I started growing three tomato plants in my windowfarm using maxsea 16-16-16 plant food and started to notice that a portion of the stem is purple and the underside of the first two leaves are purple. The new leaves on the top are perfectly green. I read that this is evidence of a phosphorous deficiency. I was a little conservative with the amount of plant food I was adding in the beginning but I’ve recently been using a 1 teaspoon/gallon of maxsea 16-16-16 in a purified water solution. Is it wise to add a phosphorous supplement solution to my reservoir?! I also have my pump watering non-stop.
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I have got my bottle columns up and running now.
And am doing some tests for waterproofing, timing and P.H readings.
I have added my nutrients, clay balls, the whole shooting match is ready for the plants now.
The P.H seems to keep rising into the 7′s. Not ideal. I was wondering if this may account for the high tide marks I am getting in my bottom reservoir.
It’s a sort of brownish stain.
Could it be;
A: Clay balls not washed off prperly before using?
B: The nutrients. A Rather dark liquid called “Boi-juice”. Or.
C: The very high P.H precipitating the iron out of the water and leaving a film on the reservoir?
D: Or is it plain old algea? I thought that would be green and nasty. This is brown and kind of like a dirty water mark.
I just wanted to get the whole water flow, P.H, plumbing and timing right before putting plants in
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
And I wil try to answer any questions of yours.
Thanks in advance.
I completed my first window farm column about a month ago. I had started the seeds about two months ago but I have lost the majority of the plants I started already. I started my seeds in rockwool cubes and when they were about an inch tall I transferred them to my window farm. I left them in the rockwool cube and set the cube in a plastic grow basket with clay pellets around the cube. Up until this week I was using tap water combined with Liquid Karma by Botanicare.
The problem I am having is that the water and nutrient formula is adjusted to the correct pH in the reservoir but as it goes through my system it slowly increases. After going through the third bottle, the pH is already too high.
After doing research here and in other forums, I made the following adjustments.
1. Removed the rock wool cubes from the system completely and boiled the clay pellets. The plants are now growing in the baskets with only clay pellets. This adjustment seems to have made a slight impact on the severity of the pH increase through the system, but not enough to keep my plants alive.
2. I switched to distilled water and started to rinse the system and replace nutrient formula every other day. Again, this only made a slight impact on the pH levels. Now the pH doesn’t increase as fast, but after 10 minutes of the system running, the pH is back up above 7.5 in the reservoir.
Thankfully that I have been able to hold onto the remaining few plants by adding a few drops of lime juice to the tank every time I get a break from work (usually about 4 times during the day) but my plants are all less than 3 inches tall and the leaves are starting to turn brown on the very tips.
The remaining plants are beans (I think these could survive nuclear war they are so resilient), two tomatoes, two peppers and three basil that haven’t yet reached 2 inches tall. I lost all of the lettuce, two varieties of peppers, and my hybrid cherry tomatoes.
Anything you can suggest to help me out would be fantastic. I feel like I am taking care of a new puppy because I can’t leave my system alone for a day!
I think I’m going to be spamming you guys up with lots of questions in the near future.
I have these two bottles of fertilizer, one for sprouts and leafy plants, and one for booming and fruiting plants. I know I’m supposed to start with one and later use the other. But do I switch entirely, start using both, or split them? What if I have tomatoes and peppers (the second bottle) in the same system as lettuce and chard (the first bottle)? I get the impression this is just the way hydroponic fertilizers come, so hopefully there is a standard answer.
What’s a decent place to order cheap seeds for plants I can’t find in stores? I am in the continental US. I could find a random place and try it, but I’m hoping one of you has actual experience.
How do I know if there’s something like salmonella in my system? You know, before anyone dies of it.
Hi, everybody !
After several plant casualties, my windowfarm is recovering from its pH fever. The lettuce survived and started to grow again, as the nasturtium, three basils and most of the peas (these lasts started to flower, as a matter of fact. Beside a thorough clean-up, the only thing I did for those survivors was to entirely change the composition of their nutrient solution.
So, right now, my upper reservoirs contain water from the tap (pH 7, has been sitting at least 24 hours to let chlorine evaporate before use) and an organic nutrient bought at the Hydroponic store : Iguana Juice Grow (it automatically gets the water pH down to 5,5 but smells like dead fish – really awful since it gets the room smelly at times). Take note that my system is working on gravitation, so I have to refill the reservoirs by hand, something I need to do about every four to eight days, usually, depending on the dripping flow. Therefore, the water doesn’t recirculates in the system unless I decide to reuse the contents of the bottom reservoir.
So, I started anew in one column, cleaning up everything, boiling the clay pellets, discarding the old rock wool and using fresh nutrient solution with Iguana Juice and my worm compost tea. Then I monitered the pH very closely.
Here is what I discovered :
1. My precious worm compost tea has a pH over 8,5 ! I never thought of testing it before my plants started to suffer very seriously. I always tested my pH after mixing in the nutrients and a few milliliters of vinegar to start with. Take note that within one column of my surviving plants, the pH would rise from 5,5 at the source up to 8,5+ in the bottom reservoir.
In the new column, the same phenomenom was observed, but to a much smaller extent (pH at 7 in the end). So, I stopped everything again and dumped the water solution to get rid of the worm tea.
Hypothesis : I use, from time to time, egg shells to protect my worm compost from too much acidity. Obviously, I overdid it. And I think that microscopic eggshell particles lodged themselves within the rock wool, very slowly dissolving into the dripping water flow, thus affecting its pH.
2. Even after my stopping from using worm compost tea, the pH in the reservoirs still has a tendency to slowly (within 4 days) go back up from 5,5 to 7 right inside the upper reservoirs (therefore, it does that without getting in contact with the plants or the wool rock, or eggshell particles).
Hypothesis : there could be in the city water a kind of pH stabilization agent that would slowly raise it back up. But I think that I can manage this imbalance by readjusting the pH every other day.
In the meanwhile, I isolated 50 of my worms in a new container to start a new compost farm. I will monitor its pH very closely to try to produce a worm tea with a pH of 6 or 6,5 at the most without any eggshells in it.
I intend to leave the two old columns as they are (with the old rock wool and the surviving plants), to see if the pH alteration effect wears off. The two other columns will receive new plants in new rock wool, and no worm tea will enter in my nutrient mixture until it has a more suitable pH reading !
All this thrilling mystery is fascinating and I have the feeling that I learn a little more everyday, although it was heartbreaking to see my plants die and quite panicking not to have a clue as why.
I’ll keep you posted.
I’m just starting my Windowfarm (one column) and the Airlift works fine now. Having started with a small amount of liquid nutrient solution I’ve stumbled upon a product entitled “Lewatit HD 50″ by it’s manufacurer, (Lanxess, Germany, actually just around my corner). The product is also being sold unter different brand names.
The data-sheet promises that you can put this into your solution and afterwards don’t need to touch the system for 3-4 months because the granulate passes just the right amount of nutrients to the water during this time, until it’s depleted.
I haven’t ouched this stuff yet but consider using it for my windowfarm.
Has anyone around here operating experience with this kind of product?
Link to data-sheet in english:
I’m almost ready to change the solution in my window farm for the first time. What do you guys do with your old nutes? I have some other plants growing in soil and I was considering watering them with the old solution. I am not sure if this is a good idea or not, I would assume its fine, but I wanted to see what everyone else was doing with theirs.
I have set up the 4 bottles, and now I’m working on my airlift. I’m trying to do the T version instead of the air needles. But I’m having trouble getting the air to lift the water and not escape through what should be the water intake tube.
Any advice for this system? I’m going to go and cut a longer piece of tube and see if that makes a difference.
-EDIT- (20 minutes later)
So the longer tube completely helped! There is no air escaping from the system at all. Now my poor tomato plant that was without water all night is getting some.
I purchased the white frame from ikea and it was around 20$. I plan on having 3 or 4 columns with a string of lights in between the columns. This frame will allow me to move the window farm around and close my blinds at night. I’m going to raise it up to window height once it’s all installed.
Here is a short video of my airlift in action.
-EDIT- (Later that day…)
So my tomato is definately looking good! http://www.flickr.com/photos/58467192@N06/5379181542/in/photostream/
I have also transplanted a broccoli plant to the top of the column. http://www.flickr.com/photos/58467192@N06/5379182328/in/photostream/
My seedlings are starting to sprout! http://www.flickr.com/photos/58467192@N06/5378589329
I made another change to my system… I zip tied the coil of tube in the water so it is easier to remove and install. http://www.flickr.com/photos/58467192@N06/5379179122
Also, nutrients were added to the solution. I added part 1 and part 2 of the general nutrients, and I also added some “maximum plantroids” because it says:
“Plantroids Super-Vitamin Thrive Enhancer stimulates plant branching, increases photosynthesis and cell division. Plantroids also helps reduce stress as well as stimulates root growth”.
Just a warning about CFLs… I dropped one and it smashed into a million tiny shards. Took a while to make sure I got all the little pieces.
Can anyone give me advice on how to put pictures in my post, rather than just links? Thanks.
Hey everyone. I just built my first airlift windowfarm using the V2 instructions on the our.windowfarms.org home page. There is a local hydroponics store in my town so I was able to get all of the stuff I needed from there. They pointed me towards some nutrient solution called Envy Part A and Envy Part B. I had initially planned to get all organic nutrients since I will be growing vegetables to eat, but it was just too expensive. Anyway, I’ve read some about “flushing” before harvesting the vegetables, and the guys at the hydroponics store offered some flushing solution, but I was wondering if just flushing with water for 7 days would work as well. I don’t know that much about flushing and hydroponics so any information would be nice. Thanks!