It's (finally!) almost summertime, and people across the country are storing away snow shovels and daring to dream about homegrown tomatoes and bushels of zucchini. But what to do if your otherwise-perfect rental home doesn't have a yard? (And if your landlord isn't willing to shell out $30,000 to add on a Plant Room...)
Don't just sit there staring longingly through your living room window: take the gardening party inside and grow your favorite veggies right in your window! And don't stop at potted mint or window-box basil - go all out with a full-on window farm, complete with electric irrigation system.
Enterprising Brooklynite Britta Riley - who grew up on a ranch in Texas - refused to be fenced in by her apartment. So she rigged up a system of hanging water bottles, clay pellets, plastic tubing, and an aquarium air pump to create a hanging vegetable farm in her living room.
The effect is a window curtain that looks like one part science experiment and one part secret garden. With her brave new veggie patch hanging out for all to see, Riley was forced to put a privacy curtain behind the garden when curious looky-loos took to peering through the salad greens right into her living room.
Buoyed by her success - and $27k in donations - she started the WindowFarms.org web site and community forum to help spread the word of her new indoor farming method. In just a year, the site currently has more than 7,000 worldwide members - and to give you an idea of its recent and very rapid growth, a recent (as in 3 days ago) NPR article cited member stats at just 4,000.
Members have grown everything from lettuces to strawberries, peppers, and cherry tomatoes - though Riley says that root vegetables aren't a good match for the soil-less system. But you won't "carrot" all when you're munching on a home-grown salad in the comfort of your own apartment.
If you're not ready for full-on Window Farming just yet, try these other easy small-space ideas for growing your own veggies.