I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to the windowfarm, between finishing up work projects and getting ready for the baby’s imminent arrival. But I did manage to do some basic upkeep today, and take a few photos.
I added a third column, using the same design as column #2. I vastly prefer it to the water bottle columns, as it’s easy to lift up the net cups (yogurt containers) and clean the cups if need be. It also makes it easy to move plants between columns.
So far in column number 3 I have thyme, lettuce, basil, and some cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes were started earlier this week, so they’re just tiny seedlings right now.
One of my reservoir bottles needed to be replaced, it was crunchy and sad looking, so I took the opportunity to disassemble the reservoirs and give them and the water lines a good cleaning. I refilled the system with plain water (no nutrients) to give everything a good flushing out, just for good measure.
The pump system is still working well. Occasionally air backflows into the reservoirs, but the problem is self-correcting. After a few noisy minutes the water in the lift tube drains and then everything starts working smoothly again.
The lettuce isn’t doing very well, but I’m actually surprised it germinated at all. The seeds were really old, and I didn’t have very high expectations. It’s growing, but the leaves are kind of rubbery rather than crisp and lettuce-like.
Parsley and basil are both doing well, though the basil isn’t growing as quickly as it did when I tried the aeroponic / deep water culture system a few years ago. I’m not sure if that means it wants more water, more nutrients, more light, or it’s just because I’m using a different strain of basil this time. Next time I do this, I’ll be sure to be a little more scientific about things.
By far the most prolific grower is the dwarf sugar peas. They’ve climbed up the window and are now taller than the top of the windowfarm column. Unfortunately one of the plants is still experiencing yellowing leaves, and I think another one (on a different column) is starting to go the same route. I got some really good suggestions and information for debugging things (thanks!) but unfortunately haven’t had the time to really sit down with it and figure out what’s going on.
I’m not really sure at which point I should switch from “vegetation” nutrients to “flowering” nutrients. So far the peas seem quite content to climb up the window. How do you know when your plants are ready to start flowering?
Obviously there’s a lot of variables to consider, and when I set up column #4 I’ll be better about tracking them all. In the mean time I think it’s going pretty well for a somewhat haphazard project, and I’m happy with it.
Filed under: GardeningTags: DIY, hydroponics, windowfarm