The Window Farm Initiation

It's pretty obvious from my previous two posts that gardening has become a pretty large hobby of mine. And while I dream of buying a house and having a garden to tend, I have to make due with what I have. Having a small apartment in the city does not easily facilitate growing food.  I've really been wanting to get something more elaborate and productive going than my arugula and chili plants.

Hydroponic farms have long fascinated me. Likely because almost every starship or spacestation mentioned in any sci-fi movie or series have hydroponic farms. Me, being a sci-fi geek and plant enthusiast, obviously picked this up and got invigorated. But, since my only real "experience" with hydroponics was through sci-fi, I never really thought of it as something I could actually apply at home.

Until the Missus introduced me to the Window Farm movement. Well, I guess it's not really a movement, but it's a type of internet community. Where the concept of creating easy hydroponic farms in small apartments using mainly materials you can find at home (and some store bought things are needed, but are totally worth it). The whole point is to have easy maintenance, high yielding growth in small spaces, which is obviously why spaceships need them. Soil is tricky, it needs space and it needs to be changed or compost needs to be added. In small spaces, where soil is not easily accessible (like on a spaceship), hydroponics is genius.

Basically, hydroponics is a soil-free system of growing plants. It requires a closed system of transporting water, and can be done it a very eco-friendly and efficient manner. Most of the work, once the system is in place, is balancing the water that goes into the system. You need to balance the ph-levels and to add nutrients to the water that will help the plants grow. I'll write more about this in other posts, and since I haven't really found too many window farmers in Norway or Oslo, I'm going to post some general experiments with various ph-levels and nutrients.

I want my farm to be as organic as possible. This is also where I mention I hate the term "organic" in this sense. All plants are of course organic, it's just stupid to say anything else. I don't understand how the english language can be satisfied with such a term. Aren't the english "constantly" boasting about the scale of the english vocabulary? Organic is just not fulfilling, unless something could be double-organic, or organo-organic, I dont't know. In Norway we use the term "√łkologisk" which is more or less translated in to "ecological", meaning it's grown in a more eco-friendly manner. We usually just shorten it to "eco", so my farm will be an eco-window farm. I will call it thusly.

The last couple of months I have been researching and preparing to create such a farm. After some research, I landed on making a variant of the Window Farm version 3.0. It uses an airlift and not a aqualift, as it is more efficient, and has a general set-up that appeals to me. I made it in such a way so I could easily switch plants and bottle containers without disturbing the entire system.

Everything the water touches I've made sure is food grade. This includes the tubing, which by far was the trickiest to get a hold of in Norway, so I had to buy it off ebay. The Uk site though, from a legit seller, so I could be sure it actually was food grade. Internet purchases can be tricky that way. The closest place I got to finding tubing in any Norwegian seller was from places that sell beer brewing equipment. But none of them had the amount of tubing I needed in stock and they weren't getting any more for a while, and I just couldn't wait anymore!

And here it is! The system works, water is flowing correctly and fluidly, the water timer is set and i'm just waiting for the seeds to sprout and be large enough to place into the system. I'll post some trouble shooting and how-to's as I go along and learn more.

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