Window farms – Hydroponics

Friday, 3. September 2010

I like many other people enjoy cooking. Cooking that is of course is further improved by eating fresh, locally produced vegetables. Farmers markets are a huge boon here, but food is obviously not available all year unless they have a nice heated greenhouse to work from. The work around is to grow food yourself (which I do) even as just a boutique garden. But what if live in a small place or don’t have turf to call your own, such as an apartment?

Hydroponics has always been a good solution but there has always been some capitol investment towards getting involved and again; useable space to work with. Some geniuses over at WindowFarmshave come up with a good solution to both. Windowfarms are a hanging hydroponic solution that is open source and as such is conservative in both cost and the amount of real estate needed in your house to work properly. There is a small testbed model that uses a few bottles and an air pump just to check out the technology and see if it’s for you. If it is – there is a well designed breakout of their normal design which fits into a window frame and how to customize as needed. Both just use a simple airlift design for movement of the water.. the power source is an air pump used for aquariums.

Needless to say you assemble all of this yourself from their parts list. I think the hardest part for me would be to get the 1.5 liter water bottles (recycled) simply because I don’t drink much bottled water. In case assembling the kit is too much work or time for you, they are also offering proper kits. The pricing for labor is a bit premium if you want something that simply hooks together, but otherwise you’ll be doing a fair amount of work yourself. As I had mentioned before, this is an open source project so they want as much feedback as they can possibly get to improve the design in terms of cost, availability and simplicity.

I like the concept simply because store bought vegetables trade taste for long term storage, and a part of nutrition as well. In addition, there is an extensive use of pesticides on most of them; something that I would prefer not to eat if possible. Even if you don’t want to grow food, you can at least do Herbs. They are probably among the most expensive components of our food, and often taste poorly if they’re been sitting too long.

I’m sort of working on one myself, but there is a few things I’d like to change, something I’ll put in a later post. Go let me know what you think! I like it just for the availibility of fresh food, even if you’re not an environmental hippie sort.

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