Monday, January 16th, 2012...12:00 am

Hydroponics and Window Farming

781 Window Farm by dorywithserifs

It is winter, brrrrr. Really fresh fruit and vegetables would really be a treat at this time of the year- not the limp stuff that is sold in even the best supermarkets during the winter months. To be able to raise your own salad, would you like to join with people around the world who are now farming inside their own apartments or homes?

Window Farms by Britta Riley / Eyebeam Open Studios Fall 2009 / 20091023.10D.55550.P1.L1.C23 / SML by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML

“Window farming” is becoming the hottest idea for people young and old because it enables them to grow vegetables, salad or fruits salad at home cheaply and with minimal light. This movement was started by a young, thirty something year old woman from Brooklyn, New York, Britta Riley. Britta Riley wanted to know where her vegetables came from and how they were grown. So she devised a contraption to grow vegetable plants hydroponically in her apartment.

Hydroponic gardening has plants growing in oxygenated, nutrient enriched water.  “Hydroponic gardening is said to be the most productive way to grow all varieties of plants. Those plants raised in a hydroponic system will exhibit maximum yield, flavor, vitamin and essential oil content.” And because of limited space in her apartment, she wanted to use a vertical planting system.

There are numerous websites that tell you how to raise plants hydroponically and sell the containers and the nutrients.  See here.  So that is nothing new.

What was new about Britta Riley is how she was successful using cheap materials found locally such as recycled water bottles, plastic tubing and simple aquarium air pumps. And because of her success she promoted her idea and asked others to join in the experiment of what she was doing. She developed a forum of people around the world who share their ideas and successes with window farming so that everyone could learn from one another to do window farming. Britta Riley spoke on National Public Radio (see here) and there is a video of her speaking on TED a website that promotes Ideas Worth Spreading.  Watch the videos of Britta Riley. She refers to her farming as urban window farming but I think this is a great idea for rural people, too. Listen to Britta Riley and I think you will want to start this window farming in your own homes.

In June, Britta Riley started a website explaining how to become a window farmer. By signing up for her website, which seems to be free, you will join people around the world interested in window farming – people who will help you and will suggest improvement to the designs. And you can contribute by letting others know what you are doing, and your successes and failures- remember that failures are a learning experience, too.   See here.

TheGardenLady is considering becoming a member, if for no other reason than to help spread a great idea.

If readers are as excited as this Garden Lady is about window gardening, please let the readers of TheGardenLady blog know your thoughts. And let us know about your window garden successes.

Here’s to more fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter!

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