How to grow food indoors

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novillero
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How to grow food indoors

Post by novillero » Sun May 24, 2020 8:11 am

I was researching this topic via google and hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics = expensive systems and buying special seed pods... and they all seem more complicated than it needs to be.

Does anyone have any recommendations for growing using potting soil and simple (and relatively inexpensive) grow lights? I am looking to start simple with some herbs and salad greens.

InMyDreams
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by InMyDreams » Sun May 24, 2020 9:15 am

I'm in my first few months of using a six-hole Aerogarden (Harvest model). I like it.

But - I bought it on Amazon, and didn't seem to be able to get the vegetable pods with the machine - I bought them separately. It looks like if you go to the dealer directly, the price is the same but you have your choice of pods.

I'm growing lettuce right now, will probably buy a second one in the fall and start tomatoes.

livesoft
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by livesoft » Sun May 24, 2020 9:21 am

One needs a tremendous amount of light. I'm sure you have heard of grow lamps and all the power consumed by indoor marijuana farms. Also aquariums used a lot of juice for lighting.

But technology has changed somewhat and now LED lighting is used. Still one needs a lot of light. Blinding light in fact ... just like looking at the Sun.

Make your own inexpensive lamps from these USB LEDs: https://www.amazon.com/Yitee-Keychain-E ... ref=sr_1_2 I am not sure of the spectrum of light these produce though. This is a big deal for aquariums.
Last edited by livesoft on Sun May 24, 2020 9:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Lynette
Posts: 2013
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by Lynette » Sun May 24, 2020 9:23 am

I am experimenting - great hobby in these times. I bought these grow lights and really like them:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZH ... UTF8&psc=1

These are LED so they do not use a lot of electricity. There is a great deal of research as to whether you need blue, red, green lights. I prefer full spectrum as it does not make my living room look like a night club!

I bake the soil in my oven at 180 degrees as I do not want bugs. I have learnt a lot - e.g not overcrowding seeds. My microgreens turned out very well. I hardened off some of the tomato plants and transplanted them outdoors.

Best wishes.

vanuber
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:07 pm

Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by vanuber » Thu May 28, 2020 11:43 am

novillero wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 8:11 am
Does anyone have any recommendations for growing using potting soil and simple (and relatively inexpensive) grow lights? I am looking to start simple with some herbs and salad greens.
I've done some successful indoor growing. I've tried both hydroponics and traditional potting soil. I would recommend the later and suggest the following:

- Use a closet or build a cardboard enclosure and line it with aluminum foil
- Buy a 600W high-pressure sodium lamp and ballast fixture; this does not need to be grow-specific, just an outdoor lighting fixture
- Buy a cheap mechanical outlet timer and research growing cycles and day light requirements
- Use pots and potting soil plus gravel for good drainage and root aeration

If you really want to get clever, you can gas your plants with CO2 using dry ice:

- Rig a computer fan to the top of a small plastic pot with drainage holes in the bottom
- Hang it above your plants
- Fill it with dry ice and turn on the fan so it blows air across the dry ice and out of the drainage holes

I really enjoyed the process. Hope you do to!
"If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if an hour, I am ready now" - Woodrow Wilson

ikowik
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by ikowik » Thu May 28, 2020 12:18 pm

After giving up on this hobby several years ago, this pandemic has been an opportunity to start again. I use two shop light fixtures with grow light tubes; two of these fixtures are attached to a frame. This can be rigged up with some effort, or bought from some garden centers. Think I paid $70 or so a decade ago, they are still working well. Place some support on the frame beneath the lights, I use stiff cardboard pieces cut off from Amazon delivery boxes. Potting soil in planters. Have some means of watering handy. I have the setup in my basement in the workshop area and there is a big sink nearby. A water squirting bottle can be used for small pots.
With this setup, I have grown greens- lettuce, fenugreek and mustard greens, all from seeds. Have series of seedings at a time to get a steady supply.
A seedling mat (raises temperature under pots to above room temperature) is very helpful.
I also start tomatoes, peppers and basil indoors with this and then transplant outside.

livesoft
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by livesoft » Thu May 28, 2020 1:54 pm

vanuber wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 11:43 am
....
- Buy a 600W high-pressure sodium lamp and ballast fixture; this does not need to be grow-specific, just an outdoor lighting fixture
...
This is old school, plus sodium lamps have that yellow spectrum light. LEDs are the modern way to go, safer, and do not create as much heat.

As a plant aquarist I used to add CO2 to my tanks. Instead of dry ice, one could use yeast to make the CO2 from sugar.
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weltschmerz
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by weltschmerz » Thu May 28, 2020 2:54 pm

If you want to grow plants using an extremely simple hydroponics method, check out Bucket Hydroponics, a.k.a. Kratky Hydroponics. This method involves setting your plants atop a bucket of liquid fertilizers. No pumps or fluid changes are required, so it is very easy and low maintenance. The plants send roots down into the fluid and absorb all the water and nutrients that they need.

You can learn more at this link:
https://buckethydroponics.wordpress.com

vanuber
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by vanuber » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:02 pm

"If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if an hour, I am ready now" - Woodrow Wilson

livesoft
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by livesoft » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:18 pm

That's nice, but no information about cost, heat, and cost to operate which are all rather important.
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vanuber
Posts: 85
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by vanuber » Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:52 pm

livesoft wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:18 pm
That's nice, but no information about cost, heat, and cost to operate which are all rather important.
I'm sure LED's have some great advantages though HPS are surprisingly efficient. I thought it was an interesting article. I have not done any indoor growing since the early 2000's when LED tech was non-existent. This was in college and I was growing for "medical" reasons. I would like to give it another go, though these days tomatoes sound more appealing!
"If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if an hour, I am ready now" - Woodrow Wilson

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ohboy!
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by ohboy! » Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:00 pm

Lynette wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 9:23 am
I am experimenting - great hobby in these times. I bought these grow lights and really like them:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZH ... UTF8&psc=1

These are LED so they do not use a lot of electricity. There is a great deal of research as to whether you need blue, red, green lights. I prefer full spectrum as it does not make my living room look like a night club!

I bake the soil in my oven at 180 degrees as I do not want bugs. I have learnt a lot - e.g not overcrowding seeds. My microgreens turned out very well. I hardened off some of the tomato plants and transplanted them outdoors.

Best wishes.
Bake the soil? Doesnt that kill the good life in the soil?

Prob gonna need more light than that to grow veggies. Quantum board or COB LEDs are popular. Amazon has Mars Hydro. 100w of LED could prob grow one or two good sized tomato plant.

Meijiu or Kingbrite quantum boards on Alibaba. Less than $1 per watt and very bright. Use samsung LED diodes. LM301H is the newest samsung LED diode I believe.

cheesepep
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Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by cheesepep » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:34 pm

I live in an apartment like structure with 2 covered balconies and a large living room window that gets light. Unfortunately, I cannot grow anything from seed because of the amount of light needed when the seedlings are starting out is too much. I don't have any sun shining directly down on the seeds (only at an angle), so all of the seedlings are extremely leggy and won't recover from it. I need to buy some grow lights at least for the first few weeks.

Pu239
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Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:24 pm

Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by Pu239 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:42 pm

novillero wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 8:11 am
I was researching this topic via google and hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics = expensive systems and buying special seed pods... and they all seem more complicated than it needs to be.

Does anyone have any recommendations for growing using potting soil and simple (and relatively inexpensive) grow lights? I am looking to start simple with some herbs and salad greens.
Perhaps a little more complicated than you envision but grow tent kits with different lighting types are an option. For example, here are some LED kits.
https://www.htgsupply.com/product-categ ... grow-kits/
Between the idea And the reality...Between the motion And the act...Falls the Shadow - T. S. Eliot

3504PIR
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:46 am

Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by 3504PIR » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:46 am

This can absolutely be done given the right conditions. You should only grow vegetables that are non pollinating such as planting seeds designed for a greenhouse and not an outdoor garden. Lack of pollination will reduce your crop to zero unless you plant the right seeds. We have a greenhouse and there are seeds for that environment available on major seed selling websites like Johnnys seeds, but like many things during this pandemic, seeds are in short supply. We grow mostly tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant in our greenhouse, but you may find a few others in your search.

Start small unless you have a lot of experience. You’ll be surprised how quickly you learn.

Speckles
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:36 am

Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by Speckles » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:10 am

I have been growing lettuce and herbs indoors for years. I have a 5-shelf wire shelving unit, that are easily bought from Walmart, Target, Costco, whoever. Then I strap two “shop light” fixtures to the bottom of each shelf so the light will shine down directly on the shelf below. In Each shop light fixture ($12 ea with 4-ft long fluorescent bulbs) I put One “warm light” bulb And one “cool light” bulb, which together approximates full spectrum light. I connect these to a timer to provide about12-14 hr light per day.

I get a couple plastic “window boxes” from the big box stores and fill with commercial potting soil or my own mix (no baking). I wet the soil, plant the lettuce as directed on the package. Then put Saran Wrap on the top to retain the moisture until it sprouts. The window boxes go on the shelf below the lights. The lights should be 2-3 inches above the soil. When the seeds sprout, remove the Saran and keep the lights 2-3 inches above the lettuce. I put the window boxes on blocks to get them close enough to the lights, then remove the blocks as they grow. Keeping the lights this close is what provides enough light at an affordable cost. For a one-shelf starter set up you can just strap the lights to the bottom side of a folding table or bench.

Most seeds sprout faster at a warm temp (80F), but then prefer something closer to regular room temp to grow.

I’d recommend reading “The New Seed Starters Handbook” by Nancy Bubel. It’s from the 1980’s and uses everyday things in gardening instead of fancy purchased gizmos.

Lettuce, Spinach, mustard greens, turnips, radishes all herbs do well inside. You can use this setup to start tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, broccoli, etc, but you’d need a different setup once they start to grow big.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy your indoor garden as much as I do mine.

Specks

Lynette
Posts: 2013
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:47 am

Re: How to grow food indoors

Post by Lynette » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:22 am

ohboy! wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:00 pm
Lynette wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 9:23 am

I bake the soil in my oven at 180 degrees as I do not want bugs. I have learnt a lot - e.g not overcrowding seeds. My microgreens turned out very well. I hardened off some of the tomato plants and transplanted them outdoors.

Best wishes.
Bake the soil? Doesnt that kill the good life in the soil
I guess that is the point. I do not think that potting soil is supposed to have "life" in it. Some reviewers of potting soil mentioned that they had gnats flying around their house. I haven't had any. Our teacher in a gardening course I took has a greenhouse and she recommended this.

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