Sunday, February 6, 2011

WindowFarm Setup: First Column

-EDIT- So this window farm was set up on Jan. 22, 2011... and I'm going to call this Week 1.

Here are some pictures of the first column of my window farm!

The poor tomato plant sat in dry hydroton all night because I couldn't get the airlift to work. Such a sad droopy plant.

 So this is how I did my design.


- 5 - 1.5L water bottles
- 1/4" flexible tubing
- T-connector (intended for aquarium use)
- Airfow valve (also from an aquarium store)
- Check valve (aquarium store)
- 3" Net pots
- Hydroton expanded clay pellets
- Ikea clothes rack ("Mulig" item no: 601.794.34)
- Zip ties
- Airpump (this was from a cheap water filter for a very small fish tank)
- Broom handle for a frame to work with (I built the column onto the broom stick and then just taped it to the frame for now)

I spray painted the bottles to provide protection for the roots. I first purchased grey spray paint, but after painting one layer I decided that I wanted black too. So the coats on the bottles are 1 coat grey, 1 coat black, and the a coat of grey on top. Spray painting sucked. And I was really impatient so I did a crap job. Never again!! I will definitely use a different method for root covers next time.

A lot of people seem to be having trouble with the airlift, I will try to cover that more in depth in a separate post. Here is a basic overview of how I set mine up.

First, I attached the T-connector to the water intake tube, air line and the airlift tube.

Then I shoved all this tubing into the bottom of the bottle. This is because I have found if I use a short intake tube the air escapes into the reservoir instead of lifting the water.

You can see the tubing did not want to sit nicely on the bottom of the bottle. This was a real pain to do and I did not want to fight with it at every water change.

That is where the coil comes in! The coil is about the same size as the bottom of the bottle, so I can smush it down to the bottom which ensures that it stays in place.

After I set up my reservoir, I just secured the airlift line to the column and turned on the pump. This was one of the easier parts of my set up! 

After flushing the system with just water for a day, I added my nutrients.

I purchased this stuff from the local hydroponics store. It comes in 3 parts; 1-2 for vegetative growth, 2-3 for flowering. I also added some other nutrients that said they were intended for stress relief and stimulating root growth. Sounded exactly like what I needed at the moment. Especially for my bean haha.

Here is a close up of the reservoir with the intake coil at the bottom and the nutrients. 
I added a broccoli plant to the top bottle.

And here is a bean plant that I added to the second from bottom bottle. This guy had tons of sticks and garbage tangled in its roots so I was pretty harsh when I tried to clean the crap out of them. Hopefully he will make it!

Gotta love all the indoor chlorophyl during the crap winter months.

Remember my sad little tomato? Well he pulled through like a champ!

So there you have it, my first attempt at a window farm!! 

Happy growing everyone!

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