Window Sill Garden

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Window Sill Garden

Postby EliasW » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:56 pm

Hi All,
I'm a first year Industrial Design student studying at RMIT in Melbourne and as part of a project with a group of people, we are undertaking the issues of gardening in small spaces with the use of window sill gardens.

So far we have based our window sill gardens upon using only recycled materials that can be found around the home such as offcuts from salads (ends of spring onions, tomato seeds etc) Also the soil that we are thinking about using is a combination of coffee grinds and dirt.

We would like to know how to approach this project and as its been done before, would anyone be interested? What needs to be improved from the ordinary window sill design. If you would like a window sill garden, what are some of the things that you would like from it? easy maintenance? to be aesthetically pleasing? and so on. Please share your thoughts and ideas.

We have a rough idea of what we want to achieve but we would also love to have some feedback upon the idea and what can improve from the ordinary window sill garden.

Thank You for Reading
Elias
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Re: Window Sill Garden

Postby karyn » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:22 pm

To me, window sill gardens would have to be either useful, or beautiful, or both. Herbs, flowers, edible things. Upside down tomatoes grown above the window, strawberries, native groundcovers planted to hang down over the window like a natural curtain. That sort of thing. Dirt and coffee grounds? Not sure. Potting mix and regular applications of fertiliser would probably be better.
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Re: Window Sill Garden

Postby Pam » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:05 am

Interesting project Elias. There are mixed reports regarding the success or otherwise of using coffee grounds as a growing medium. Everything else aside, you're going to be dealing with elemental and mineral deficiencies. If you were to use compost in its place, you would still be meeting the conditions of your brief ..... ie a recycled product.
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Re: Window Sill Garden

Postby EliasW » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:50 am

Thank you for your comments.

Karyn i found it interesting when you talked about using native groundcovers to almost act as a natural curtain. This can give a window sill garden a slight modular aspect and i will most definitely try to take this idea further.

Hmm yes the coffee grinds and dirt combination is questionable, maybe there could be a combination of dirt, compost and coffee grinds? I shall take this into consideration and maybe just use compost instead.
Just curious also if any of you have actually used coffee grinds in your gardens and plants?

In regards to a window sill garden to be either useful, beautiful or both we are trying to focus on both but we have also tried to give some form of further meaning or purpose behind the project to help motivate people as well. While aiming to tackle the issue of gardening in small spaces we also aimed to try and have an impact upon reducing the amount of fresh produce waste. We were particularly driven by the amount of edible food that is being wasted on a daily basis by large supermarkets which is a result of consumer demand.
So if we shift individuals away from being so dependent on supermarkets and growing their own fresh produce their are multiple sustainable and environmental benefits involved. Just a little bit of background information.

Attached are a few images of some preliminary work to help us get up and running. Also an image which shows just a small part of the fresh produce that gets thrown out at the supermarket due to maybe a slight blemish, discolour etc

Elias

DSC_0767.JPG
DSC_0771.JPG
DSC_0821.JPG
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Re: Window Sill Garden

Postby Pam » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:02 am

We were particularly driven by the amount of edible food that is being wasted on a daily basis by large supermarkets which is a result of consumer demand.


I can't let this one past - THIS is an absolute load of dribble, fed to us by the big supermarkets. The reason there is waste is because they are greedy, and because they are bullies. During the course of his work, hubby met a tomato farmer whose crop had been contracted by woolies. At harvest time his tomatoes were 1cm too small, so they refused to take them, claiming that people would not buy them. Because of his contract, he was also unable to sell them elsewhere. Now THAT is waste.

If they charge an exhorbitant price for apples (when the grower received a miniscule amount,) and the apples do not sell at that price, so are stored for an extended period, still do not sell at the high price and are eventually discarded, who is to blame there, the consumer or the retailer?

The big supermarkets here regularly sell produce at 3 to 4 times the price of a small fruit and veg shop here in town, who I guess survives in spite of them because their retail business is just supplementary to their wholesale business.
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Re: Window Sill Garden

Postby Pam » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:29 am

I find your project quite interesting Elias, and would like to see more of it as it develops. A big thing you going to need to consider in your window sill set ups is drainage - without it your plants will fail to thrive, and will eventually die. I won't go into huge detail here because there's plenty of info easily available. If a self contained unit is your eventual aim, you also need to consider what will happen with the water that does run through to the bottom, and how it will be dispersed - obviously it can't just sit there, and will cause damage if it overflows.

An observation I have made of people's window sill herb gardens that I've seen is that they tend to lack sufficient air flow and sometimes light, so tend to struggle healthwise and get leggy rather rapidly, so these are two issues that you may like to consider in your design process.

We use our coffee grounds in the garden, but really only as a mulch. I'd happily use much more than what we produce if I had access to it. Something I have found is that when stored for much more than a couple of days they tend to start going mouldy, which I think is likely to be a bit of an issue for you if using it as a large proportion of a potting medium which is to be kept moist, depending on your climate.
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Window Sill Garden

Postby Getafix » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:25 pm

Hi Elias,
I use coffee grounds a lot in my garden, but only ever as input into my compost pile, or occasionally as a slug deterrent. Certainly worth a try as a component of a potting mix, but only as a minor ingredient. I certainly agree with Pam about them going mouldy, but if it was a small amount and well mixed in, I don't think it would be a major problem. I actually get some from a local cafe as well, so its worth asking around.
Check my garden out on MyFolia:

http://myfolia.com/gardener/Getafix
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