Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in nutrient-rich water without the use of soil. From a high-tech urban farmer growing fresh, organic greens year-round in shipping containers, to an online community crowd-sourcing continuous improvement of a do-it-yourself Windowfarm™, in this episode we see that hydroponics is no longer an idea only for space-age gardening and farming.
In the middle of winter, Joe and Nathan travel to Atlanta, Georgia to visit a former software developer turned urban farmer whose unconventional organic farm is completely invisible to the passing traffic – hidden inside used shipping containers! But step inside one of the Grow Pods, and you’re in the perfect environment for growing delicate lettuces and other greens. These are highly sought-after by local restaurants to feature local and organic greens in specialty dishes and salads, even in the dead of winter.
Next we meet a woman in Brooklyn who grows her own fresh herbs and vegetables in her Windowfarm™, a vertical, hydroponic garden. She constructed her system using recycled materials and inexpensive supplies from the hardware store.
The design began with one person, but the concept is now shared with an entire online community, with “Windowfarmers” across the world sharing ideas and collaborating ongoing improvements in a continuous cycle.
Chef Nathan heads to the kitchen to cook up a fresh basil pesto with angel hair pasta in only minutes, making it a perfect, refreshing meal after a long day at work. Whether your basil is grown in your front yard garden bed or a front-window hydroponics system, this light, fresh recipe makes fresh basil the star of the meal.
For more information:
- Windowfarms.org – Vertical Hydroponics for Urban Windows
- DIY hydroponics instructions (PDF) or purchase kit
- Joe’s blog post for Episode 206: Hydroponics
- Chef Nathan’s recipe for Basil Pesto with Angel Hair Pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano