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Indoor SFG?

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Indoor SFG?

Post  jseyfert3 on 3/25/2015, 1:05 pm

Has anyone ever done an indoor SFG? I'm curious. At one point I was planning to do an indoor hydroponic garden. It hasn't got around to happening, due to time and the initial expense. But now that I know about SFG, I'm wondering if it'd be easy to do a box indoors, year round (while, I mean in the winter months when you can't use the free sunlight outside). I figure Mel's Mix is easier than water, air pumps, checking nutrient levels and pH, etc. Also you use Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium Vapor lights, and a 600 W light (approximately 20,000 lumens Shocked) is good for about a 4'4' to 7'x7' area, so a 4'x4' SFG would be the perfect size for a single 600 W light!

It'd be around $200-$250 for the light and venting so you can vent that hot air from the light outside in the summer and not add to your AC load (or overheat your plants), or indoors in winter to cut on your heating load. Then you'd just have to build a box and buy the peat moss and vermiculite, so maybe $300-$350 to get going, and $12-$25 a month in electricity during the months you "run" the indoor garden (depending on lighting times and electricity costs in your area).

Now you have fresh veggies year round, even in cold climates!

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Re: Indoor SFG?

Post  yolos on 3/25/2015, 2:02 pm

How do you propose to catch the runoff from watering.  You could use those thingies they put under showers, but I bet that would raise the price considerably.

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Re: Indoor SFG?

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/25/2015, 3:01 pm

I've used a window box along with individual pots & clampacks to grow cold crops for the past 2 yrs in winter all filled with MM.  They live in my dining room box bay window. I've battled aphids, gnats and fruit flies while growing indoors.  And I usually give up the fight around January or so.  Altho this year I still have some turnip greens growing isolated in another room.  They got aphids but I need to plant them out for seed harvesting this year.  I had to isolate them as I've started cold crop seeds in the window for outside SFG planting once weather warms a bit.

I brought in and grew a fruited and flowering Roma tomato plant 2 yrs ago and gave away fresh picked toms for Christmas.  But my set up wasn't warm or light enough to produce new fruits with any speed, as the flowers were taking forever to bloom, so it wasn't worth it later on.

You can check out Ray Browns VooDoo garden on YouTube.  He has a room that he grows all kinds of things in year round.  It's not SFG but he has lots of good ideas that maybe you could use for you indoor SFG.

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Re: Indoor SFG?

Post  boffer on 3/25/2015, 7:59 pm

I've grown a couple tomato plants, an exotic pepper, beets, and a tumeric plant, all  in MM in planters.  They were grown in a 3x7 closet with ventilation and reflective wall covering, using either a 600w MH or HPS bulb.  My harvests weren't worthwhile.  

At 14-16 hours per day, my power cost was $30-35 month.

Now, I only grow fast growing lettuce and chard under lights during winter.  I can get harvestable lettuce in 30 days, under cheap florescent lights.  Fresh is best, but I'm getting pretty good at putting up enough food during harvest times to get me through the winter.

If I were to try fruiting or root-type veggies indoors again, I would start them in pots outdoors in late summer so that they would be nearing maturity at my first frost date, and then I would move them indoors under lights to finish them over winter.

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Re: Indoor SFG?

Post  sfg4uKim on 3/25/2015, 9:41 pm

I wonder if something like this would work for you in this situation?

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Re: Indoor SFG?

Post  sanderson on 3/26/2015, 2:18 am

California has high electricity costs. Our bill was over $500 in the summer so we got Solar panels. Add anything stronger than fluorescent shop lights, like I use for Feb seedlings,well, I might as well shop at Whole Foods for my produce! Very Happy

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Re: Indoor SFG?

Post  jseyfert3 on 3/26/2015, 12:34 pm

@yolos wrote:How do you propose to catch the runoff from watering.  You could use those thingies they put under showers, but I bet that would raise the price considerably.
Cheap gutters, perhaps, at $3-$4 per 10 foot section, so you'd need around $16 worth of gutter or so. Or maybe a tarp carefully hung under the box.

@sanderson wrote:California has high electricity costs. Our bill was over $500 in the summer so we got Solar panels. Add anything stronger than fluorescent shop lights, like I use for Feb seedlings,well, I might as well shop at Whole Foods for my produce!
My last bill my delivery and supply costs totaled 7.3 cents per kWh. This does not include taxes (about 1 cent per kWh). So Around 8.3 cents per kWh, not including fixed monthly customer charges that do not vary based on usage amounts.

So for a 600 W light would use 0.6 kWh per hour, so for a month at 14 hours a day it would cost: 0.6*14*30*.083 = $20.92/month additional cost on top of regular usage.

$500...that's crazy! Shocked

@boffer wrote:I've grown a couple tomato plants, an exotic pepper, beets, and a tumeric plant, all  in MM in planters.  They were grown in a 3x7 closet with ventilation and reflective wall covering, using either a 600w MH or HPS bulb.  My harvests weren't worthwhile.  

At 14-16 hours per day, my power cost was $30-35 month.

Now, I only grow fast growing lettuce and chard under lights during winter.  I can get harvestable lettuce in 30 days, under cheap florescent lights.  Fresh is best, but I'm getting pretty good at putting up enough food during harvest times to get me through the winter.

If I were to try fruiting or root-type veggies indoors again, I would start them in pots outdoors in late summer so that they would be nearing maturity at my first frost date, and then I would move them indoors under lights to finish them over winter.
Hmm, I wonder why. Thanks for the info, interesting to compare to to results I've researched with hydroponic growth. Apparently with hydroponic tomatoes and other stuff the results are really good. Good to the extent that they grow faster than they would in an outdoor garden. Then again ideal hydroponics has unlimited water to the plants with no root rot and extremely readily available nutrients (tweaked to the plants being grown). So that may make up for the pitfalls of being grown indoors.

So maybe I'll have to stick with hydroponics for an indoor winter garden, or move mostly mature plants inside when the first frost hits like you suggest, which is a pretty good idea.

Just curious, fresh tomatoes in the middle of February would be awesome. Year round salad greens under cheap lights sound good too, and definitely easier to do.

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Re: Indoor SFG?

Post  sanderson on 3/26/2015, 1:48 pm

@jseyfert3 wrote:
@sanderson wrote:California has high electricity costs. Our bill was over $500 in the summer so we got Solar panels. Add anything stronger than fluorescent shop lights, like I use for Feb seedlings,well, I might as well shop at Whole Foods for my produce!
My last bill my delivery and supply costs totaled 7.3 cents per kWh. This does not include taxes (about 1 cent per kWh). So Around 8.3 cents per kWh, not including fixed monthly customer charges that do not vary based on usage amounts.

So for a 600 W light would use 0.6 kWh per hour, so for a month at 14 hours a day it would cost: 0.6*14*30*.083 = $20.92/month additional cost on top of regular usage.

$500...that's crazy! Shocked

Our Current Gov, Jerry Brown, was a previous Gov in 1975-83.  Back then, in order to prevent blackouts, he purchased very expensive electricity from out of State (BPU).  We also have a subsidized low/no income program where occupants pay like $50-$150 max per month.  So, our monthly bill also pays for their usage.  So, Welcome to the golden State. cyclops

DH and I pay $220 a month for solar and nearly break even with the electricity utility. So, glad we went solar. Can't tolerate the summer heat at all.

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Re: Indoor SFG?

Post  plantoid on 3/27/2015, 8:40 pm

You might regret using MM for an indoor bed or pot for the compost in it attracts all manner of pesky small flies & creepies that procreate or lay eggs in it . 

 It was only after a bit of deduction that I realised I was getting eaten alive each night  by the bugs coming out of the indoor plant pots filled with MM . To confirm it I used two new sticky fly catching papers  hung in the bed room each night for a week , took the plants out and repeated the exercise and had hardly anything on the new papers .

 We now only use vermiculite and peat in the indoor pots and only feed then with a chemical liquid feed for indoor plants .

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