New School Indoor and Old School Outdoor Hydroponics

New School Indoor Hydroponics

I got a invite to support a “new venture” from Kickstarter the other day, Windowfarms, Vertical Food Gardens. They are a little high tech from a permaculture point of view but I think the idea of indoor hydroponics is worth additional consideration, especially as a way to grow food indoors for urban dwellers.

  • It provides food supply redundancy for the city dweller.
  • It uses heat and light already available indoors.
  • It obtains a food yield.
  • It makes use of the window “microclimate”.

If only the pump were solar powered and the nutrient pack was some combination of compost and worm tea……

Windowfarms DIY

While looking for a picture to add this post, I stumbled on this post at the Cheap Vegetable Gardener  from which I learned that the Windowfarms concept  started as a DIY and is an open source community continually improving the system design  and focusing on using recycled materials.   Now this looks more like where I want to go (though I’m still looking for a solar powered pump).

Chinampas, Old School Hydroponics

On another note, looking at my PDC course notes this morning (before heading out for Thanksgiving activities)  I also read about the Chinampas, the floating gardens of Mexico.  Although these do not exist as once did, here’s a more permaculture approach to hydroponics from back in the day.

“Abbe Francesco Clavigero describes the true floating gardens as follows: “They plait and twist Willows and roots of many plants, or other materials, together, which are light, but capable of supporting the earth of the garden firmly united. Upon this foundation they lay the light bushes which float on the lake, and over all the mud and dirt which they draw from the bottom of the same lake.”
The common form was a quadrangle, and the average size about fifteen by forty feet, although some of the largest were a hundred feet in extent. Many of the latter contained a small hut, in which the cultivator sometimes lmed; one or more trees were also growing in the centre of these largest plots. The earth used was extremely rich, and this being kept in a moist state by its proximity to the water (the elevation above it being not over a foot), the gardens were productive of the choicest vegetables and flowers, including also Maize.
The gardens of the present day are very different affairs. They do not float, but, on the contrary, are composed of strips of solid ground, usually about fifteen by thirty feet in extent, although some are larger. These plots are intersected by small canals, through which visitors are propelled in canoes. They are constructed by heaping up the earth about two feet above the water…..”

Charles H. Coe, Garden and Forest 8, [1895] :432-433

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