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Gardening

Hydroponic Window Boxes

outRIAAge | Sep 23, 201606:41 PM     6

Living in an apartment, I wanted fresh herbs. So I got into hydroponics, and invented a hydroponic window box. Just like a regular window box, but made from 3/8" cedar, and only sealed on the joints to make it waterproof. It's not simple carpentry: it needs a different kind of dovetailed joint than the one John Lennon was fond of.

Quick hydroponic tutorial: the whole idea is to drown roots, then persuade them that they don't mind being drowned by getting oxygen and nutrients to them. The plants are in sterile soil in a nutrient bath. It quickly gets complicated, with pumps and aerators and meters and money...

... except cedar is very special. Not only does it resist rot, but a window box made with unsealed cedar breathes by itself. Plenty oxygen with no pumps or anything. It evaporates water through the wood (which helps keep everything cool) so it needs replenished. I took care of that with 2 litre soda bottles, spray-painted silver to keep them cool, inverted like giant IVs above the window boxes.

The result was one of those things we always hope for. I gave herbs away, I made pesto, I harvested tomatoes! All out of two square feet. When my landlord objected to the look, I told him he could advertise the place as having "IV-covered walls." Didn't work.

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