Window Farm Update

Alright, lets get some updates on the window farm!

So, since the last post, things have been going rather well.

I quickly realized there was not in fact enough light in my window to sustain growing anything.  I had thought there would be enough light, but i had not counted on the tree leaving in as much as it did, and it effectively blocks almost all the light.  So, once all the seedlings got big enough, i put the Large grow light between the bottom 4 Bottles, and i got a single CFL bulb to put at the top of all the bottles.  So it looked something like this.

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here are some of the plants after they got put in.

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then i saw i had an extra chard, and i thought, i must be able to fit another plant.  so i put another bottle across the bottom, draining into the last bottle.  This photo was taken yesterday, look at all the growth.

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and here is a description of all those plants

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So the thyme is at the very top, growing slowly.  its doing well.  so is the mint.  it loves all the water.

the sage is a little tall, as it was looking for the light, but has grown very well considering.

arugula 2 is not happy, its way to far from the light, and is sort of stunted due to that fact. it may have been over fertilized as a baby too as most leaves look discoloured.

The Basil is doing tremendously well.  its loving all the light.  and even the hydroponics are treating it very well.  i suppose thats because the roots get TONS of air.  overwatering is usually what gets basil, but this is so hands off and im really impressed.

Arugula 1 is super happy.  hes also right next to the light. issue here is its bolting right off the bat.  i think too much heat and sunlight.

Chard 1 and Chard 2 are both doing very well.  the only difference is chard 1 is closer to the light, so it got more of a head start, and has bigger leaves.  but chard 2 had grown and now that they are closer to the light, they are doing well.

And lastly, the tomato.  Its grown a lot.  my problem with it currently is that its so big, the leaves keep touching the CFL light, and get burned.  so im having to pull it back all the time and restrain it.  no flowers yet, but its just now starting to be a good size for a tomato plant.

here are some pictures of our first harvests.  batch of arugula + basil

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constant basil for our caprese

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and good handful of medium chard leaves.  with ipad for comparison.

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Alright, some technical details, and then ill give some thoughts.

-Light is on for 18h a day still

-Watering schedule is every 1.5 hours for 15min from 4am until 6pm, with one last evening snack at 8pm for 15min.  (note i had it at 3hours before, and everything but the mint was doing well.  mint started to develop leaves with browning due to lack of water)

-Fertilizer has been ramped up for the last two weeks, as per directions. its roughly 15ml of each of the three concentrated fertilizers per 10L of water. depending on the growth stage you vary the ratios around.

-the plants drank about 10L of water in under 2 weeks. some of that may be due to evaporation too, but i was not loosing that much when they were smaller.


Some thoughts on this window farm.

-my watering system of a pump works amazingly well.  only con is you cannot let the water level get too low, but that would obviously be a problem with any system.

-hydroponics is VERY hands off compared to having to balcony garden.  no more worrying about over or under watering.

-Plants are doing on average, really well.  Accelerated growth and vigour compared to garden due to extended daylight hours (in my case due to artificial light)

-I dont like having to use artificial lights, but thats specific to my situation.  if allowed natural light, i would not run any additional lights and take the hit in extended growth, but outdoors you get full spectrum sunlight compared to CFL’s which is much more ideal.

-having to add grow lights to this window farm is challenging.  you need them to be far enough away, but close enough to provide light.  im getting a lot of burning on leaves, and having to move/wire leaves around a lot.

-some plants are not suited to this style of window farming: im not sure the arugula will last very long, since its already bolting.  thats a situational problem though, its just not cool enough.  but the basil, thyme, mint and sage are perfect for this.  i dont think we will get a whole lot of chard, so its more of a marginal plant in this setup.  and the tomato ill have to see.  I think as it grows ill have trouble lighting it, so it may not do that well.

Overall thought, im very pleased so far.