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Grow Station - The Beginning

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Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  cautery on 2/27/2011, 10:26 pm

Finally got a "functional" grow station setup... Still a lot to do, and I'm waiting for my commercial weight 1020 trays, but it's starting to take shape. Here are a few images...

Making room in our garage is no small feat...



Empty space, but I don't like bending over if I don't have too...



Now, let's move that shelf down... a real pain...



"Plenty" of space... Now, let's add the Mylar Reflectors...



Here are the tools I used to hang the Mylar: Mylar duct tape, stick pins, and several NEW razor blades.... they dull quickly.



Curtains are hung! Now we need light!



I cut down a couple of 1/4" x 1/4" x 36" steel rods to act as anchor points.



Here are the hooks and chain I chose... I crimped one end around the bar just enough to keep it from lifting off, but still allowing free movement.



Here is a shot of the light at full elevation... I can adjust the light side to side by sliding the rods, fore and aft by sliding the hooks along the rod, and height of course by varying the length of the chain.



I really dig this light.... It's made by HydroFarm and is 4 feet long, and takes 6 each T5 bulbs. It comes standard with 6500K T5 High Output bulbs. I have a Titan Apollo 7 timer/controller to run it.



Setup for testing... with HydroFarm seedling mat with controller. The light is OFF.



The lights are ON... It was so bright that the little point-n-shoot camera I was using couldn't handle it... Looks like the room is dark.... It's not... there's a good 250 Watts of additional fluorescent light coming from two ceiling fixtures...



As soon as I have some spare change, I will add another light w/ controller, heat mat(s) with controller(s), and get the power distribution/control stuff mounted and wiring hidden. But, I can start seeds as soon as the trays come in... Smile

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  camprn on 2/27/2011, 10:41 pm

Wow, lots of work but it looks really nice. :!: How are you going to raise and lower the lights? Is there a length of chain hiding?

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  cautery on 2/27/2011, 10:47 pm

@camprn wrote:Wow, lots of work but it looks really nice. :!: How are you going to raise and lower the lights? Is there a length of chain hiding?

Yep.... All the extra chain is on top of the fixture.... I can lower it all the way down to kiss a 1020 tray top.

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  ashort on 2/27/2011, 10:54 pm

Nice, although the local po-po might get curious about what you are growning there....

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 8:28 am

LOL.... I doubt it... But if they do, they are welcome to try and convince a judge to give them a warrant to come see my tomatoes et al. starts... Laughing

Nah... we have several Sheriff's deputies living within 2 block of us... It'll be OK...

@ashort wrote:Nice, although the local po-po might get curious about what you are growning there....

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/28/2011, 8:44 am

Beautiful! I am simply impressed with getting the garage organized. I have shelves like that.... wait, I mean my husband has shelves like that (He gives me everything I ask for EXCEPT for his garage). The really kewl thing is it looks like hope grows in that space.....and mary jane. How is it that illegal farmers are able to do this (indoor gardening) so well? Certainly we must under estimate them.

Debs....who put her back out filling the water dish for the dogs....your clean garage makes me feel uber weak!

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 9:12 am

LOL!!! You're funny... Smile

Well, we live in a pretty small house, and only have a one-car garage... (DREAM 234: to build a 2-story garage/shop/office out back and turn attached garage into a sally-port access to the back yard.) ...so I have to manage space pretty efficiently. Should have seen it when I met my wife 5 years ago! Wink

Indoor gardening - Not really all that tough I don't think... If you pay attention to detail and/or have a serious profit potential... the "growers" have both typically.

I believe that my current Oregon-based supplier probably is the supplier of choice for many of the growers out that way...

Just to make it perfectly clear to anyone reading this... I ONLY grow legal crops! Wink

@Lavender Debs wrote:Beautiful! I am simply impressed with getting the garage organized. I have shelves like that.... wait, I mean my husband has shelves like that (He gives me everything I ask for EXCEPT for his garage). The really kewl thing is it looks like hope grows in that space.....and mary jane. How is it that illegal farmers are able to do this (indoor gardening) so well? Certainly we must under estimate them.

Debs....who put her back out filling the water dish for the dogs....your clean garage makes me feel uber weak!

cautery

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  Megan on 2/28/2011, 5:31 pm

SWEET set-up... I likey! Smile

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  middlemamma on 2/28/2011, 5:33 pm

Where would one find Mylar and Mylar duct tape? Id that something the big box stores would carry?

Jen

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Where to get Grow Station stuff!!!

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 8:08 pm

Hey Jen...

The Mylar duct tape was purchased locally... I believe I got it at Home Depot. When I bought it, I was actually looking for aluminum duct tape, but couldn't find it... Now, I don't think I'd use anything else for ducts OR Mylar curtains. Smile

The Mylar film... I picked this up at the supplier that I used for my light, et al... I suspect you can get it any number of places... especially hydroponics guys et al... but specifically, I got it at:

Horticulture Source

They seem to have the overall best prices on just about everything I needed... and their selection seemed to be second-to-none... And, I don't have a local supplier... (Typically, I buy local if at all possible.... unless it's just crazy expensive.)

Specifically, I bought a 50' roll x 54" wide x 1 mil thick and I have plenty left over for my next couple of shelves. If I was doing it again, I MIGHT consider using the thicker 2 mil product for $6.00 more as it should be a bit easier to handle AND harder to wrinkle/crease.

Hope this helps!

PS: To anyone who goes there to shop, please tell them that Clay Autery sent you! Smile

@middlemamma wrote:Where would one find Mylar and Mylar duct tape? Id that something the big box stores would carry?

Jen

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  NHGardener on 2/28/2011, 8:25 pm

Have you ever thought about an outdoor greenhouse? Just wondered if it's as doable as an indoor space.

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Outdoor Greenhouse?

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 8:43 pm

I'm absolutely planning an outdoor "greenhouse". Just to clarify... The 8' long x 2' wide shelf I am setting up in my garage is simply to use "for now" to do seed starts, etc. when it is too cold or too hot or when I don't have free squares to sow. It's to extend the growing season and to leverage space/time during the main season.

At some point, I plan to put together some type of outdoor structure so that I can grow crops year round... at a minimum, I want to be able to supply our own requirements year-round, but I am also considering the possibility of a small commercial venture to supplement income and/or replace income (if/when necessary). Needless to say, that will require a fairly sizable capital outlay that I am not prepared to make at the moment.... I have other things ahead of it on "the list"...

1) Deep Water Well (spudding Friday)
2) 1.5 year supply of food stores for 5 on the shelf
3) Grid-tied, battery-backed, generator supplemented solar electric system capable of supplying 100% of household year-round energy use.
4) Geo-thermal heating/cooling system capable of supplying both the main house and providing a base temp for the outdoor growing facility.
5) Roof-mounted solar water pre-heater designed to reduce the demand on the on-demand gas fired water heating system currently installed.
... and a "few" others.

Basically, I need to get the utility capabilities established first... Smile

Sorry... I know that is more than you wanted/needed.... but that's my plan.

@NHGardener wrote:Have you ever thought about an outdoor greenhouse? Just wondered if it's as doable as an indoor space.

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  NHGardener on 2/28/2011, 8:54 pm

WOW! You think big. A solar generated power system capable of providing year round electrical needs? Is that doable?

I assume to do the geothermal you have to live in a spot where geothermal is available.

And year round growing? Wow. That would be really neat.

I'm tired just thinking about all that. I'm still planning how to build my first 4x4 boxes.

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  cautery on 2/28/2011, 10:06 pm

Absolutely! It is not only doable, the design is already done. The system is actually designed to provide 100% of needs and a margin and storage capacity to provide 5 days supply with zero sun without having to turn the generator on to top the batteries.

Geothermal is definitely available here... It's actually "available" almost everywhere... (Don't confuse geothermal heating/cooling with geothermal power generation.)

Year round is not as hard here as it could be... It'd be easier down south, but it's doable here... The economics work a lot better when you can keep the base temp well above freezing and don't have to spend a bunch of money on supplemental heating...

I NEVER have enough time... Wink

@NHGardener wrote:WOW! You think big. A solar generated power system capable of providing year round electrical needs? Is that doable?

I assume to do the geothermal you have to live in a spot where geothermal is available.

And year round growing? Wow. That would be really neat.

I'm tired just thinking about all that. I'm still planning how to build my first 4x4 boxes.

cautery

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  NHGardener on 2/28/2011, 10:26 pm

I have a feeling there are a LOT of people who would be interested in the types of systems/planning you're implementing. Great job, and I hope the word spreads.

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  madnicmom on 3/1/2011, 10:12 am

I would LOVE to get solar panels on my house also but it too is a nice upfront investment that I don't have at the moment. Best of Luck with your "list"

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  cautery on 3/1/2011, 10:18 am

Heh, heh... yep, a "proper" solar system is a big investment, but remember, you can currently get a 50% tax credit on the ENTIRE installed cost (no limit) via the Fed... And the credit can carry forward for 5 or 7 years (not sure which).

My List... Thanks... It's always longer than I have time/funds to complete, but that's why you set priorities...

Water, Food, electricity, etc, etc... Wink

@madnicmom wrote:I would LOVE to get solar panels on my house also but it too is a nice upfront investment that I don't have at the moment. Best of Luck with your "list"

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  NHGardener on 3/1/2011, 10:59 am

50% credit is federal, no state involved? I wonder if the states have their own rebates on top of that.

I hope to hear updates on how your system works, photos included. Really interesting stuff, but way off the beaten path for a lot of us.

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  madnicmom on 3/1/2011, 11:20 am

google property tax abatement in your state. the City of Cincinnati has one ( of coarse I don't live in Cincy Grrr!!) , it's like getting a low interest loan for 5 yrs and the payments are added to your property tax.

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  NHGardener on 3/1/2011, 1:58 pm

madnicmom, I think I remember reading where those loans that get tacked onto your property tax get real interesting when the property sells or is foreclosed on. affraid

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  madnicmom on 3/1/2011, 4:42 pm

oh, I'm sure it would get interesting and the rate of foreclosures . wow! is all I can say.

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  middlemamma on 3/2/2011, 12:40 am

Cautery...thank you for answering my Mylar question.

I have a little 40 dollar 4 shelf greenhouse (Walmart type) that I have by a window in my kitchen. I was asking hubby about the Mylar and he says...I have a couple of the Mylar blankets in the first aid kit, they are like 99 cents in the camping section at Wal-mart.

So tonight I took the plastic off the little greenhouse and lined it with Mylar blankets and then put the plastic back! WOW....bright light batman!

Thanks for sharing, we would have never thought of this...I would have had the aluminum foil out LOL!

Maybe I will invest in the thicker stuff when my father in law is done building my LED panels. Very Happy

Jen

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/2/2011, 4:06 am

Jen, your husband is a wonder. I would never have thought of those (really inexpensive) emergency blankets. What a great idea!

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  NHGardener on 3/2/2011, 7:01 am

Middlemamma, I never even knew Walmart sold the indoor greenhouse things. I'll have to look on their website. That sounds like a great idea.

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

Post  cautery on 3/2/2011, 8:11 am

Yep, Mylar emergency blankets work great... same stuff really. Good idea for a small space... I bought the roll because it was cheaper per square foot and easier to use/store...

The Mylar/bubble/Mylar insulation works great, too. I plan to use it under the heat mats once I finish switching over to the metal shelf panels to help hold the heat in.

If your garage/grow area isn't climate controlled, you could also use the mylar/bubble stuff in lieu of the film to add a little more heat retention.

I plan to add a front curtain to my shelf so that there are reflectors on all 4 sides... Plus, I think making it fully "enclosed" will allow me to control humidity and temp more easily (maintain consistency).

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Re: Grow Station - The Beginning

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