Author Topic: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?  (Read 707 times)

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WillyNilly

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Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« on: January 31, 2013, 03:44:39 PM »
I am in the middle of setting up my windowfarm (www.windowfarms.com) and just need two plant hangers and my seedlings to finish and get started. Anyone else have one, or do other hydroponic growing? Any tips or warnings? There is a forum on the windowfarms site but its a bit un-user friendly...

I am a successful apartment gardener already, with fruiting pepper plants, a fruiting lemon tree, aloe, past basil crops (until I got afids >:( ), and lots of decorative foliage, but I've never done hydroponics before.


ladymaureen

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 07:46:59 PM »
I had never heard of that, but I just looked at the site and it's really cool!

WillyNilly

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2013, 11:49:46 AM »
It is really cool!  And it was super easy to set up.  The site, and the internet as a whole, has plenty of plans for making your own system with old water bottles, etc but I have the kit. 

The (NYC) Museum of Natural History has a special exhibit on hydroponics currently with the same system but i haven't been ale to get there. I just wonder if there are any 'best practices' type advice, the instructions are minimal to say the least!

squeakers

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2013, 01:21:03 PM »
Know how much water you need per type of plant.  Too much water can cause mold growth.  Some plants require more acid in their diet (like tomatoes.) Trimming plants at the tip/where the last leaf connects can cause the plant to grow back as a split/branching at the cut spot.. which is how you promote "bushiness".  And that is about all I remember from the days of doing some hydroponic growing. Hmm.. vaguely recalling something about light cycles being different for different stages of growth but that would not be applicable to window growing.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2013, 01:38:20 PM »
Thanks! I am concerned about how much water to use, so mold is a good thing to think about and keep a look out for. 

My system is vertical so the top one gets the fresh water and it then it drips down to the next plant, and so forth for a total of 4 plants.  The windowfarms site doesn't really have any information but my guess is the top plant gets the most water and the bottom plant gets the least (as it gets absorbed by the upper plants) so I'm trying to plan out the order of my plants. I guess I'll just read the seed packets on how much water each one wants (I ordered strawberries, basil, stevia and spinach seeds, and have some very nice jalapeno seeds already) and arrange appropriately.

And thanks for the tip on trimming (or harvesting) leaves.

squeakers

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2013, 05:56:50 PM »
Stevia, jalepeno and spinach get pretty tall.. so another thing to think about.  You can promote water drainage by having bigger holes.. and can later block some of the holes if you change up the plants next year/whenever. Of the ones you listed spinach is the most "thirsty". Strawberries  and jalapenos when setting their fruit want a bit more water.

I'll be finding out more about Basil this spring.. we have about 6 varieties worth of seeds and my oldest son wants at least 2 plants of each kind just to see if they taste any different.  We're going heavy on herbs along with tomatoes.  Skipping peas, lettuce and strawberries (digging them out). Plus adding a few "tea" type plants like lavender, lemon Balm etc.

We do outside box gardening along with traditional plots. But we also have a small greenhouse in the basement to start plants in. The girl cat likes it cos she lays on top of it all winter keeping warm even when the firewood furnace isn't going (we grew the cats cat grass and right now there is sprouted garlic in it.)
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WillyNilly

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 06:21:38 PM »
I currently grow the jalapenos in a regular clay pot on my windowsill (in soil) and the plants aren't too tall (they produce like crazy though - 1-2 peppers a maturing a week (I'll send you some seeds if you'd like  :D ).  The vertical hydroponics pots allow for 9-11 inch plant height before they would interfere with the next plant, so I'm not too worried, my current pepper plant, and past ones have never been much taller then that. I have seen many photos of the same hydroponics system with plants achieving that full height and flourishing, so I'm confident (and if a few plants fail, so be it). 

I have never seen (or used fresh) stevia other then photos though, so good to know it gets tall - its definitely my 'experiment' plant.  The seed site feedback suggested it should be picked while the leaves were small because they get bitter when they larger, so I guess I didn't really think of how big it would get.

Good to know about the spinach being 'thirsty' though, I can plan for it to be higher on the stacks.

Basil I have had very good luck with in the past in regular windowsill pots and when I was a kid my dad considered it a weed it was so abundant in our yard. Have fun with the different varieties!  Some can be very spicy, some quite sweet, some citrus-y, and certainly they can vary in height themselves.  I specifically got "dwarf" basil seeds for the hydroponics, as well as a very small variety of strawberries.

Cz. Burrito

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2013, 07:00:15 PM »
Slightly off-topic...I just planted a lemon tree from seeds last spring-- so far it has a whole 5 leaves and is about 5" tall.  I'm glad to hear that somebody has an indoor lemon tree that bears fruit!  If you have any tips on how you have cared for your lemon tree, I'd love to hear them!

The systems on that site look pretty neat.  Might look into those.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 07:02:27 PM by Cz. Burrito »

catgal

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2013, 08:31:13 PM »
I haven't grown anything hydroponically yet, but plan to in the future.  Here is a link to a great Australian gardening program that has some fact sheets on hydroponics, including hints for beginners.  Maybe one of these will help.  Let us know how it goes.

http://search.abc.net.au/search/search.cgi?form=simple&num_ranks=20&collection=tv&scope=%2Fgardening%2F&query=hydroponics
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WillyNilly

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2013, 08:44:43 PM »
Slightly off-topic...I just planted a lemon tree from seeds last spring-- so far it has a whole 5 leaves and is about 5" tall.  I'm glad to hear that somebody has an indoor lemon tree that bears fruit!  If you have any tips on how you have cared for your lemon tree, I'd love to hear them!

The systems on that site look pretty neat.  Might look into those.

I got mine as a seedling, didn't grow it from seed (sometimes fruit trees from seed are weird).  But I can tell you I didn't do anything special.  Occasionally I use Miracle Grow but I'm not consistent at all, and I totally stopped once it started flowering.  I do water it a lot, spritz the leaves occasionally and its got good drainage, and my home is always 75 degrees f or warmer.  It gets several hours a of sunlight a day, and once it started fruiting (at about 1.5 years/3.5 feet high) I had to tie it to a pole so it would be straight up.  I had to use a q-tip to fertilize the flowers. Its now about 3 years old, about 5 feet tall and has 2 lemons.


WillyNilly

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Re: Any Windowfarmers/hydroponic growers?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2013, 08:45:03 PM »
I haven't grown anything hydroponically yet, but plan to in the future.  Here is a link to a great Australian gardening program that has some fact sheets on hydroponics, including hints for beginners.  Maybe one of these will help.  Let us know how it goes.

http://search.abc.net.au/search/search.cgi?form=simple&num_ranks=20&collection=tv&scope=%2Fgardening%2F&query=hydroponics

Thanks!