DIY WindowFarm presentation by Gil Lopez for the @QueensLibrary

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Information about DIY WindowFarm presentation by Gil Lopez for the @QueensLibrary

Published on February 15, 2014

Author: glopezsez



This presentation gives an overview of hydroponics then details materials needed for creation of a DIY Windowfarm System. I highly encourage anyone viewing this presentation to visit for more info and watch Brita's TED talk about the project:

Windowfarms Workshop Greening Queens Library Gil Lopez, Compost Assistant

Three Ways to Grow Plants • Geoponic – Soil based growing • Aeroponic – Air based system • Hydroponic – Water based system

Geoponic - Biologically Based Growth • Microbial activity in the soil act as plants gut breaking down naturally occurring minerals to be absorbed through roots • Involves Soil Science

Aeroponic Growing • Roots exposed to the air • Nutrient solution mist applied to roots • First achieved in 1986

Hydroponic Growing Systems • • • • • Nutrient solution supplied to roots Traced back to 1627 Potentially produce much higher crop yields Can be used where arable land is not available Several techniques include: static solution culture, continuous-flow solution culture, passive sub-irrigation, ebb and flow, deep water culture, bubbleponics

Deep Water Culture • Plants are floated on surface of reservoir of dissolved nutrient solution.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) • Nutrient solution re-circulated though net cups containing substrate and plants roots

Bubbleponics • Nutrient solution re-circulated to top of roots drips back into reservoir below

Windowfarm System • Nutrient solution is re-circulated to top of the system and drips through each net cup. Gravity feeds the roots of each plant along the way.

Windowfarms Info • Windowfarms where created by Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray here in New York City in 2009 • There are many configurations and modifications • This is a an open source R&D-I-Y project: Research and Develop-It-Yourself • Today we are building the WF Version 2.0 Standing AirLift Mini (SAM) • Anyone can download instruction manuals for free at

Windowfarm Component List • • • • • • • Plants/seeds Grow cubes Substrate pellets Net cup Reused water bottles Rigid pipe One gallon water jug • • • • • • • Air pump Inflation needle Teflon tape 3/8” Flexible tubing Electrical timer Nutrient Solution Ph adjuster

Plants or Seeds • Leafy greens grow well in hydroponic systems • Fruiting plants also work well • Root crops are not compatible with these systems • If using starts you must remove all soil from the roots before placing them in the system • Greening Queens Library is hosting Seed(ling) swaps at four branches in the next few weeks!

Grow Cubes • Rock wool is a common seed starting medium • Coconut husk can also be used.

Substrate Pellets • Expanded clay is the typical hydroponic growing medium, silicate is being used as well • Coconut coir can also be used but care must be taken • Any dirt will clog the system

Net Cups • 3” diameter net cups fit nicely into the water bottles used to make window farms • Netting allows exchange of air and water with roots

Up-cycled Water Bottles • Up-cycling is using a material for a higher use than it was used for before. • Experiment with shape and size. R&D-I-Y • The clear plastic must be painted or taped off to isolate roots from light, otherwise they will begin to photosynthesize.

Reservoir & Piping • A large jug is used as a reservoir for the nutrient solution. This needs to be refilled regularly • A rigid pipe is used to hold the planting bottles up in a column • 3/8” flexible tubing is used to bring water from the reservoir, up the rigid pipe, to the top of the system

Air Pump • An air lift system is used to move water to the top of the Windowfarm • This system uses less electricity, is more quite and is less likely to flood the plants than a water pump • Also requires a check valve and air line tubing

T-joint • A aquarium tube t-joint will be used to merge the water tube with the air tube to lift drops of water to the top of the sytem.

Hands –On Portion • We will be using a modified version of the WF Version 2.0 Standing AirLift Mini (SAM) instruction manual downloaded from to build our Windowfarm • The modification is that we are not using athletic needles, instead we are using a t-joint in the tubing.

Britta’s TEDxManhattan Talk • After we build our Windowfarm we will watch an 8 minute talk by the co-creator of Windowfarms

The Giveaway • Be sure to leave your name and email address on the sign up sheet. You will receive the Greening Queens Library e-newsletter with garden shift opportunities, compost collection reminders, green film series updates and more workshops like this one. • Signing up for the newsletter will also enter you into the drawing as we give away the Windowfarm we build today!

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