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Windowfarm built with half liter bottles

7:42 am in Completed Window Farms, International, made from scratch (without a kit), posts with pitcures! by Balazs Nagy

I came here just in the right time to see cool mods like the t-valve technique (thanks @gaiatechnician), and the way of splitting airlift (credits goes to @kenokazaki) allowing two columns to be watered using only one reservoir and airlift. Read the rest of this entry →

My simple T-Valve airlift windowfarm

10:16 pm in Completed Window Farms, Getting Started, How-Tos, made from scratch (without a kit), Materials and Resources, Other Cool Urban Ag. Stuff, Plants, posts with pitcures!, Projects in Process, R&D-I-Y, Seeking Advice, Starting Seeds by Jesse Liberty

My Skylight T-valve windowfarm.
Those version 3.0 designs are way too complicated. I wanted to make something as simple as I possibly could using minimal materials. This is what I have come up with:

February 26th, 2013 Update
Moved, Settled in, Got windowfarm back up, new plants started, images and new stuff will come soon, as I finalize my new design…
Black Scorpion

APRIL 5th, 2012 Update
Ghost chiles are fruiting!, and Jalapenos ready for stuffing and wrapping in bacon :)

MARCH 8th, 2012 Update !

COSTS TOOLS & WHATNOT one|two|three|four

  • The Jana water bottles seem to be perfect, it is a Croatian brand of spring water. I like the water, they are 1.99 a bottle, but you can find used arrowhead 1.5L bottles fairly easily.
    ($0-10[$40, for 4 columns]) Bottles can cost anywhere from free to $10/tower.
  • ($0) Suspended with a hook and shoestrings, you can use anything, this doesn’t need to cost anything, spend here only if you feel like trying something fancy.
  • ($10) Airline tubing is 10cents a foot. I bought a $10 Roll of it, plenty to spare.
  • ($3.50) T valves are a 50 cents each x7
  • ($2.00) flow valves are a 50 cents each x4
  • ($10-20) the pump was pretty darn cheap, repurposed from fish tank… 3watt, super cheap, and costs about 20-80 cents a year to run on the timing i have.
  • ($8.00) 3″ net pots were 50cents each x16
  • ($30.00) 2x Timers were $15 each, 24 hours of 15min intervals for water.

TOTAL FOR SETUP: $113.50 for 4 towers
Additional costs(& ongoing expenses); nutrition, lights, paint if you don’t have it, electricity is about 25-75cents a year for the air pump, lights are costlier.

Seeds I’ve Started (for windowfarms or my garden outside): <— Hot Peppers ! <–Cool and interesting plants

Oregon Sugar Pod Peas – Pisum sativum
Green Onions

PEPPERS – Capsicum
SUPER HOTS 300,000 to 2million Schoville Heat Units
Trinidad Moruga ScorpionCapsicum chinense
Sunrise Scorpion – Capsicum chinense
7 Pot, Barrackapore variety – Capsicum chinense
Habanero – Capsicum chinense
Bhut Jolokia – interspecific hybrid (mostly C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes)

Low – Medium Heats (6,000 – 100,000 SHU)
Marbles – Capsicum annuum
Black Pearl – Capsicum annuum
Jalapeno – Capsicum annuum

TOMATOES – Solanum lycopersicum
Yellow Pears
Green Zebra
Black Krim
Speckled Roman

Purple Tomatillos

Butternut Squash

Rouge d’Hiver Lettuce –
Arugula –
Dwarf Blue Curled Kale – Brassica oleracea

Purple Basil – Ocimum basilicum
Cilantro – Coriandrum sativum
Sage – Salvia officinalis
Oregano – Origanum vulgare
Thyme – Thymus vulgaris
Chamomile -Matricaria recutita
Lemon Balm


Skylight Windowfarm

2 (or 3) airlift columns from a single outlet air pump! Works!!!

7:33 pm in Being a good member of this community, Education, Getting Started, Help the project by testing this, How-Tos, International, Materials and Resources, pumps, questions, R&D-I-Y, Uncategorized, Water flow by Brian White

Windowfarms recommend a 4 outlet pump but many people already have a 1 outlet pump and probably would like to use the one they have.  So here I have a video about a method to split the air stream to work 2 or more columns. If you just split the air with a Y or T splitter (even if both airlift tubes are exactly the same), the air will “choose” one tube (or the other one) and then all or most of the air will go up that one with zero or almost zero airlift happening in the other one.  This is because the “starting pressure”  is higher than the “running pressure” for any airlift pump.  So whichever one starts first will probably stay running really well at the expense of the second one (which will be either really slow or not running at all!)

The method I show to prevent this is to throttle both of them.  In the video, I use little “taps” to tighten and restrict the airflow to both sides until both sides run. AND stay running!   For this to work, both airlifts should have similar submergence (but they do not need to go to the same height).  You might also be able to see from the video that you can have one going a bit faster than the other.  So possibly, you can supply more water to some plants when they are big while in the other airlift supplying just a little to them because they are tinier.

There are other methods too but this one should be easy to do and to adjust.

2  airlift columns from a single outlet air pump!

I only did 2 columns because I didn’t have enough tubing to show 3 working.

3 columns  might work in my case (my pump is an old aquarium pump that I found dumped on the side of the road so it is probably not such a good model)

Update 2nd Jan 2012.  3 columns works too but in the case of my pump it is the limit.  Video Jan 3 2012. 3 airlift tubes working from a one outlet aquarium bubble pump

Youtube now allows you to edit videos so if I am not too busy, I will “upgrade” the video (and this post)  over the next week or 2 and show methods to measure the flow or at least compare flows under different conditions too. Brian



Improving the design for more polished looks

7:21 am in Getting Started, posts with pitcures!, Projects in Process, R&D-I-Y by Mikko Mattila

I’m about to build my first WF. While I generally love the idea of growing food at home, the free design of WF 3.0 is a bit of an eyesore as such. I wanted to come up with something that’ll still be a full grown window farm, but is still approved by the wife. ;)

Update: Second Draft

Thanks for the input everyone. I came up with a simpler less work intensive solution: flower pots. I went to a hardware store to look at PVC pipes, and stumbled upon some plastic orchid flower pots. They seemed right size and only cost 1,99 a piece, so I got two for testing. The pots have a dent in the bottom, kinda like wine bottles. See the drawing. This type of construction prevents the container from draining out completely. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

I also decided to try string instead of metal wire, since I couldn’t find proper parts for attaching the wire to the pots. Here’s a picture with initial string based suspension:





First Draft

Here’s my first draft on an improved design. I didn’t bother drawing the irrigation system in detail since it’s not really important in this context. The main idea is that we’ll encase the water bottle, suspension system and the irrigation system in painted PVC pipe. Any other pipe should do as well. My first draft doesn’t depict how exactly the pipe and bottle are attached to the suspension system. I haven’t really made up my mind on how I should implement it. Anyway, the PVC pipe should be sort of fixed into the suspension wire system, while the bottle and the plant are easy to remove. It’s not really feasible to remove the pipe, since the wires and the irrigation hose run through the pipe.



Comments and improvement ideas welcome :)

See the next post for construction details and pics.

My First Build!

3:03 am in made from scratch (without a kit), Other Cool Urban Ag. Stuff, Outside Farms, posts with pitcures! by Peter Boden

I just came across this site after watching the presentation on TED.  From what I’ve seen, this place and the ideas here are fantastic.

I wanted to share a system I build and have been using successfully.  Having seen the systems on this site, mine looks huge and clunky!

I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, which as most know, is very hot and dry throughout 9 months of the year.  I have a small yard, but no usable soil for growing a garden.  I don’t know much about gardening, but its something I’ve wanted to try.  My goal is to have a year round system that I can use to produce herbs, lettuce and other greens.

My system is a free standing, recirculating pump based system.  It has a reservoir full of nutrient solution that gets pumped up to a system of PVC pipes.  The water flows through the top pipe and then down to then lower pipe, and so on, until draining back into the reservoir.

Each pipe contains four grow sites, spaced about a foot apart.  Each grow site has a net pot filled with clay pellets.

My Hydroponic System

My Hydroponic System

Before planting, I had started some beans, lettuce, tomatos, green onions and peas inside in a growth medium that I could easily transfer to the netpots.  You can see these small starts already planted in the photo above.  Below is a photo taken several weeks later.   I had since put a “green closet” (small green house) around the structure to help control temperature and filter out some of the intense sun.  The green house is made out of PVC pipe, made rigid with wood bracing and covered in 7 mil painters plastic.  In the photo below, you can see that the tomato plants are taking off, peas are doing ok and the onions and lettuce are still slow to get going.



All of my starts did not take off.  My beans did not survive at all, and all but one lettuce plant died.  I attribute this to planting too soon, before the starts had developed good roots.

Here’s a shot of the root system for one of the tomato plants:


Tomato Plant Roots

These roots actually started to become an issue.  They started to grow so much that they would block the pipes and cause water to back up in the system.  A little bit of a “hair cut” fixed that (for a little while…)

It's a jungle in there!

It's a jungle in there!

The above photo was taken just a week ago.  The tomato plants by far had grown the most.  So much, that I had to remove a few plants do to their roots blocking up the pipes, and to allow for the other plants to get more light.  I have since added string support for the plants to cling on to.

We’ve been using the green onions and lettuce to make salads for 6 (two adults and 4 kids) several nights now. Below is photo of one of those plants, which we’ve been cutting leaves off of for a while.  They just keep growing back…




Below is shot that shows how dense the roots get on the tomato plants.  This is a pot I removed to thin out the garden.

Dense roots!

Dense roots!


All in all its been a good experiment, and I can’t wait to build my next system, refining my ideas.  Hopefully the information on this site and its users can help me out.




A way to use any 1.5 liter water bottle…

8:18 pm in Materials and Resources by Dom Gregori

Not sure if this has been discussed… It is my understanding that the reason Nestle’s brands of water bottles are used is because they accommodate the netcups. If it helps any, you can use a heat gun (or blow dryer) to slightly melt a water bottle to give it shape. This could increase the amount of bottle you can find and recycle. Takes about 15 seconds per bottle. I had a hard time finding 1.5 liter Nestle’s brands of water  bottles. I did however find quite a few evian water bottles of the size volume, which did not have the center indent. Heat gun worked great. Hope this helps.


Are Bottle Support Holes Lined Up?

4:09 pm in Getting Started by Ed Backes

Hey guys, newbie with a quick question here.

I’m building my first window farm and when i wrap the template around the bottles the support holes aren’t across from one another.  They’re a little closer than 180 degrees from each other.  Is that how they’re supposed to be?  Or is maybe my printer fudging the template a little.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


by Daniel

Finishing the bottles of our giant windowfarm!

3:52 am in International, Materials and Resources, posts with pitcures!, Projects in Process, Uncategorized by Daniel

We’ve just finished all the bottles to our giant windowfarm that’s going to be hanging at Kulturhuset during June.

The rawmaterial to the windowfarm. 150 soda bottles.

We drilled holes in the bottom with a sawdrill. This gave us really nice equally round holes to fit the bottles in. We also cut out two holes for the plants since we’re going to plant double in some bottles and we want the plants to be visible from both sides. Instead of cutting the holes with a knife we used a soldering iron and melted the plastic into shape we wanted. This gave a really nice edge to the holes that’s a lot softer, rounder and kinder to the plants. I can really recommend it. We also made two small holes in the sides where the crossbars that are going to hold the bottles attached to the bars will go.

Hanging out the laundry.

We’re using two different types of bottles: 1,5 liter soda-bottles from Coca-cola that will hold the netcups and the plants and 0,5 liter Plantbottles, a new type of recyclable PET bottles that are partly made of organic materials which reduce the carbon footprint. The smaller bottles will not have plants in them but will be inserted in the columns so that the people looking at the windowfarm cen see the water dripping through the system.

After this we cleaned all the bottles, hung them out to dry and started painting. We dipped the bottles in paint to get a even coat and minimum hassle with spill on to the parts of the bottles that shouldn’t be painted. We chose a nice gray colour that will make the green from the plants stand out! After that all we had to do was watch the paint dry…

Check out the video of the painting process.

The finished result.

/Daniel & Kristoffer

And so it begins!

3:04 pm in Getting Started, Uncategorized by Morgan Miranda

So I built my 2.0 window farm. Finding actual 1.5L bottles was nigh impossible here in Iowa City. However I did find two Evian bottles (and the net cups fit perfectly). For the third I used a Fuji water bottle, but because it was too wide, I put two net cups together (I used two zip ties to tie the bottoms to gether so one net cup could hold the clay pebbles and the other could act as a pedestal. I planted brussel sprouts, cherry tomatoes, and basil in regular soil pellets, and they are coming up nicely. I am a little concerned about whether I need to transplant them to more soil so they can get bigger before I set them in the bottles. Any suggestions?

Also, I have had some problems with the paint chipping off the bottles. I used just regular spray paint, and one has no problems, but the other two have areas that are just crumbling off. Insight?

Bottled Light to go with your WF bottles

10:30 am in Materials and Resources by samenrahmen

Seems like we aren’t the only ones who can come up with interesting thing to make out of plastic bottles: