A brief foray into setting up a window hydroponic garden.  I kept myself to a budget of £100 and it took a bit of trial and error across 2 years to get working and I even managed to have a couple of salads.  An interesting and certainly unusual project but if you are expecting a bountiful cornucopia of veg, I would suggest instead getting an allotment 😉

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Salad anyone?

The biggest issue I had was with dehydration; as soon as a small plant’s roots dry out it will die with no chance of recovery.  I couldn’t leave my water pump switched on all the time in case I got back from work to find a ruined carpet and angry neighbours’ downstairs!  A timer periodically switched the pump on several times a day for 1 minute to replenish the moisture levels.  I quickly found that choice of rooting medium (hydroponics can be anything apart from soil) was critical to maintaining sufficient moisture between pumping.  At the same time the medium needed to be free flowing or else the water/fertiliser mix would back up and spill out over the top of the bottle containers.

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Seeds will need propagating first into plantlets.

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I used empty soda bottles for mine and you will need quite a lot. I live alone so to save my teeth I kept it sugar-free! The pellets are within a small plant pot and irrigation hoses from the bottle above are cut to direct into the top of the pellets in the bottle below. Things are kept watertight with clear silicone glue.

I had most success with clay pellets as a compromise between water retention and free flow.  I also tried coconut husk and shredded paper.  Neither of the latter too worked too well as they quickly compressed and blocked water flow.

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I used a small Ikea sanitary products bin as the water bucket containing the pump.  Liquid Fertiliser (you don’t need much) is added into this.  Change the water once a month to replenish the plant feed and keep the pump clean.  Other than checking for leaks its pretty maintenance free.

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Pepper plants grew nicely but i didn’t get any fruit.  My set up was best suited to edible leaves.

I’ve produced a plan below if you wish to try your own.  The width and height are adjusted to suit your window, simply add or subtract columns and rows of bottles to suit.


Simply add or subtract rows and columns of bottles to suit you window