This is a step by step process of how I built my window farm. It has only been running for a few days so I am not certain that all of the kinks have been cleared from the system but so far it seems to hold up. I took inspiration largely from Rama’s build http://our.windowfarms.org/2010/04/26/our-hydroponic-window-farm-experience/#comment-4112#comment-4112
I had to make some specific adjustments due to my specific needs and also I am based in Australia so some of the materials mentioned in the different instructions are not available here or are a bit different. I have currently started off with a 2 column set up however I believe my set up can easily be increased to any size. I fact once I test this one out for about a Month or so I will likely add a few more columns.
- 6mm (internal size) Vinyl tubing enough to go from the lowest point to the higest point of your set up with a bit to play with and multiplied by the number of columns you want to make, in my case 2
- 4mm internal 6mm external size (has to fit snuggly inside the above vinyl tubing. Air tubing I got around 5m and still have some left over for future use.
- Fairly thin chain around 6m (needs to be built so that you can undo and reassemble the links)
- 27L container in my case a white plastic rubbish bin
- Infinity AP-750 Air pump this has 2 speeds and 2 outlets. I think the one recommended by the site would be better but wasn’t able to find at the time, but have since found it so will use that next time.
- HPM D817 7 Day timer for setting the on off times of the pump
- Transparent plastic bottles in my case 10, with this build i suspect any container of that approximate size would work.
- masking tape
- white spray paint any colour would do I assume.
- Clay pellets
- Net cups to match the size of the bottles
- Flairform Green Dream 1 Hydroponic mixture from local hydroponics store
Glue Gun, Drill with 6mm and one larger drill bit to match the size of your chain, and sharp hobby knife kits or similar sharp tools.
Step 1. Take 1.5 L bottles of water in this case they are some random bottles I found in a discount store that cost me $1 each. drill 6mm holes in the bottom of the bottle and in the lid. Drill holes the appropriate size for the cain at the base about 2cm from the bottom of the bottle and again near the cap approximately 2.5cm from the ledge of the cap. Don’t drill holes near the cap for the bottom bottle of each column.
Step 2.Cut opening on both sides of the bottle both starting approximately 2 cm from the centre line of the bottle leaving 2 uncut parts approximately 4-5 cm thick on both sides.
Step 4. Cover bottom half the bottle in masking tape and paint the top half with spray paint, give it 2 coats.
Step 5. Once the bottles are dry string the chain through the holes of the top bottle and hanging from a pole while each of the other string through the bottom of the previous bottle into the base of the next bottle as show in the pictures.
Step 6. pass the vinyl tubing along the chain and tie it onto it using cable ties or thin wire.
Step 7. Follow Rama’s suggestion. Which is poke a ball pump tip into the vinyl tubing about 3-5 cm from the end and thread the thinner airline tubing into it up to the point where the ball pump tip is. Also attach about 3-5cm of airline tubing to the back of the ball pump tip. I had some problem with air bubbling out of the ball pump tip but i found if i had the back of the tip facing down in the water as show in Rama’s diagram it stopped bubbling.
Step 8. At the top of the set up thread some airline tubing into the Vinyl tubing and poke it into the top of first bottle all the way down to approximately where the mesh pot will sit.
Step 9. Unscrew the bottle caps which have a 6mm hole in the top of them cut pieces of airline tubing to run from the cap of the previous bottle to the mesh cup in the next bottle. Thread about 1/2cm of the airline tubing into the cap and use the glue gun to stick it in place (don’t cover the hole). The glue gun doesn’t hold it in place perfectly but so far I have not had much problem with them popping out or leaking. The last tube should be long enough to go back into the bottom container.
Step 10. Put the plants in the pots without any soil and hold them in with the clay pellets. Then put them in the bottles
Final Step. Hook everything up to the air pump plug the air pump into the timer which I set for 2 hours on 2 hours off during day light ours and off during the night. Fill the tank with water and add nutrients check the PH which according to the company making the fertiliser should be around 5-6.5.
Questions and issues.
Here are a few issues and questions I have.
How much on/off time should I have? I have set it to 2 hours on 2 hours off during day light hours but I have no idea if this is too much too little etc.
I have a strange gurgling sound in one of my columns and have no idea where it is coming from I can hear it somewhere near the top of the set up but have no idea what is causing it not sure if anyone has an answer for this. Kinda annoying too.
- Just answered my own question on that one. I found a small piece of dirt lodged in the entry point of one of my tubes. I.e. on the inside of one of the bottle caps.
How often will the nutrients have to be added and will the water have to be changed in my current position changing the water will be a major hassle.
Anyway hope this is useful to someone and hope to get some feedback on some of the issues I’m having or on how I could improve this set up.