Three, Quad-tier, biohydroponicscopicon garden totem

5:23 pm in How-Tos, pumps, Uncategorized, Water flow by Joe

Quick clipThree, Quad-tier, biohydroponicscopicon garden totems.  My southern exposure window will be adequate light I think for all three totems – nearly 12 hours of very near direct sun light. tens of hours of R&D went into this.  That cherry tomato cameo is interesting because tomato flower pollination evolved to occur during vibrations created by bumble bees : )

In depth:  the aqua airlift system is fully functioning! just add water.  That was the most difficult aspect of this project – I want to say over 4 months in the making (I was forced to dismantle my first totem two months ago for a move).

The separate levels are upside down bottom cut glass bottles of various types.  I chose glass that was brown and green, thus opaque.  The original instructions on windowfarms will have painted bottles to shut out light from the roots which I considered to be an important detail.  The not completely opaque glass seems to be okay as you can see from the video that tomato reaches over the top of the whole totem : O  There are various posts and plenty of videos on youtube for cutting glass bottles so I won’t cover that.  If there are any questions about the other facets of this construction, please ask.

Now I will highlight the airlift assembly that works very well after intensive hours of R&D:

The triangular openings are about 3-4mm on a side.  In my design the bottom side of the opening has a fluted edge to create more flow – I’m not sure that actually works.  Any over lapping colors indicate a tube seated in another.  The seats act as a seal.  If the seats are too short the gap won’t be sealed.  The dimensions I put are more of a reference or guideline.  I encourage a smaller assembly or perhaps you want to use just one opening of a different shape.  I chose a triangle because I thought it would create a flowing dynamic better than a circular opening.  The great thing about this assembly is it’s so adaptable.  the whole assembly can easily bend into a small gallon jug opening as you see I have done with my gallon reservoir.  The main feature is the S’getti string that seats over the air needle.  It increases that length from the point of water entry to the point of air flow.  That distance was indicated as a crucial factor for the airlift design in the original windowfarm system instructions.  Another great feature here is I have a three way air splice that delivers air to each totem.  The air pump is set to minimum and only one air output is used.  I suspect one could increase this to include 4 or more totems using only one air pump outlet set at minimum.

I would like to hear a suggestion for an alternative to the S’getti string.  I’m not a fan of plastic and I suspect the S’getti string is not going to live up to our high expectations for what we put into our bodies.  I tried to find some high grade, low gauge medical tubing but I don’t know where to get any.  Perhaps I’ll order some catheters.  Any ideas.

Green = 1/4″ ID tube.  Blue = 3/8″ ID tube.  Yellow = S’getti string.


I do have some difficulties.  See this little prawn feeding on something at the base of my pepper and strawberry and only the NSA knows where else.  Most likely they are feasting on the supple root tissue of my plants.  They don’t seem to be affecting the pepper much but the strawberry is suffering.  And I suspect these nematodes are to blame.  Can anyone id this creature and or inform me how to wage war on them?  The worm is about 2mm long with translucent body except for a dark striation running through the body of it, which is most likely the digestive system packed with my plant matter.  The head is small and completely black.  They seem agitated by light.  I usually see them squirming around in packs of over 5.  Obviously they can’t possibly eat the entire plant but I worry they are creating wound openings for infection that might stunt my plant growth, etc.


Also My strawberry is dying. My blueberry is dead. The pepper and oregano don’t seem to be doing to hot. One kale plant is growing wilted discolored leaves. There is some kind of red or dark mite that is really small. They seem to be putting up tiny webs on leaves.

I have been changing my reservoirs with fresh water weekly. I have been using fertilizers. I have been using orca which is a solution of mycorrhizal microbes and beneficial bacteria. But I worry that when I use clear rez to keep the water flow system clean it is killing the mycorrhizal microbes. The clear rez have hypochlorous acid. If someone else is using this type of water solution let me know about your results.