Google+ Organic Gardens Network™: Tap Into Your Living Refrigerator

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tap Into Your Living Refrigerator

Harvest Ingredients Steps from Your Kitchen

For those with a green thumb, a window, and a Do-It-Yourself approach, you too, can be a farmer... even inside your inner city building. Hydroponic gardening is a great way to grow your own fresh veggies indoors for those urban dwellers with no way to use the soil.

This fairly new method of farming is referred to as "Window farming," and it is spreading around the world. Window farming city dwellers can grow their own food in their apartment or office windows throughout the year by means of these elegant, inexpensive, vertical, hydroponic vegetable gardens. The first system produced 25 plants and a salad a week in mid-winter in a dimly lit 4’ x 6’ NYC window.

Window farms are made with recycled plastic water bottles and some minor supplies from the hardware store such as clay pellets, plastic tubing and inexpensive fish tank air pumps. There are some 20,000 urban farmers registered who are harvesting food 365 days a year, and cultivating from window to plate between trips to the farmers market.

The simplest window farm system is a column of upside-down water bottles connected to one another. Plants grow out of holes cut into the sides. An air pump is used to circulate liquid nutrients that trickle down from the top of the column and make their way to the plant roots.

After building their window farms, urban farmers join in a mass collaboration online where issues are identified and solutions are proposed for improvements, in addition to testing different techniques to identify how best to grow different types of plants. Window farms have been used to grow strawberries, cherry tomatoes, peppers and Bok choi. Lettuces and many herbs, essentially anything in the leafy greens family, grow very well. Success has also been had with strawberries, peas, and squash.

This process of collaboration is referred to as R&D-I-Y or Research and Develop It Yourself. Through the insights of many window farmers, the designs keep evolving. Improvements have been made in stability and performance, air pump techniques, noise issues and lighting enhancements. Teams in Italy, Finland, Hong Kong and Spain are translating the designs for their local materials and languages.

Each new person who joins the window farms community has access to newer and improved designs from this ongoing collaboration of hackers, foodies, teachers and gardeners from all around the world. This is solving the dilemma of how to supply fresh local food to people in urban settings.

In addition to the environmental benefits of growing your own food at home, there are aesthetic wins as well. It is not only fun to grow lush greens in your window during the winter months, the plants also aid in freshening the air in your dwelling.

You can find instructions on how to build your own window farm system through the window farms website. If you’re not so keen on building your own window farm unit from scratch on your own, you can now purchase pre-made kits. It couldn’t get much easier than that. All you have to do is plant, nurture and harvest.

Watch this short video to learn more.

Join the online community with 20,000+ window farmers and urban pioneers sharing experiments with agriculture at home.


  1. What great information!! Great blog! I am your newest follower; and I would love to have you follow me, too! God bless you!

  2. Hi Shenita,

    We're happy you are here and enjoying our posts. We hope you will continue to visit, enjoy and comment with us.

    Checked out your blog and followed. You do some beautiful work with your embellishments.


  3. Great idea! I'm lucky to have yard space for a garden, but I just added this to tomorrow's lecture for my env. bio. class. Thanks! Maybe it'll inspire some students to grow their own.

  4. Hi Julie,

    This is a very creative idea. You are fortunate to have access to the earth to grow your own, good for you! It will be interesting to hear if any of your students decide they want to try this method.


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