertilizer- $9
- Seeds- $25
- 36″ Growing Light x2- $80
- 24″ Growing Light- $40
The total cost of the system without the lights ended up being about $224 dollars, and with the extra lights needed in the dark Canadian winter the total cost came to $344.
The construction of the system was relatively problem free until I was attempting to get the airlift system to work. I had originally purchased inflation needles to create the air pressure needed to lift the water, but the system was refusing to cooperate. I ended up fashioning my own system of tubes to create the pressure differential necessary:
The end result that works perfect in the system is 7cm of air line tubing (OD 3/8″) inserted into the largest size of tubing (ID 1/2″), which creates enough pressure inside the reservior bottle to lift the water 4 bottles high.
Once construction was finished I ended up with this:
I started off the system with Sungold tomatoes, Chocoalte cherry tomatoes, summer squash, kale, strawberry, bell pepper, cilanto, beans, and basil all from seeds except the strawberry which was a clipping saved out of the garden at the end of the season. The kale, cilantro and basil kicked the bucket quite early, since I believe I put them in the system a little young, and they did not enjoy being dripped on. The summer squash and a bean also suffered a fatality. They seemed to simply lose the will to live, after I cleaned the window with vinegar and lemon juice. The plants were caught in the crossfire. These failures were replaced with green beans, cayenne pepper, spagetti squash, yellow pear tomatoes and snow peas.
There are a couple of alterations I want to make to the system. The most urgent of which is how I am going to support a spagetti squash if any of my pollenated blossoms decide to fruit. Also, I want to change out my tubing system for a t-lift air system with black tubing so there is no need to clean the tubes of algae, and the reserviors will also require less frequent filling. As well I am searching for a different medium than water bottles to build the system out of, perhaps along the lines of a mechanics oil funnel, if I can find the right size.
Heres hoping to see the fruit of my labour soon! There are sungold tomato, spagetti squash, green bean, chocolate cherry tomato, and cayenne pepper blossoms currently, so its a race to ripeness!
Happy Farming Everyone! (I would love to hear any feedback you have)