If you want to grow your own herbs/microgreens but do not have a windowsill, then this might be the solution for you. In this tutorial, I will show you how I built a mini greenhouse that can be connected to a window with just some suction cups, a box of Ferrero Rocher and a 3D printer.
As part of the "Klus-je-kas" competition of the Phablab in Delft, I've developed the concept further into what it is today.
Step 1: Collect the Tools
Once you have found a 3D printer to print the window brace the rest of the tools should be really easy to collect.
For this greenhouse, you will need:
- An empty box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates
- Suction cups
- Cottonwool (or another soil of your choice)
The tools you will need are:
- A 3D printer
- Tweezers to clean up the support
- A drill with 5 mm (or larger) drill bits
Step 2: 3D Print the Window Brace
Using the program Rhinoceros I have made several iterations but I ended up with this design. It is quite an easy print. It doesn't need a brim but it does need support everywhere turned on. I've printed it on an Ultimaker 2 but you can use any printer you would like. I printed it in PLA but it can also be printed in other materials.
Step 3: Prepare the Container
Use the shallow part of the container for planting and the high part as the cover. Drill holes in the top to create a air circulation and prevent the insides from fogging up. It helps to place a piece of scrap wood under it to prevent the container from cracking. After drilling the holes it is important to clean the container to prevent mold and create a healthy growing environment.
Step 4: Sew the Seeds
Place the cottonwool in the shallow part of the container and drench it in tap water. Once you have wetted all the cotton wool you can add some more cottonwool if you think that is necessary. Just remember that more cottonwool means more water and a heavier greenhouse. In this case, I have sewn watercress since it grows very quickly and it is tasty on your baked omelet.
Step 5: Hang, Wait and Profit
When picking a place to hang the mini greenhouse keep the following things in mind:
- Make sure the place is not too cold
- Make sure the place is well lit
- Make sure that the window doesn't open
Wet the two suction cups and move them around on the window until the brace hangs level. Once you are sure the suction cups will hold enough weight place the container with the seeds.
After a week your watercress is grown enough for you to taste, eat and garnish with.
Step 6: Extra Modifications
I wanted to grow different seeds so I created these seedling starters. I bought the steelwoolplugs at IKEA (Vaxxer) and you can get the cocoplugs in a lot of gardening- or DIY stores. I use the steelwoolplugs for growing individual herbs and transfer them into my hydroponic set-up once they are big enough. I use the cocoplugs for growing flower mixes. The deep part of the Ferrero Rocher needs to contain quite some water to dunk the plugs. I used a hot wire cutter to make them a bit more shallow to make the set-up lighter.
I also redid the design in Fusion 360. That way I was able to make it parametric. The model has three variables:
By changing these variables the model will change to accommodate different containers like strawberry containers, donut cases, and soda bottles. If you have any other ideas for great transparent containers, please let me know!