Since flowering plants need different nutrients, do most people have separate columns for each? For example - tomatoes, peas, snap beans, peppers in their own column, and lettuce, dill, cilantro, herbs, plants you don’t want flowering in another column? Thank you.
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Vertical pallet planter, slightly different Airlift method.in a 14 inch high bucket and pumps about 4 ft high
I am doing a couple of vertical pallet planters and changed the airlift to suit the planters. In this case, the next planter will have 2 wooden legs in plastic buckets. The water will drip down the legs and back into the buckets. I usually use the t joint method outside the bucket but I also appreciate that not everyone has room for a u tube that is one ft lower than your T joint. I tried a few different methods and this one works.
This way uses all the depth of the bucket and you might get a little bubbling when it restarts for a few seconds but usually not. Note that once again, I got a few days where the tubes acted funny before they behaved themselves. Pretty sure it is whatever sheen or grease is on new tubes. I think all new tubes need to just sit low with nutrient running through them for about a day before you put them up in position. There is almost zero drainback in new tubes and that is what is causing the problem. Newbies are going to be very confused by this.
My pallet planter project is at instructables A very interesting aspect of this (for me) is that the air pump is 120 ft away from the planter. (It still works and pumps the air through 1/4 inch tubing all the way to the greenhouse). Brian
Besides my fungus gnat problem (http://our.windowfarms.org/2011/01/04/borer-type-bugs-in-my-peas/), my second WF is doing well. We have been picking lettuce leaves off around the edges to eat. The lettuce has two plants in it now. At first I sprouted about 5 and have thinned it down to two. I never like thinning plants out. I know if this was in dirt outside I would have thinned to just the one. I just wonder since there should be less competition for the nutrients, how many plants can you get away with in each net pot?
The first pea is almost ready to be picked and more are on the way. The pea is on the bottom and has three plants in it. I have added dowls through the bottles to form a trellis. Since it was on the bottom, the root have traveled down into the resevoir and it has turned itself into a deep water culture. Since I had an extra port on the air pump, I added an aeration stone into the resevoir to give it some more oxygen.
A good question here is which plants naturally have short roots and which prefer longer roots. I wonder what would have happened if the lettuce and pea were reversed…
Here are some more pictures of sprouting the seeds. I sprouted them directly in the rockwool in a makeshift terrarium and then moved them into the WF when they were big enough.
I have been browsing many a seed catalogue, and I am sure that I’m going to buy a bajillion different kinds of seeds. Just to grow one plant of each variety… so…
Let’s swap seeds!!!
Is anyone else interested?
I’ll be posting some information on my second WF hopefully by this weekend, but I wanted to throw this out to see what you think. I have peas on the bottom level and lettuce on the next level up. The peas are about 60 days old now and doing well, and these small bugs just showed up! They look like some type of borer. They have a white/clear body and a black head. Any ideas what they are and how they might get here? On the seeds? In my rock wool supply? In my rain water?
Am I the only one with bug problems? At least my spider mites are gone now…
A big THANKS to @samenrahmen for knowing what these little buggers were. Knowing what you are dealing with is half the battle and it all makes sense now.
To document this a bit more, I am adding a few more pictures to this post and changing the title. Here is an example of the adult that has been buzing around that I just smashed. I am surprised that my camera took a decent picture of it as it is only about 1 mm long.
This now explains the dying leaves on the plant. The lower leaves are drying out and dying and this symptom is slowly working its way up the vine. I assume this can be caused by them feeding on my roots. Hopefully, I have caught this in time as the upper part of the plant is flowering nicely and peas are starting to grow.
In reading up on these gnats, I see that they like really wet conditions so I am going to cut way back on the watering cycles. I had been thinking it was a bit too wet. I had gotten a new air pump when I started this second WF and have not gotten a good feel for how much water the peas and lettuce like.
I bought some fly paper type stuff from HomeDepot. It is the darker part of the image above. It is a long piece of sticky plastic and came all rolled up in a tube. It is incredibly sticky and does not want to straighten out. To make it easier to work with I cut it into smaller strips and put it on some yellow construction paper. It naturally wanted to curl up so I made in into a cylindar and put the tie on it. I quickly learned to use rubber gloves. In a matter of 24 hours, there were 12 flies stuck on it.
I am giving them less water and I have also taken out as much of the rockwool as possible to give them a smaller home. The majority of the roots on this one are actually in the resevoir below. It had turned itself into a deep water culture. I have also tried some hydrogen peroxide since that is what I had already in the house.
As a side note, everything I have been doing has been with rockwool. When I first started and went to the hydroponics store, they were out of the small bags of the clay pellets and I did not want to buy the big “life time” supply bag. So this is what the recommended instead. The one advantage has been that I can “accidentally” unplug the pump for a day and the plants don’t die.
I am very excited to set up my window farm!
I managed to play around with my air lift with a airflow valve, and I have quite a range of drips.
My question is how much water should I be cycling through my window farm in a given period of time?
Also, is it better to have a steady slow drip or to have the pump on a timer and just run the water at certain intervals?
Thanks for your help.
Hi I’m Mickey and I’m building a window farm for my senior project. My kit came with butter crunch lettuce, romaine lettuce, basil, and rosemary seeds. I’m looking for an effective and easy way to germinate them before I put them in my window farm. I can find the instructions for constructing the whole window farm system but can’t locate the instructions for germinating the seeds. I remember something about putting them in a mixture of water and hydrogen-peroxide, but I can’t recall for how long. Thank you for your help.
4:01 pm in environmental impact, Materials and Resources, Nutrients, Nutrition, Plants, posts with pitcures!, questions, Version 1.0 Reservoir System, Version 2.0 airlift system, Version 3.0 Modular Airlift Columns by britta
Plants roots are suspended in clay pellets so that we can run a liquid nutrient solution over the roots without leaving them in a bunch of soggy rotting muck.
Roots bathed in liquid nutrients grow into compact hairy root networks, rather than long big roots you find in soil where plants are out searching for water below ground. The hairs grab hold of droplets of the liquid nutrients and grow into the porous cavities of the clay pellets to find tasty little juice pockets waiting for them even when the pump is turned off.
The clay pellets are a great match for drip irrigation because they hold just the right amount of this stuff around the plants’ roots. No killer sog because, like rocks or pebbles, they shed water. But way better than rocks because they hold just a little bit of moisture close by for the hairs to reeeeeach out and ahhhhha get a little sip when they need it.
Clay pellets provide no nutritional value for the plant; it all comes from the nutrient solution. However, they are not made of lava rock, which would react and change the chemical composition of the nutrient solution. They are “inert,” meaning they don’t react.
I like them because they can be reused, so I don’t have to add to the landfill with every crop. You can clean them and dip them in boiling water between crops to sterilize them.
Nothing is ever sacred and in the spirit of R&D-I-Y, it would be great to find ways of replacing clay pellets with something that was not shipped all over the world from Germany.
However, if you are new to windowfarming, I don’t recommend that these be one of the first things you start experimenting with substituting out. Wait until you get the hang of dealing with nutrient solution first– there are plenty of other variables to change out as you get to know the microclimate of your window.
This is why we include them in the kits for new windowfarmers.