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Indoor Gardening

Posted by Sarkastic none (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 26, 11 at 21:58

Hello all,

I am new to this forum for posting. I have been reading lots of very good posts on various subjects all related to growing a garden indoors with Hydroponics. I found a few people that are like me and want to use the space that I have in the basement and attempt to provide all the vegetables that I care to eat in a week for myself. There are a lot of questions that I have never found a good answer for and I am there fore discovering those answers for myself as I grow the plants.
My set up so far includes a flood and drain container (24'x 16'x 7') using a bell siphon that runs continuously, 5 gallon buckets with air stones, 10 gallon tote with two plants using the air line to push water to the top of the plants (adding a second line with an air stone soon). I also have plans to build a vertical 'tree' to grow leafy greens that will conserve room. Currently I am using a T5 4' 8 bulb light but my plans at this time are to grow vertically around a central 600w MH HID light. I figure I can get 15 to 20 plant sites around a single bulb and not use a reflector. One tall vine plant (tomato, cucumber or bean) or one vertical 'tree' with 10 leafy plants is what I am considering a plant site. I think growing the pants around the light in this manner will provide more light to more areas of the plant when you look at a tomato vine from the side.
As for the vegetable that I am and will be growing? All must be Heirloom varieties. I will be saving seeds and taking cuttings. Plants that are continuous will be allowed to just continue on indefinitely, Tomatoes can be trained to a single vine and wrapped around a string then lowered as needed. I am sure other vine type plants are the same. Most plants can be propagated from a cutting to get a huge jump start over growing from seed. Many plants will just have to be staggered to proved as continuous a crop as possible. Lettuce and similar plants can be slowly harvested fresh over a long period of time by only taking what is needed for that meal then allowing a day or so for the plant to catch up before harvesting a few more of the outer leaves. Root crops are still being thought out. I can't figure potato's into my 'tree' idea so some things will just have to take up more square feet of floor space with an over head light. I will just have to build some shelves and get more lights. The LED lights will work out better with the shelves anyway. I read an article once about a 10 floor building in Japan that put out 7000 head of lettuce a day using LED lights and that was many years ago and what got me started with Hydroponics in the first place.
Sorry if this is too long or rambles. I try to keep my thoughts going in one direction but I don't always stay on track. Since this is my first post here I have not figured out how to add pictures or embedded text links so you might have to copy and past the link to my blog site to see pictures of how I have my basement set up. I am still trying to figure out how to make the website look right along with how to pay for it.
Thanks for reading, I'm sure I will be here for a while now that I made my first post.
Brad
www.gardenfreshindoors.com
Can't wait to show off my vertical ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: gardenfreshindoors.com


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Indoor Gardening

Sounds ambitious! But a couple of thoughts:

LEDs are quite ready for Prime Time - yet. They are getting better but the initial cost for a decent one (not those 14 watt, 225-bulb panels) is so exorbitant. Shop lights, or an array of 6000K CFL bulbs will not consume much more electricity and are a lot cheaper.

I would use reflectors for everything, or at line the walls with Mylar or paint them white. For the HID, you definitely want an overhead reflector.

IMO, root veggies such as potatoes, just like corn, do not yield enough produce for the space they take up, unless you have unlimited room. And unlike tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, eggplant, etc., you get one harvest.

Any particular reason for only growing heirlooms? There are several varieties of tomatoes that are ideal for indoor growing. I can understand if you want to save seeds, but if you plan on cuttings, seed saving would not be a concern.

(24'x 16'x 7')

I take it you mean inches and not feet?!

Good luck,

Mike


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RE: Indoor Gardening

Remember to consider cost to grow vs cost to buy them. compare prices to both the box stores as well as specialty grocers. I can't grow yukon gold for $4 and get a 5lb yield, thus I won't grow them and at the box store they taste fine for my pallet. Now toms are another thing altogether.
If you're going to grow without a reflector, make sure to buy a bulb that can be placed vertically. And also be very careful with regards to looking at the light. They'll pretty much be at eye level and can really burn up the retina.
And finally, regarding lettuces and continually picking; be sure to look into the variety and find what works. I was going to do that but after a month or two, the leaves started having a bitter flavor.Later, in some thread here, it was suggested that happens to lettuce with age. I was growing grand rapids.


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RE: Indoor Gardening

LED's have been used for quite some time now and work very well IF they are used in a complimentary manner. Packing 1000 lights together as close as possible and then hanging that light above a plant is not as useful as spreading that 1000 lights out over broader area at a much closer distance. See linked news article here.
I find the cost of food purchased also has the hidden cost of what was done to that food by the producer in order to get it to me. Potato's can be purchased rather inexpensively but are doused with chemicals that I would rather get away from at any cost. Unlike an outdoor garden that requires preserving to extend your food supply into the winter I can grow a much smaller amount continuously with out the need to preserve as much food for as long.
Light placement has been my latest concern. Placing a light above a horizontal growing surface is an inefficient use of space. I can see 20 head of lettuce being grown vertically in less square footage as 4 head grown horizontally. When planing how to use the space in my basement this becomes very important. The Use of artificial lighting as efficiently as possible is also a major concern. Providing light to as many plants as possible per light is an absolute requirement. Hydroponics has proven to be extremely flexible for plant placement. I am still working on making my vertical growing stands for leafy vegetables and the vine plants are not yet tall enough to give visuals for what I am wanting the garden to look like but I am excited for the opportunity to share my ideas with like minded people.
Thanks for the responses so far
Brad


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