Over the years, gardeners have put empty plastic soda and water bottles to various uses in their gardens, but a group of urban gardening aficionados employed the collaborative open source concept of software development so prevalent on today’s web to create and enhance a growing system they named the WindowFarms Project. WindowFarms are sized to fit in front of the typical household window in an urban setting. The philosophy is this : if you have a window, you can grow your own food and create your own personal “green revolution”. The process was given the name R&D-I-Y, or Research & Develop It Yourself.
How It Works
The founders of Windowfarms came up with the DIY plans to tie together several plastic bottles in a vertical column fed by a drip of nutrient solution cascading down through each successive bottle to a reservoir (a larger bottle) at the bottom, which is then pumped back up to the topmost bottle using an inexpensive aquarium air pump. Basically, it’s the Poor Man’s Hydroponics. Below, Mayra Cimet’s how-to video illustrates the construction of a version 2 Windowfarm:
Story continues with an additional video and photos…
The WindowFarms Community
The founder of WindowFarms, Britta Riley, explains how this distributed, crowd-sourcing collaboration works in this TED Talk, as well as how the setup changed as the original version 1 WindowFarm got better with each iteration. The latest version is 3, the video features a segment showing the operation of this version and how it contrasts with version 1.
Short on Time, or Mechanically Challenged? Here Come the Kits.
WindowFarms has developed several kits which include all the necessary parts and instructions for those who would rather not attempt to gather all the components, prepare the bottles, and fiddle with the pump purchase and setup. The first shipments are currently scheduled for August, but as is the case for any new product, delays are possible.