This demo model was all about portability. It has much in common with a standard reservoir setup, but we needed to be able to move it out into the main space so we could show people how a windowfarm works while also being able to put it back in the window most of the time so it could get light (and grow HUGE!!) .
This model came before the move to sewer pipe reservoirs. We used the same suspended tupperware reservoir technique we used in the first prototype that we built in my apartment’s kitchen window.
You can’t see it in this picture but the “plumbing” is detachable and can be moved separately from the plants. We suspend a tupperware reservoir above this windowfarm and use a bucket on the right at the bottom to recapture the liquid and house the pump. We drilled holes through the side of the tupperware container up top and attached individual tubes to the reservoir (tricky plumbing!). The individual tubes dangle down into the top of each column. The “recapture” tube you see at the bottom attached to the bottom dowel drained into a 5 gallon bucket that also housed the pump (on the right, not shown). The pump in the bucket is attached by a long tube to the reservoir up top, closing the loop.
We made it portable by creating a removable frame for the bottle columns. We hung one dowel rod from another dowel rod with tension cable, creating a loose hanging frame. Then we hung each strand of bottles from a dowel rod at the top using the fishing wire technique. There are holes in the recapture tube, into which we insert the tube at the bottom of each column. We tied the recapture tube to the bottom dowel with zip ties.
It was so exciting to just pick the whole thing up and move it down the hallway! It’s light enough for one person to carry even with these big plants.
These plants were all started from seed in February. The lettuce loved the cool early spring. Look at how bushy that blackseeded simpson got (mid left). There are also cucumber (the yellow flowers at top left), okra (maple-looking leaves mid right) , green beans (top right) kale (bottom right) and cherry tomatoes (bottom left), jalepenos, and Japanese Eggplant (bottom right big leaves) in this system. The cherry tomatoes, jalepenos, and okra are just now ripe in early August. Beans keep coming- super tasty, crunchy, and sweet. The lettuce went to seed and started tasting better about after about 2 months of churning out georgeous new leaves constantly when we picked them. Aphids and a weekend when I left the pump off (OOPS!) killed the eggplant. The cucumbers were a real mystery. Like Marilyn and James Dean, they died a young tragic death after a short, but full life. Read their sad story here. Someone else please try cucumbers!