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Window Farms make due

Window Farms make due

Not everyone has a yard to grow food in. However most people have at least one window, and most of those people heat their homes in the winter, so guess what? In effect, they also have a year round green house just waiting to be DIY-ified into a Window Farm!

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While certainly an exciting opportunity for apartment dwellers and those without any soil to till, Window Farms are a useful option for everyone in that they are viable year round.

Vertical hydroponic farming in front of your window.

Photo by flickr.com/windowfarms

What with population growth, limited water resources, suburban sprawl reaping huge profits for those developing prime farmland, rising fuel costs, and a host of other challenges for agriculture, the cost of food is only going up. So growing as much of your own food as possible makes a lot of sense.

Take a look at the Window Farms Blog where you can get building instructions, safety warnings and access to R & D from previous and existing projects.

Olivia Chen covered Window Farms for Inhabitat last year & the project recently exhibited at the 2010 San Mateo Maker’s Faire where they took the Make magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award. Congratulations!

14 Comments

  • OMG i want to make a window farm. My apt gets shitty light in general, but a window garden would work well.

  • Yeah, I think they are pretty cool. An old fish tank pump could be employed for the hydroponic system and the bottles are easy to collect or find. So the fact that it can be made mostly out of used, upcycled, or low impact items is pretty nifty to boot. I believe that simple small grow lights can be employed as well for low light situations and there are also shade plants to be considered.

    So many awesome and worthy projects – so little time.

  • ooooh! we (over here in beijing) likey!

    • Hi Beijing!
      Yeah, big time eh? How many Billion over there now? Window farms make a lot of sense! I’ll bet folks over there could contribute some great improvements to the design and function of the system. It is Open Source after all!

  • I have a “Black Thumb”. But, if I could make things grow, I would totally build a window farm. That is very cool.

    • Actually, Mr. Rambo, that whole “I can’t grow plants” attitude is a very common misconception. I don’t know where it originated, maybe with the expression “green thumb” itself. But growing things isn’t actually a talent, it’s a skill. That’s something a lot of people don’t know.

      I talked to a woman in Tennessee who’d never gardened because she just believed she wasn’t good at it… well I’ve talked to a lot of people who believe that. It’s because everybody’s first plants die, and their second plants die, and you learn by making mistakes until you’re decent at it, and then everybody goes “oh wow you have a green thumb!”

      I’d say, if you set up a wee window farm, it might die but it might live. Could be fun.

    • I agree Hun. The “Geek Gardening” article in the June issue of Wired is REALLY good. It suggests addressing gardening as working a system, or as engineering, “Domestic Terraforming” as they suggest.

      Check it out here:
      http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/05/ff_domestic_terraforming

      Make sure to click on the links on the first page, bottom left, under the heading: “Where Will Your Garden Grow?” It details with lush graphics some great uses of various sized spaces commonly found with various sized residences.

    • OMG I read that article yesterday and I LOVE IT

      was going to repost it here sometime soon. So cool.

  • What about plastic leaching? I’d worry about that with those bottles. But this is such a cool idea.

    • I wonder about plastic leaching too… but those bottles they sell water in, those must be BPA-free by now right? Still it’d be worth considering.

      This is super cool.

    • I suspect that leaching BPA is already so prevalent that it is the least of worries when compared to heavy metals and such:
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100624/ap_on_sc/whaling

      But still, I’ll also bet there are solutions to that issue. Using lightweight cables, one could hang heavier non-reactive containers. That and yes, Hun, I believe that BPA free containers are more prevalent these days. Or at least that’s what they’re selling …

      Heck even using soil, the idea of farming indoors is pretty nifty. Good for your air quality and if you live somewhere with less sunshine, like in the North-West, then adding some full spectrum lights not only helps grow plants, but stave off winter sun deprivation related stabby depression …

    • I would want to use glass. Pretty pretty glass orbs. But I don’t know where to scrounge those up without resorting to some Pottery Crate Container store.

      Anyway. I have visions. Probably saw too many glass terrariums in my childhood.

    • And “stabby depression” is my new favorite word combo.

  • I have been wanting to make one of these for sometime now. I have this idea that old picture frames would make a great holder for them.

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