New “Table Farm” uses window box liners instead of rain gutters so we don’t call it a “Gutter Garden” anymore. The window box liners add extra wind protection for rooftop installations. The extra wind protection also enhances performance in sub-freezing weather. Because the window boxes are shorter than rain gutters, only 3 feet long instead of 5 feet long, they are easier to maintain.
How it Works
A small pond pump circulates a shallow stream of water through a network of window box liners on a table in my back yard. A five gallon bucket serves as a water reservoir. The pump sits in the bottom of the bucket along with a deicer. Water is pumped from the bucket through a connected series of window box liners and back into the bucket. A frame over the top of the window box liners supports a row cover to create a protected space when needed. When the temperature in the protected space dips to 35 degrees F the deicer is turned on. The protected space is then kept evenly heated by the slightly heated water.
The key component that makes all this work is a standard 4″ nursery pot with a simple modification. Nylon standoffs, available at most hardware stores, are attached to the bottom of the pot as feet. These feet are there to hold the pot above a water source. The pot contains nutrient rich organic soil and a cotton wick. The wick is used to draw water from below into the soil.
During summer months the moving water prevents mosquitoes from breeding. During winter months the water heats the air space around the plants and the feet on the pot transfer warmth from the water to the root zone.