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SFG in the basement

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SFG in the basement

Post  stripesmom on 6/3/2011, 6:05 pm

I'm sure this has been discussed before. I tried looking it up and didn't get very far. I was thinking of starting at least one TT 4x4 box in the basement for lettuce/spinach/radishes and such for the summer. I already have grow lights from long ago. It never gets above 70 degrees down there and it's humid all the time. It's not a place people want to be, but plants might find it inviting. Just wondered if anyone else does this, have any pointers, think it's not worth doing, whatever. Thanks!
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  boffer on 6/3/2011, 6:25 pm

Just for grins, I did a little experiment last summer. I planted two identical boxes. One box got 8 hours of sun per day; the other box lived in the shade all the time. I planted salad veggies similar to yours, plus beets, carrots, and pak choi.

I'm being generous when I say that the shade box production was about 25% of the sun box. I ate the pak choi and small spinach; all the rest I tore out after 5 months to use the box for fall planting.

So, I think lighting will be an issue for you. Obviously, people grow plants indoors under lights all the time, both legal and illegal. But it's going to take some experimenting and work to figure out how to use your lights to keep the plants happy and thriving.
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  stripesmom on 6/3/2011, 10:50 pm

Thanks Boffer. In the past, I tried growing seeds for the garden in the basement using these lights. I found that the closer they were to the light, the better they grew. Then when I took the light up, they didn't grow very well. They just got straggly and long. I think, it's more a matter of light, warmth and luck. Since lettuce, spinach and the rest are not going to grow outside for a few months, think I'll experiment in the basement. I was going to try to do that this winter anyway, so now is as good as any time.
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/4/2011, 12:36 am

boffer wrote:Obviously, people grow plants indoors under lights all the time, both legal and illegal.

I'd better hide those babies quick. Boffer's on to me. ...but, they grow so well in MM. Shocked
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  Glendale-gardener on 6/4/2011, 1:23 am

If you have any hydroponic stores in your area, check them out. They know ALL about growing indoors! Seriously though, we have a bunch near me and I went in a Worms Way last week to get worm castings and ended up chatting up the girl there about the system and she was telling me that certain things do really really well indoors, like lettuces and spinach, and herbs. And they only require the less expenisve fluorescent grow bulbs. They had a lot of veggies growing in the store. They had fluorescents with teh lettuces etc... and a big grow light over a eggplant and a bunch of other stuff. Technically, hydroponics is just a way of watering so you could take their advice and still use you MM. That is what I plan to do. I'm doing the same experiment as you. As soon as the last of my lettuces bolt, I'm starting my indoor experiment so that I'll be able to grow in the winter.

Personal experience- the big chain stores(like Worms Way) will actually know quite a bit about vegetable gardening and it's needs- the smaller stores(we have one called Dayton Hydroponics near me) will know their equipment and are still worth a visit but will not know about "veggie" gardening in my experience
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  westie42 on 6/4/2011, 1:46 am

Nice idea and I have thought about growing salads and micro greens in the winter that way. There is quite a bit on youtube about it including hydroponics to idealize the growing environment. Eventually you will end up looking at cannibis sites there are many of them out there. They have taken plant pathology and technology way beyond what we can find in edible vegetable growing. Well i do recall hearing of pot luck dinners where it was in everything from spaghetti to brownies. Anyhow places like www.weedfarmer.com and many more have charts galore on light technology by product line, seed selection and the whole gamut of proper growing technology. Help with that stuff is endless, high tech and extensive. Obviously their crop harvest sells for far more than my vegetables would. Not encouraging the dark side of that but they can sure open your eyes on high tech cannibis gardening far beyond what any farmer or gardener could hope to find.

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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  Barkie on 6/4/2011, 6:52 am

westie42 wrote:Nice idea and I have thought about growing salads and micro greens in the winter that way. There is quite a bit on youtube about it including hydroponics to idealize the growing environment. Eventually you will end up looking at cannibis sites there are many of them out there. They have taken plant pathology and technology way beyond what we can find in edible vegetable growing. Well i do recall hearing of pot luck dinners where it was in everything from spaghetti to brownies. Anyhow places like www.weedfarmer.com and many more have charts galore on light technology by product line, seed selection and the whole gamut of proper growing technology. Help with that stuff is endless, high tech and extensive. Obviously their crop harvest sells for far more than my vegetables would. Not encouraging the dark side of that but they can sure open your eyes on high tech cannibis gardening far beyond what any farmer or gardener could hope to find.

I could hardly avoid such sites and I was impressed, no to mention surprised, by how much technical detail pot growers get into.

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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  stripesmom on 6/4/2011, 9:03 am

Gosh, thanks everybody for your replies and not thinking I'm a crazy old woman, lol. I don't have the high tech grow lights, just the florescent ones from Walmart. I have around 5 of them, so figured I could put them on chains, attached to the basement ceiling and then lower/raise as needed.

We don't have any thing here that would even be close to a hydroponic store. But, I have watched some of the video's on youtube and have gotten some ideas. I was wanting to try the mm first. Lettuce can get pricy here in the winter, especially the late winter. In Feb. it was selling for $2 a bag (the cut and washed kind) on sale. Summer it's not as expensive, but if I can get some thing from a seed and a few watts of power, then I'd be all for that. We do have great souther exposure, but it just gets to hot for the shades to be open in the day time.

Thanks Westie for the link. I will have to check it out. I live in SE Iowa hi over there!
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  westie42 on 6/4/2011, 10:55 am

Danke Schoen Stripesmom. All I have for lights is what you and most of us have Wal Mart stuff. If placed close enough to our plants but not touching they can produce good results in getting our veggie starts going. Possibly they would produce some satisfactory results on greens but I have never seen them kick a plant into mid season rapid growth mode. They seem fine at nurturing the tenderlings to a point then we transplant them outside where the power of the sun can finish the job. The cost of equipment and electricity to match a pot growing setup no doubt badly looses out economically for vegetables but probably would work wonders. They even switch lighting schemes to finish the adult plants in correct wavelength light they have designer supplements to feed them and most likely now have designer GMO seeds. I plan to putter with my simple lights next winter and see what does happen. That sure beats cabin fever and is cheaper than a therapist.

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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  boffer on 6/4/2011, 11:08 am

For this type of experiment, I would go with four 1x4 boxes rather than a 4x4. They will give you more options to play with as you experiment with your lights. They can be moved around more easily, and if you're not happy with the results, they can be moved outside without unloading.
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  stripesmom on 6/4/2011, 11:48 am

Thanks Westie, aren't winters long? I know one thing, I have plenty of lady beetles in the house all winter, so I've got that covered (not that I want them inside). I'm going to check out the pot sites. What I've noticed in the past with these lights is, if the light is taken up too far, then the lower portion of the plant is wanting. That could be helped with mylar or aluminum foil. I've also read about white styrofoam as a reflector. Seems if I remember right, Mel said some thing about this in his first book. I'll have to look it up, mirrors I think.

Boffer, you are exactly right. I could split them up and add more light as needed. That size would also be handy for flowers or herbs if the lettuce stuff doesn't turn out. Besides, by the time I decided if it's a pass or fail, I can then start planting salad veggies outside again.
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  CindiLou on 6/4/2011, 9:30 pm

I grow lettuce in a long flower pot that I put in the back of the top shelf of my grow cabinet. I have the cool/warm florescent bulbs from Home Depot. I don't get a lot of lettuce but enough to get by in the winter since hubby don't eat salads often and usually he just has lettuce on the hamburgers.
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Re: SFG in the basement

Post  NHGardener on 6/4/2011, 9:47 pm

I have a friend who has been growing lettuce and herbs indoors for several weeks now, and is investigating growing green beans indoors.

Makes me wish I had an indoor mud room or enclosed porch to set up an indoor grow operation. I guess it's not that much different than using a greenhouse, you just have to rig up the lights.

I'd like to find out what the trade-off is in electric expense.
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