How Does A Windowfarm Work?
Nutrient -spiked water is pumped up from a reservoir at the base of the system and trickles down from planter to planter, bathing the roots along the way. Roots sit, not in soil, but in a “Root Nest” made of coconut hair, rice hulls, clay pellets, infused with symbiotic microscopic life. Water and nutrients that are not absorbed collect in the reservoir and will be pumped through again at the next interval.
Windowfarms Farming Routine
Your Windowfarm will take about a half-hour to set up in your window. After that, the maintenance is minimal: just tend your plants, change the water once a week, and clean the system monthly.
How Much Does It Cost to Run Windowfarms?
The amount of electricity used to run a Windowfarm will cost you a few additional dollars per year.
All Windowfarm systems run on a supplied timer, which is set according to the type of crop. The pump turns on at 15 intervals throughout the day and night, as little as twice a day (rosemary) or as much as twice an hour (cherry tomato in full bloom under summer sun). If we take the maximum use case of twice an hour (cherry tomato), the pump is running 1/2 time, or 4383 hours in one year. Using an average energy cost for US Residences of $0.12 per kWh (kilowatt hour), here’s the breakdown for the 3 Watt pumps we include in the kits:
- Two-Column Windowfarm= $1.58 per year
- Four-Column Windowfarm = $3.16 per year
What does Bioponic Mean?
For six years, the Windowfarms team has been on a hands-on quest for food growing techniques that produce the best possible nutritional and taste value for humans, the lowest use of natural resources, the widest incorporation of natural agricultural biodiversity, and utmost acknowledgement of the need for scalable efficient systems appropriate to modern life. The art and science of bioponics is an emerging field that combines the efficiency advantages of hydroponic liquid nutrient feeding with organic or sustainable natural inputs and root system ecology.
There is much more to learn in this new arena. Windowfarms provide a platform for both academic and citizen research in bioponic growing.
Beneficial microbes work with organic, composted, and other sustainable inputs to help plants take in the wealth of nutrients that our human bodies need to get from our food.
Windowfarms do an excellent job of using nutrient-rich organic and ocean-derived plant foods that can compromise other high-tech growing systems.
The Windowfarms “Root Nest” (TM) creates an ecosystem that helps plants digest all the good stuff available in their nutrient-enriched water. Did you know that plants can’t actually eat organic material? Nope. They need other organisms to help break down organic matter into inorganic matter.
Organic nutrients sources tend to bring a diversity of minerals and trace nutrients missing from much tasteless industrial produce, but organics can be very tricky to use in hydroponic systems. They tend to separate into a sludge over time at the bottom of their reservoirs and to clog water pumps. Windowfarms are designed to keep the organic sediment circulating through your plants’ roots. By using air pumps, with no mechanical parts to clog, the systems are far less subject to pump failure, and you won’t spend hours every week cleaning your water pump.
Grow almost anything
Windowfarmers grow everything from jalepeños to cherry tomatoes and from basil to kale. Hungry? Check out what you can grow.
Will This Fit My Window?
Probably. We’ve done a lot of surveying, and we designed the new Windowfarms to fit a lot of different kinds of windows. The systems are four feet tall, and can either hang from a hook above the window or sit on the floor, windowsill, or a shelf next to the window (you will need to put two screws in for all of these options. They can be doubled for tall windows, with one hanging from above and one sitting below. If you have floor to ceiling windows to provide enough light, you they can stand freely on a floor stand (purchased separately). If your windows are just 36 inches tall, hang the reservoir below the sill so that just the planters are in the light. You can add multiple columns of Windowfarms to fill wide windows.
Curtains are so 20th century! Don’t be coy. Turn your square feet of glazing into square feet of indoor farm!
Adjusting to My Window’s Micro-climate
Your climate-controlled apartment makes a great year-round greenhouse. However, the amount of sunlight, heat and humidity in the air around your windows changes with the seasons and may vary widely between even two windows in the same room. Try to give your plants the best possible air circulation and plan your farm to account for your “local conditions”.
Hot & Dry- Lots of sun? Heating unit under your window? Choose heat loving plants and add water more often.
Cold- Drafty windows? Choose cold loving plants or use a nutrient heater
Sporadic- Climate controls in the building turn off at night? Use a nutrient heater on a timer.
Easy To Adjust
Rosemary likes it’s root nest dry. A Cherry tomato plant is thirsty. These are some of the delightful characteristics Windowfarmers come to learn about their food plants.
Machines don’t grow healthy plants, people do. Windowfarming teaches you how to actually grow food yourself.
Simple components give you the power to make your plants happy with one little change of a setting. The timer looks like a clock and you can just press in more or less pins for each hour.
Ready to Get Growing?
Windowfarms™ are available in a few different configurations to fit your window best. We also sell plants, nutrients, and growing media — everything you need to get started.