‘Greening’ Dubai one window at a time!
I have made all our tubing with black plastic. It is better than clear tubes because the algae doesn’t grow so much.
Take a look at these Tags to learn more about T-joints:
DIY Window Farms Part List for Dubai Window Farmers with T-Joint Design
Intro: The below parts list and instructions is modified from the windowfarms.org instructions to suit local material availability in Dubai. We found equipment available in the UAE is quite restricted and had to simplify the pumping arrangement using the T-joint design because the parts are more readily available in the local market. There are no hydroponic suppliers in the UAE that we are aware of.
1 x Air Pump – The 4 way pump is suitable for a 4 column window farm, a 1 way pump is suitable for a 1 column farm and so on. Uptown Mirdif pet shop “Paws and Claws” sells 4 way air pumps with control dial, otherwise there are other pet shops that sell air pumps (1 way, 2 way or more). Other suppliers include Garden Centre and Ace Hardware, Dragonmart. The air pump supplies the air to push the water up to the top pots.
Approximately 3 or 4 metres of air line tubing per column. You can cut it to length as required with scissors. This is used to pump water from the reservoir bottle at the bottom to the top plants on the column. The water will drip down through each pot to the bottom the reservoir and recycle again. This can be bought at any pet shop selling fish tank equipment.
1 x T-joint per column. This is used to make a T connection between the air pump and the airline tubing where the water is moved from the reservoir up to the top pot (purchase at Ace hardware, Uptown Mirdif pet shop, Garden Centre, Dragonmart).
2 x Check valves per column. These can be bought at any pet shop that sell fish tank parts (Ace hardware, Uptown Mirdif pet shop, Garden Centre, Dragonmart). These valves allow the air to flow out of the air pump without letting water come back up the tube which will damage the pump. We connected one near the T-joint and one near the air pump as a double safety to stop water from going back to the pump.
2 x 5 Liter Al Ain water bottle per column – one bottle is used as the reservoir and the other is used as a stand to hold the reservoir bottle. The Al Ain water bottles are available from Spinney’s supermarket.
1) Stick a strip of masking tape from the base of the bottle to the cap.
2) Also cover the base of the bottle and the cap with masking tape to prevent paint covering it during painting.
3) Spray paint the reservoir bottle with paint suitable for plastic (available at ACE hardware).
4) Let the paint dry before removing all masking tape. The strip area mentioned above is used to view the water level during windowfarm operation.
5) Cut/drill a 4 or 5 cm hole in the bottle base and a 4mm hole in the cap of the reservoir bottle.
6) Push air line tubing inside the 4mm hole in the bottle cap. The airline tubing should be slightly bigger than this 4mm hole so it will fit tightly when fitted to stop leaks.
7) After the reservoir bottle is placed upside down in the bottle stand, water will drip down from the pots through the bigger hole and the water will drain from the hole in the cap through the airline tube to be pumped to the top of the column. Reservoir Bottle Stand:
1) Cut the top of the bottle off to allow the reservoir bottle to sit upside inside this bottle stand.
2) Drill a hole in the bottle stand for the air line tubing to come out.
POTS AND OTHER ACCESSORIES:
4 x Pots or Bottles per column:
Option 1: 4 x “Papaja” Ikea Pots per column – We used these because we felt they look better than plastic bottles. Drill 2 x 0.3cm holes at the top rim on opposite sides of the pot for hanging the pot and 1 x 1cm hole in the base of the pot for the water to drip down (tip: use a ceramic drill bit to drill through the pot, drizzle water on the hole if it is overheating).
Option 2: 4 x Plastic bottles per column – Use some locally available plastic bottles as per the standard DIY design on windowfarms.org. Just make sure the plastic bottles are big enough to fit the net cups inside. Follow the windowfarms.org instructions.
4 x net cups per column – These can just be plastic pots with lots of holes drilled in them to let the water drip through. A nursery in Al Warsan, near Academic City sells 12.5cm diameter plastic pots that fit inside the 14cm diameter Papaja Ikea pots. Other options could be yoghurt containers with lots of holes punched in them, etc.
1 box of clay pellets – from Garden Centre. The net cups hold clay pellets that the plants are grown in.
Grow cubes – porous foam sponge for growing seeds in without soil. Options could include using dishwashing sponges with slits cut for the seeds to sit inside while germinating, etc. This can also be purchased on-line from hydroponic suppliers but they must ship internationally.
Appoximately 4 metres of chain per column (depending on your window size) – We purchased ours from a hardware store called Al Wesal on Hor Al Anz Street which is at the backside of Abu Baker Al Siddique Metro Station on Salahuddin Rd in Deira.
8 x Key Chain Hooks for hanging the pots on the Chain (2 each pot) – Purchased at the same hardware store on Hor Al Anz street, Deira. These hook nicely on the chain and go through the drilled holes in the Papaja pots.
1 x Hook per Column – Purchased from Ace Hardware. Used to hang the chain. Drill holes in the wall for the hooks or just hang the chain from a curtain rail without a hook.
Clips, Pegs or tape: For holding the airline tubing in place.
2 x 24hr power socket timer for the air pump – Needs 48 “on/off” settings per 24 hours (15 minute switching increments).
One timer is used for switching the air pump on and off at intervals (we currently have the timer set “on” for 15 minutes every hour, which is enough to prevent soaking the plants).
The second timer is used in case you need additional artificial lighting for the plants due to low natural light. Set the timer for 12-14 hours light. Check the internet for more information on optimal light for your plants.
Ace hardware should have these timers, however they were out of stock during early 2012. Otherwise try lighting shops such as “Electrical Lighting Co. LLC” which is on Salahuddin Rd, Deira next to Abu Baker Al Siddique Metro Station. We bought our’s internationally.
2 or 4 x Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (mini spiral) for 2 columns, 1600 Lumens, 23W – Available at Ace hardware. This is needed if you have a north facing window with little natural sunlight. Colour range 6500K for growing plants, 2700K for when plants are flowering. You can use these with free standing lamps or an electrical shop such as Electrical Lighting Co LLC can construct a christmas tree light series to hang between the columns.
Growth and Bloom Nutrients – There are liquid nutrients available from hydroponics shops on-line and it can be shipped to the UAE. Eco City Hydroponics in Singapore will ship internationally. There are no hydroponics stores in the UAE. Otherwise it may be possible to make nutrients yourself, however some research is needed.
Planted some new seeds in foam to avoid growing in dirt. It appears to be going quite well so far. Next step is to transfer them to the windowfarm.
Hi All, got our first crop of tomatoes today!
Hi everyone. I have had my window farm up and working for a few months now. I had loads of problems trying different ways to get the airflow working. My wife was getting quite annoyed with all the prototypes lying around the place. I tried 4 designs with no success but finally got it working and it was the easiest with everything I needed from ace would you believe it. The needle valve option never worked by the way. I searched YouTube and then had a go myself with a bit from different ideas. Not sure how to send private messages with my number but if anyone does know then PM me and I will give you a call. I am in DSO. Cheers mark
Hi Mark, we have also found the needle valve option to be a dead end, mainly due to lack of certain parts here. We are now playing around with the T-joint option and whilst it isn’t yet a fully functioning windowfarm the testing looks more promising. Do you have a photo or video of your windowfarm you can post? By the way we also have a facebook group called Dubai Window Farmers…
Hanged the pots using Amsterdam Windowfarmers idea of Ikea pots. Drilling the holes in the ceramic pots was challenging but manageable after I got the correct drill bits (for tiles). Now working on the plumbing system. Had some trouble getting the right parts so will need some tweeking.
Got more of our DIY parts today. Found the rigid tubing and more flexible tubing, got more Nutrients and timers, but may need to resort to yoghurt tubs for the net cups. We will most likely resort to option A of the instructions for plumbing since the bicycle valve option is difficult due to unavailability of the sealing washer.
I’m amazed how quickly the lettuce seeds are growing. Within 2 days it germinated!
Planted spinach seedlings yesterday – the wait is on! Looking forward to trying the kit when it arrives next month
We hope to complete the parts for our first DIY kit this weekend. We have planted seedlings and started to convert one corner of our spare room into an indoor garden. You can see photos of these on our Facebook group, Dubai Window Farmer.
Hi Jose, welcome to Dubai Window Farmers!
My wife and I are actually trying both the starter kit from the website and also the DIY. We are now in the process of collecting all the parts. Let’s share ideas because Dubai doesn’t have any hydroponics stores! We’ll take your lead on Satwa this weekend and let you know what we find.
Would you also like to join our facebook group? We are currently growing seedlings and posting some photos… See the group details below.
its nice to see fellow newbies. has anyone made one from scratch? let’s hope everything can be found in one place. satwa should have it, as you can find everything there.:)
Hey all, join our facebook group ”Dubai Window Farmers”. We will welcome new members who can share ideas on where in Dubai to get the parts needed to build from scratch. We’re all still newbies to this and need all the help we can get!
Got my four column window farm kit ordered online!, only now we have to wait until March for it to be delivered!
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