Tag Archive | "hydroponics"


Home Hydroponic: Windowfarm

Hydroponics is possible for apartment renters who don’t have a backyard. Turn your sunny windows into a micro-farm utilizing the hydroponic system created by WindowFarms.

Using only about $3.16 per year to run a 4-column unit, this is an economical way to grow your own produce. Fresh and organic produce can be yours, even for those who don’t have yard space.

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From ApartmentTherapy.com:

In order to help urban dwellers grow food inside their apartment all year long, Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray developed Window Farms — vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials. Using a drip system made from recycled water bottles that held 25 plants, they were able to grow beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula, basil, lettuce and kale…

They’ve since written How-To manuals, downloadable from their website, with instructions on how to build your own system from scratch, and are working to produce fully prepped kits available for purchase. You can also commission a window farm, and let a core team of experts build it for you. (More info available on the website’s Services section.)

A Windowfarm. Handing bottles create a vertical hydroponic garden.

What is a Windowfarm?

The basic idea behind a window farm is using recycled materials, in this case plastic soda bottles, and creating a hydroponics system to grow edible plants.

From WindowFarms.org:

A Windowfarm is a vertical, hydroponic growing system that allows for year-round growing in almost any window. It lets plants use natural window light, the climate control of your living space, and organic “liquid soil.”

In the hydroponic system, nutrient-spiked water is pumped up from a reservoir at the base of the system and trickles down from bottle to bottle, bathing the roots along the way. Water and nutrients that are not absorbed collect in the reservoir and will be pumped through again at the next interval.

Video: The WindowFarms Project

Image: WindowFarms Diagram

Windowfarms Diagram.

Conclusion: WindowFarms is Great

We think this is such a neat idea and it’s an open source community. That means it’s FREE! All thanks to Britta Riley, the creator of the Windowfarms Project. After reading “Why Bother?” in the New York Times’ Magazine she was inspired by Michael Pollan’s suggestion to grow some of your own food.

Today it’s an online community and open source collaboration from all over the planet. From Boston to Sweden to China, there are over 20,000 people involved in the community today.

Get started with your very own WindowFarm:

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Aquaponics Designs and Aquaponics Plans

Build a Homemade Hydroponic System

Whether you choose to try hydroponics indoors or outdoors, it’s a great sustainable way to grow your own food. If you dream of having a garden with lots of edible plants, or even ornamental plants, you should consider trying hydroponics. You’ll use less water than traditional gardening. And it’s easier that you think.

General Hydroponics

Relying on a combination of nutrients being mixed together, hydroponics requires the ‘perfect’ balance to provide man-made nutrients to feed the plants. Water will need to be removed periodically to limit the build up of chemicals and salts in the water. Otherwise the water will become toxic.

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Hydroponics Plants

There are several plants that can be grown in a hydroponics system. You’ll want to grow something that you love, like hydroponics strawberries or hydroponics tomatoes. What good would it be to grow 40 radishes if you don’t like it?

Some plants will be more difficult to grow in a hydroponics system. This includes edible root vegetables. The plant structure requires a lot of depth, which is more difficult.

You might want to try short variety gourmet carrots if you’re looking to grow root vegetables. Or perhaps a salad garden featuring hydroponics lettuce, tomatoes, celery and a cucumber? If you love to cook you might prefer a hydroponics herb garden.

Whatever type of plants you choose to grow, make sure you make your space count.

Impractical plants to grow in a hydroponics system:

  • Melons
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Summer Squash

Hydroponics Nutrients

Every hydroponics garden needs to have the following:

  • good water
  • pH
  • macro nutrients
  • micro nutrients

You need to test your tap water. You’re looking to see if you have soft or hard water. If you have that white residue on your faucets chances are you have hard water. This is due to the higher mineral content, particularly calcium carbonate.

If you have hard water you’ll need to install a reverse osmosis water filter. These can be expensive so we suggest you collect rainwater.

TIP: You cannot use water that comes from a water softener system. The salt content is too much.

From Hydroponics-simplifier.com:

Hydroponics Solution… In hydroponics, you take soil away from the plant, so you must supply perfectly balanced and complete nutrition for it.

Plants need large amounts of 6 macro-nutrients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). The NPK numbers you see on a manure or fertilizer bag (like 30-10-30) are simply telling you at what ratio these three macro-nutrients are mixed in that bag of fertilizer. The other 3 macros are calcium, sulfur and magnesium. All 6 are provided in the proper ratio in all hydroponics solutions.

Plants also need micro-nutrients (minute traces of other elements) in order to thrive, just like you do. The nutrient solutions you buy for your ‘ponics garden are different from ordinary plant fertilizers. They include all the trace elements, too. So hydroponics solution is kinda like your One-a-day Vitamins; it contains traces of iron, boron, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, copper, cobalt, chlorine, selenium and silicon. Yum!

Home Hydroponics System

You can build a homemade hydroponics system easily with one of these hydroponic projects found at Hydroponics Simplified. A homemade hydroponics system is a great way to get started.

Here are a few free DIY hydroponics plans.

Diagram of the hydroponics ebb and flow system.

Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)This classic hydroponics systems is easy to build and maintain. You’ll learn how to build a small flood and drain system with 2 to 4 pots.

An issue with this type of system is that plant roots can become waterlogged.

Diagram of the hydroponics top drip system.

Top Drip SystemUsed in commercial hydroponics greenhouses, a top drip system is easy to operate. Using your local home improvement store for materials and less than $200 you can get started with 3 large pots.

Diagram of the hydroponics deep water culture system.

Deep Water CultureEasily the simplest of all hydroponics systems, the “lettuce raft” is great for fish tank aquariums and science fair projects. Grow a tasty and healthy salad garden with your own lettuce.

Diagram of the hydroponics wick system.

Wick SystemNo pumps. No aerators. No timers. This hydroponics plan is great for the lazy gardener. It’s a great system to use for growing plants like figs and patio tomatoes. It’s also probably the cheapest way to have a DIY hydroponics setup.

Diagram of the hydroponics bucket bubbler system.

Bucket BubblerA single pot plan, the bucket bubbler hydroponics system has the plant siting in a net pot. The roots grow through the drainage holes until they reach the hydroponics solution underneath. You can get started with a 5-gallon bucket and large plant.

Conclusion: Best Hydroponics System

The hydroponics culture is growing around the world as a cost-effective way to produce your own food. As produce prices continue to increase, we suggest you try vegetable gardening with a hydroponics system or aquaponics system if you want to farm your own fish.

Choosing a deep water culture or bucket bubbler system will get you started cheaply and quickly. These plans are easy to follow and most of the materials are available in your local home improvement store. For under $100 you can start growing your own fresh food with a homemade hydroponics system.

These free hydroponics plans are a great way to get started with your very own hydroponics system, but if you’re looking to build a larger hydro garden you should learn about Simons Simple Hydroponics Plans. It’s an easy to real ebook, full of illustrations, to teach you the “insider secrets to get you growing”.

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What is the difference between aquaponics, areoponics and hydroponics?

Hydroponics, Aeroponics, and Aquaponics are growing in popularity as more people become aware of this new way to grow plants. It works well because the plant is receiving what it needs to grow when it needs it. The plant is only receiving what it needs and the resulting plant is as healthy as genetically possible.

While the idea of hydroponics and aeroponics aren’t new, aquaponics is a relatively new farming technology spreading like wildfire. It seems everyone is talking about it or doing it. And we’re no different.

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When we first learned about this we were inspired and couldn’t wait to do something ourselves. That’s why we’re dedicating this week to all about hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics. Each day we’ll give you new information, a new product or something fun relating to these innovative farming techniques.

To stay informed, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed or get the recap in our newsletter.

Differences Between Hydroponics, Aeroponics, and Aquaponics

Watercress grown without soil.

While all three share similarities, such as growing plants without needing soil, they each differ from each other.

Hydroponics Grows Plants in Water

Using water to transport the nutrients, hydroponics is how you grow plants without soil. Plants can be grown using liquid, sand, or gravel. All of the nutrients are supplied by the water directly to the root system.

Aeroponics Grows Plants in Water

Using an environment without soil, aeroponics is the process of growing plants in a moist environment. Whether in an air or mist environment, this system is used by NASA and plants can be grown in tubes.

Basically aeroponics suspends the plant in a somewhat closed environment and water is sprayed on the roots with a nutrient-rich water. A drawback to this type of environment is that the roots are exposed and pests can become a problem if it’s not isolated.

Aquaponics Grows Plants in Water and Breeds Fish

In addition to utilizing water to provide nutrients to growing plants, aquaponics adds the breeding of fish. It needs to be a controlled environment and the system is integrated. Aquaponics is a well-balanced ecosystem that is mutually beneficial for the plants and fish.

Conclusion: Hydroponics, Aeroponics, andAquaponics

From SmallPlotGardens.com:

While all three can be implemented in a raised garden, all three are very similar in every way except hydroponics and aeroponics require the addition of fertilizer and there’s no fish in the nutrient solution. In aquaponics, plants and fish live a symbiotic life with the fish feeding the plants, and the plants cleaning and filtering the fish’s environment.

In addition to NASA growing food utilizing aeroponics, normal people are finding ways to incorporate these different farming methods in their own backyards. The idea of growing healthy food that wasn’t bought in a grocery store is growing mass appeal.

Hydroponics is the base for all these methods and would be the easiest to set up. It could be later adapted to create an aquaponics setup. However, the aeroponics requires more maintenance and care in creating a semi-enclosed to fully-enclosed environment. This probably wouldn’t work for most people.

Remember to stay informed of our week long focus on the -ponics farming techniques, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed or get the recap in our newsletter.

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