The hanging gardens of Brooklyn
03 May 2010
Hydroponic pods growing strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and boy choi might just seem like a drop in the, um, bottle.
But I love the ingenuity and the aesthetic of Windowfarms, a new way of growing some food in your house, built from recycled plastic bottles and a few other odds and ends.
“The simplest window farm system is a column of upside-down water bottles connected to one another,” says an NPR article. “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.”
So I take it as great news that NPR reports: “Urban farmers use the Internet to exchange ideas for improving the window farms technology. It’s a process [Britta Riley of Brooklyn, NY] calls ‘R&D-I-Y’ or Research and Develop It Yourself.”
However, I wonder about the sustainability of this—where do the nutrients for the plants come from? They mostly need water and sunlight, but they also need trace metals and some nitrogen, phosphorus, and so on to grow. (Proteins, DNA, chlorophyll, and so on have these elements as essential building blocks.)
The Windowfarms site has how to manuals you can download.
Even though they’re all about sharing how they do things, I couldn’t find any Creative Commons-licensed photos of Windowfarms. So here’s copyrighted photos on a Flickr set devoted to these hanging gardens.
Google video has a bunch of short clips on Windowfarms.