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Urban Windowfarms: Hydroponics Gardening Sets a Worldwide Trend

Urban windowfarms are the latest trend in city gardening. Urban windowfarms are the latest trend in city gardening.

New York has started a growing trend that’s already branching its way outside North America: windowfarming. Windowfarming uses maximum window space for hydroponic growing and it’s no surprise its roots are found in New York. According to the 2010 US census, 8.2million New Yorkers reside within a land area of just 305 square miles (790square kilometres), and a recent 2011 ECA International report placed Manhattan in the top 50 “World’s Most Expensive Cities.” With living space clearly at a premium, and a population with a desire to still be able to grow plants and vegetables at home, urban windowfarming was born.

Windowfarming incorporates growing structures to hang plants in vertical columns in windows, incorporating access to water and nutrient supplies. In these hydroponic systems, nutrient-spiked water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the window system, which then trickles down from structure to structure, bathing the plants’ roots along the way. The hanging structures used to house the plants and vegetables are often recycled materials such as plastic pop bottles. Plastic tubing and a pump (complete with timer) allow the nutrients to circulate throughout the closed-circuit system, and unused water and nutrients are economically collected and re-pumped throughout the windowfarm.

Hydroponics are key to efficiently utilising the window space: hydroponically grown plants have roots that are more dense than their soil-grown counterparts, and are thus a more compact and efficient use of space.

Hydroponically grown plants have roots that are more dense than their soil-grown counterparts, and are thus a more compact and efficient use of space.

Stockholm, Sweden (the most populated area in Scandinavia, and 17th most expensive city in the World), has recently showcased their version of windowfarming at Kulturhuset (the House of Culture) in the centre of the city. The huge windows of Ekoteket, an environmentally friendly caféwithin Kulturhuset, are covered with columns of hydroponically grown tomatoes, sweet peppers, and strawberries in a massive windowfarm overlooking the urban world outside, inspiring city dwellers without garden space to venture into the world of hydroponic growing.

As urban populations continue to swell, people will look for fun and resourceful ways to grow everything from fruits and vegetables to flowers. It doesn’t just take an urban jungle to inspire windowfarming either: a desire to grow your own fresh produce or herbs year round in more dependable climates will surely pique your interest in this do-it-yourself, fruitful endeavor.

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New York is the epicenter of windowfarming, but the trend is growing in urban centers around the world.
Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 17:53

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