Hi Justin – PLEASE forgive my inability just now – to send you a more direct answer. After doing much research on aquaponics I realize that it uses MUCH LESS WATER than other systems of gardening or farming. Countries who have desert like conditions use aquaponics with wonderful success – and it is a puzzle to me. It appears that our water cycle is closely reproduced in the aquaponic setup. For small windows many people do well with hydroponics and I love seeing their wonderful work. I loved the fish tank and joined window farmers who were getting into this area. With my temporary soil setup, I have to water each plant separately. While the dark soil might generate more heat causing evaporation – there seems to be much more at play with the fish tank and completing the water cycle. BUT, I AM NO scientist – just another fascinated window farmer – watching the wonders of growing in window conditions. There are disapointments and successes. Sylvia Woerner Manchester IN USA.
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I’m currently attending college at the University of Colorado Boulder and I am in cahoots with the environmental committee chair for the dorm I live in. I proposed that we should use all of the awesome windows we have to build a community window farm. If we get enough involvement we could easily split the cost among residents and so forth.
I have a few questions though. For starters – how much is the “maintenance cost” of a window farm supporting 16 or 20 plants? You have to add nutrients to the water at various intervals. Is this an expensive ongoing cost, or something that can easily be found that is a minimal expense? Also, the majority of people I spoke to so far are interested in growing primary fruit and vegetables. Strawberries are a big hit, so we will most likely try them. How about tomatoes? Are they very easy to grow, or do they take a lot of effort?
I am really hoping to get the wheels turning on this project in the next week or two, so any input would be appreciated. If I end up building it for the dorm I’ll be sure to post lots of pictures and follow up with success stories.
8:05 pm in Being a good member of this community, Completed Window Farms, Curriculum Proposals, Education, energy consumption, environmental impact, Featured Post, Getting Started, Help the project by testing this, International, made from scratch (without a kit), Materials and Resources, Nutrients, Nutrition, Other Cool Urban Ag. Stuff, our mission, Outside Farms, Plants, posts with pitcures!, Projects in Process, pumps, questions, R&D-I-Y, Seeking Advice, Version 1.0 Reservoir System, Version 2.0 airlift system, Version 3.0 Modular Airlift Columns, Water flow by Michael Van Varenberg
The Flemish Windowfarm Project.
Hi Everyone, maybe it is best that i introduce myself before commencing with the project and my R&DIY.
I am a guy that is self-educated, i have no college degrees, but i now a lot about everything but not everything. Everyone in my family, including my father were engineers but my father died years ago and i don’t have contact with other members of the family. Everything i know about gardening i learned from both my grandfathers and the rest i learned through surfing the net and reading. I am not perfect, far from to be exact, but i am a team player. I am 36 years old an disabled so i have lots of time on my hands for researching and building my projects myself. In Aqua or Hydroponics my interests lie in different fields such as Windowfarming, Backyard Hydroponics using IBC containers and indoor growing.
I am allso an electronics guy so when my project’s hardware is running flawless i tend to automate it all through my favourite microprocessor, the arduino. Off course i have a network of people that are interested in the same things. I live in the Flemish part of Belgium so most of my growing outdoors stops in wintertime. Windowfarming is one of the projects i hope to build for indoor use.
A couple of months ago i started with the windowfarming project. I first researched and developed it all on paper. Since a month i am building from scratch with recycled materials, needless to say is i want my project to be as “green” as possible.
My setup is now two columns of four bottles with an old drink cooler as reservoir. I have a loop going in the container, water is drawn through a needle for inflating footballs. The only problem is when the airpump shuts off, air blows through the needle, but i’m tinkering with it as we speak…
I’m cleaning an old trashcan in wich i’m going to drill a hole in the bottom and then add air throug a T-joint in the tube, maybe the water pressure at the bottom of the container will simplify things and resolve the problem with the inflation needle wich i will not have to use in this configuration.
This adaption works like a charm. It has been working for the whole day now. Tomorrow i will hook up another two rows of four bottles…
I’m allso warming the water with an aquarium heater, i have a circulation pump to keep the nutrient solution mixed really well and an aeration pump for adding oxygen in the water. I allso plan to release co2 in the water.
10:47 pm in Being a good member of this community, Curriculum Proposals, energy consumption, environmental impact, Getting Started, Help the project by testing this, How-Tos, International, made from scratch (without a kit), Materials and Resources, Other Cool Urban Ag. Stuff, posts with pitcures!, Projects in Process, pumps, questions, R&D-I-Y, Recruiting, Water flow by ryan kelley
3:24 pm in Completed Window Farms, Education, environmental impact, Getting Started, Help the project by testing this, How-Tos, International, made from scratch (without a kit), Materials and Resources, Nutrients, Nutrition, Other Cool Urban Ag. Stuff, Plants, questions, R&D-I-Y, Seeking Advice, Starting Seeds, Uncategorized, Version 3.0 Modular Airlift Columns, Water flow by A.Redere
Hello, I discovered this website through TED, where I watched a talk by Britta Riley about window farming. As soon as I heard that window farmers have been able to grow strawberries that fruited for 9 months under low-light conditions, I was hooked. I am eager to get started on creating my own window farm.
I looked at the instructions for window farms 3.0, here, briefly. My first questions regard the use of plastic water bottles.
I did a quick search on the internet and found that plastic water bottles are typically made of Polyethylene terephthalate, commonly referred to as PETE or PET. Then, remembering hearing that plastic water bottles should not be reused, I did another quick search on what compounds are released when water is stored in plastic bottles for “too long” and what accelerates the rate of release of such compounds. The main thing I found was that dioxins are released by plastic water bottles, and doixins have been found to cause breast cancer in women, but I’m sure dioxins do not just affect women. I did another quick search on plant up-take of dioxins, and found that there is substantial literature regarding this issue as a health concern for humans. Not knowing the chemical structure of dioxins or their properties, I do not know what kinds of chemicals can be used to either chemically alter the dioxins into a safe form or to “sop up” the dioxins so plant up-take is reduced or eliminated.
My questions, then, are:
Is it safe to have plants growing in PETE bottles, with water constantly running through the bottles, extracting dioxins?
Does the design account for dioxin release? If so, how, and by what chemical/physical mechanism?
Is there a safer plastic to use than PETE, or another composition overall, for example glass?
Please do not hesitate to answer any of these questions (especially the last one) with something technically challenging (for example, using glass bottles would be difficult because cutting the glass would present a challenge). I will consider technical limitations at a later time.
2:10 pm in Being a good member of this community, Education, electronic components, energy consumption, environmental impact, Help the project by testing this, International, Outside Farms, Plants, pumps by Brian White
I still do not have a windowfarm. Too many other projects, I guess. One recent project was to show how a gravitational vortex power plant works for the local mini makerfaire. There was no electrical socket near my booth so I moved outside and used a 15 Watt solar panel connected to a 12 volt DC bilge pump to work my model. The vortex power plant model developed a surprising amount of torque so maybe if scaled up it could work a little mini compressor for supplying your airlift needs? An electrical engineer said that neither the solar panel or the bilge pump would be damaged by low wattage in the morning and evening through the system (the water prevents thermal runaway) and this was confirmed by the company who made the bilge pump! So, now, what we need to do is either adapt that system to produce air under pressure. (a little trompe) or find a low watt 12 volt dc compressor that will not burn out in low watt situations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPh4GymUGSg
11:24 am in Being a good member of this community, Completed Window Farms, energy consumption, environmental impact, Help the project by testing this, made from scratch (without a kit), Nutrition, Plants, posts with pitcures!, R&D-I-Y by Sylvia Woerner
MANY THANKS, DAISY, for your inspiration. Just after I took down my aquaponic system Daisy’s post came on. This is how I worked it out for my window with the soil and the bottles I have available. I do need it to make things easier for now. After knee surgery I hope I can get my aquaponic setup back in place. The red drinking cups, filled with soil, have holes drilled in them so that the water leaches up through the soil and into the roots. The plants are low enough so that water can be poured into the cut off pop bottles without stepping on a ladder. The plants are spearmint - basil - a small aloe vera plant – thume – greek oregano and hot n’ spicy oregano. It looks like this soil uses more water than my aquaponic system. Interesting!!! Happy windofarming. Sylvia Indiana USA
Hi, I will like to know if anyone knows how to make a system of irrigation such that by using valves or other materials and a storage of rain water it can irrigate the plants while I am not home. If anyone knows of websites that might help me I will appreciate it.
1:09 pm in Being a good member of this community, environmental impact, Help the project by testing this, How-Tos, made from scratch (without a kit), posts with pitcures!, pumps, Seeking Advice, Uncategorized, Water flow by Sylvia Woerner
This is all I can get on right now. Pics later. THANKS BRIAN WHITE. My son saw Brian’s drawings and made this setup for my aquaponic window. This is an improvement over my setup I posted on 4/27/12 named “Windowfarm drawing”.
Husband Dave and I were in town when one of my lines fell and leaked on my carpet. OH NO I pumped the water from the carpet, then let it dry (3 days) I watered by hand at this time and was too tired to fix the lines back up. On the weekend son John came over and put them up for me. Being stronger than me, he got the system so it can handle a heavier load (4 lines) now, and the drip lines are fixed stronger too. OH – John said the distances seemed important and it was very important to let the water seek it’s level in the supply lines befre he turned the air pump on. I’m proud of my smart son who was patient enough to make this work for me.
I have 5 cups with seeds I started myself and the rest are plants I purchased – rinsed the soil off roots – and planted them in the clay pellets. It feels good to raise some of my own food. (save the earth) *****THIS IS A VERY HELPFUL SITE TO ME*****
I hope someone can be helped with sharing my experience. If many MANY others had not been so helpful in sharing their work I might have given up and gone beck to one column. Thank You — Sylvia – Manchester Indiana USA
I´m new in this, I´m 20 and I want to learn more about this proyect, unfortunatelly I haven´t researched as many things as I would like to, but I want to learn. I´m from Mexico and even though we are a great nation I have to say that we have a very big problem, chemicals. My girlfriend and I are trying to produce perfect vegetables, fruits or even plants, but I need your advices, what should I do? What should we buy?… We don´t have lots of money so please tell me a cheap way to produce our organic life.