Window Farms

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by wenshidi, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. wenshidi

    wenshidi Junior Member

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    I just love this innovative new idea.
    Does anybody here have one of these?



    NEW YORK (WABC) -- All you need is a window, and not for planting window boxes either. This is really quite unique, you don't even need soil to grow berries, lettuce, and even beans.
    On a warm day you can mix up a pitcher of mine lemonade with some of the ingredients right from your window.
    You have to set up what's called a window farm. A hydroponic contraption that basically force feeds plants water and nutrients.
    Everything is done out of plastic bottles from the recycling bin. You also have to get some supplies from the hardware store, and add nutrients and water.


    https://www.windowfarms.org/
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    This is interesting, especially their open source approach and keeping hydroponics out of the hands of agribusiness.

    However I can't seem to find anything on the website that says what form the nutrients are in and where they come from. Pretty central to the whole concept I would have though.

    Wenshidi, what's mine lemonade?
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I did something similar with strawberries some years ago it was successful to a point. The nutrient could be comfrey tea with a little potash occasionally.
     
  4. Dreamie

    Dreamie Junior Member

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    Marry this up with aquaponics and you would have an even better system. The problem with hydroponics is the sourcing of the nutrients in an aquaponics system the nutrients are provided by the fish and the only outside source is fish food unless you can grow enough duckweed or the like.

    You could have a fish tank under the window sill pumping the water up to the bottles or you could go all out and have a fish in each bottle.
     
  5. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    What's the difference between buying fish food and plant food? Do you need less of it?
     
  6. Dreamie

    Dreamie Junior Member

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    There is a difference because of the method of obtaining the nutrients. Chemical nutrients as most hydroponic shops sell are mined, and are used with mineral salts to enable the nutrient to be used by the plant. This is not a sustainable option.

    Fish food however relies on fish oil that needs to be farmed from wild fish so it is not totally sustainable either but you are able to grow your own food in the way of duckweed etc that the fish can eat to supplement their diet.

    You can also provide a single input fish food rather than relying on a number of different chemicals to provide the right mix of nutrients so it becomes easier to manage overtime.
     
  7. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    It would be useful to know what nutrient source that website recommends, and whether one can grow or harvest one's own nutrients.

    Didn't quite follow the fish explanation sorry. Is fish oil from wild fish necessary in aquaponics?
     
  8. Dreamie

    Dreamie Junior Member

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    All the basic nutrients that any plant needs would need to be supplemented. Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus and trace elements as well. You would be able to harvest your own nutrients by making a compost tea and from teas made of plants like comfrey, borage, tansy etc grown outside to create the nutrients you would need.

    Fish oil and Fish meal (processed fish) are used to make fish food. You need fish food for an aquaponics system to work. However duckweed and some other plants can be used as fish food.
     
  9. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    So will aquaponics work in a closed system? Or once the oil runs out?
     
  10. Dreamie

    Dreamie Junior Member

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    Depends on how big your closed loop is. There is no system that produces food that is a closed system unless you are in a permanent bio dome.

    Just like all animal farming, the required inputs exceed the edible output at a ratio of about 4 to 1 for fish. The 3 to 1 that does not go into fish bulk goes into nutrient creation and is used to produce plants. To make a system that gets as close as possible to a closed loop you would require;
    • A worm farm converting the green waste into worms that the fish eat and compost.
    • A soil area converting the compost into green growth and soy products.
    • A growing pond that grows duckweed along with snails that convert algae into nutrients.
    A pure closed system aquaponics system will not work but a larger loop that includes land areas would.
     
  11. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Yes, sorry I wasn't clear. I was meaning a system that relied on local inputs rather than imports that are dependent on oil. I think you are saying yes to that :)
     
  12. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Many fish like maggots, easily obtained if you want to hang a bit of rotten meat, or feral cat, above the tank??

    PP put me off hydroponics when he told me hydroponic plants don't make seed.
    Now I find he has dabbled in the arcane-evil art? ;)
     
  13. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    That must be commerical hydroponics surely. Why wouldn't normal plants grown hydroponically set seed?
     
  14. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    I think that algae is the reason that wild fish have high omega threes.
     
  15. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    I don't know.
    If true, it is a worry.
     
  16. Dreamie

    Dreamie Junior Member

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    All types of larva can be used for fish and maggots is one of those options.

    You could place a bug vapper above the tank and let the mozzies etc go mad.

    This could come down to two issues.

    Firstly for plants to set seed they need certain nutrients and large amounts of nutrients at the right time, this time is after the fruit has been borne, hyrdoponics is about producing fruit and therefore once the fruit has been borne any extra nutrients are not essential and without nutrients the plant dies. So it could be more out of choice rather than actual fact. However it could also be that the nutrient to grow seeds doesn't exist in a chemical form.

    Secondly to have seeds most plants need to be pollinated and hydroponics being grown mostly indoors has no pollinators and therefore most seeds wouldn't germinate anyway so no use in letting them go to seed.
     
  17. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    A good use for these Evil Machines of Mass Destruction.
    I hate the fact that every other backyard has one, and they indiscriminately destroy all bugs; not just the blood sucking varieties of mosquitoes. (IF they do that; which is doubtful).

    If a plant produces fruit it has to be making seed right?
    I think PP may have been pulling my leg.
     

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