Windowfarm Update

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.

Three Columns
As you can see, I need to clean the windows

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.

Tiny Thyme Plants

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.

Droopy, sad lettuce

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.

Parsley, with the black lift tube visible

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.

Dwarf Sugar Peas are taking over my window

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.

Little basil plants


3 thoughts on “Windowfarm Update”

  1. Hi! Thanks so much for the detail on your pump system and explanation…. I’ve got a windowfarm started (using 1.5L lightweight water bottles) and while I’m not deep into the project (haven’t grown anything yet) they do indeed feel flimsy and and are a LOT of work to boot!

    I like your “little red solo cup” design, and I found aluminum recyclable cups made by Ball (the mason jar company, and founder of Ball State University) on amazon here:

    So I’m giving them a go for one of my columns….

    1. Oh hey, let me know how it goes! Sorry I don’t check the comments here super often but please reach out via email, I’d love to see your progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *