Gardening:Turn your window into a mini farm

By Leigh Bramwell


Window farming is not, as you've probably figured out, about growing windows.

Actually, I'd probably never have known what it was had I not Googled "garden windows" to see if there was any advice there on how to incorporate windows into exterior walls and outdoor areas to enhance the views of your garden.

The term "window farming" caught my eye and before I knew it, I was fascinated by a trend which is said to be taking New York by storm.

We pragmatic Kiwis would probably have called it "growing stuff on the window sill", but the window farming fraternity in the United States has taken that concept to a new level.

Window farmers use recycled 1.5-litre water bottles, clay pellets, plastic tubing and inexpensive fish tank air pumps to create indoor gardens in their window spaces specifically for growing food without soil.

There are now 4000 registered users at the website www.windowfarms.org Windows are filled with vertical columns of plants which grow with the help of sunlight and a little electricity - but no soil.

If you're keen, check out the website - it provides instructions on how to put together a system that grows three plants.

The materials, which cost very little, include water bottles, an aquarium air pump, air valve needles (like those used to pump up a basketball), and a hanging system designed for displaying art.

The simplest window farm system is a column of upside-down water bottles connected to one another. Plants grow out of holes cut into the sides.

An air pump is used to circulate liquid nutrients that trickle down from the top of the column and make their way to the plant roots.

Window farms can be used to grow strawberries, cherry tomatoes, peppers, Chinese greens, lettuces and herbs.

Anything leafy and green is a starter, but root vegetables don't work.

Off the wall it may be, but it sounds like a great project for kids to work on over winter.

If you're lucky they may sell you some of the produce.

- Hamilton News

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