window farm

There are many reasons to grow your own food. Avoiding pesticides. Reducing the environmental impact of transporting produce. Improving the nutritional value of the produce you eat. But what if you don’t have room for a garden?  Fortunately, there’s a trendy method of indoor gardening that’s taken off in the last few years: window farms.

Window farms, a form of hydroponic gardening, are vertical gardens that you can grow inside a house or apartment. And due to their vertical orientation, they take up very little space. They get light from a nearby window. As a bonus, you can grow plants in your window farms year-round. Most types of plant work for this gardening method — except for root vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, or parsnips) — which would require much larger containers for the root to grow.

How it Works

The window farm uses multiple small conical containers set up one above the next. A fluid drip system uses gravity to transfer water and nutrients from the top container to each one below it.

Instead of dirt, window garden containers are filled with clay pebbles. The pebbles hold just enough water to keep the roots of the plant moist while allowing air in, and letting excess water drip down to the next container below. The remaining water is collected at the bottom of the stack, fed up to the top via a pump, and recirculated, creating an “ebb and flow” water recycling system.

Setting Up Your Window Farm

The best part? You can easily set up a window farm with repurposed materials — such as empty plastic bottles for holding crops, and large, empty jars or plastic jugs that for water collection basins. All you need is a pump system, some pebbles, twine, and some plastic tubing to recirculate the fluids. You also need a hydroponic fertilizer solution to mix into the water supply to provide your plants with needed nutrients. A thorough guide can be found on WikiHow or you can use a video guide, such this one from GrowAce on YouTube.

If you’re seeking to set up a garden but have only a little bit of space to work with, a window farm is a great solution.

Feature image credit: The Plant Guide

By Taylor Ratcliffe

Taylor Ratcliffe is Earth911's customer support and database manager. He is a graduate of the University of Washington.