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Indoor Gardening
Old 04-20-2015, 08:58 PM   #1
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Indoor Gardening

I am not sure about growing food outside where we live between snails, rats, squirrels, and drought. I don't want anything outside to attract rats. I think indoor farming with LED lights is the way of the future:

Q&A: Inside the World's Largest Indoor Farm | Nat Geo Food

What do you think? Can I grow lettuce or other (legal) food crops now with stuff from Amazon? Or a window farm like this -

Window Farms and the Power of Crowd Sourcing | greenUPGRADER

My herbs are doing really well and I have a lot of other windows and window sills without any plants on them yet.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:55 PM   #2
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Yes, I think you can do a lot. Whenever you do a search though, most information will be on growing illegal product. They seem to know their stuff, but I'm not sure how applicable it is to other crops.

As in the Nat Geo article you linked (very interesting!), short growing cycle crops are probably best. Lettuce, wheat grass, etc.

-ERD50
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:18 AM   #3
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There is a system called the aero-garden I think, which is supposed to allow growing all kinds of vegetables indoors. It's expensive, but someone crafty would probably be able to replicate the system for a lot less money. If I understand correctly, it is basically a hydroponic system with grow lights that can be adjusted upwards as the plants grow.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:19 AM   #4
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There is a system called the aero-garden I think, which is supposed to allow growing all kinds of vegetables indoors. It's expensive, but someone crafty would probably be able to replicate the system for a lot less money. If I understand correctly, it is basically a hydroponic system with grow lights that can be adjusted upwards as the plants grow.
Yes, those are crazy expensive for what you get. If the goal is food, and not so much convenience and aesthetics and plug/play, check out the DIY links on youtube and other places. Pretty easy/cheap to make something up.

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Old 04-21-2015, 08:29 AM   #5
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This sounds like a really cool project. And for me a home doesn't feel like a home unless you have plants growing.

As a kid, we used to grow chili peppers indoors which were great but at some point we got hit with an infestation of aphids.
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:10 AM   #6
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Great idea. I have been developing a spare bedroom into an indoor grow room, since I FIREd in 2007.

The photos in the next post show my system made from common items that cost a heck of a lot less than the kit type grow systems you will find online.

The shelf units currently hold houseplants, geraniums, and plastic beer cups with vegetable seedlings. The veggies will be transplanted in late May into Earthboxes on wheels, rolling mop buckets from the dollar store, plain white 5 gallon contractor buckets from the hardware store, etc. I also follow signs to garage sales to pick up the usually free large plastic or ceramic containers that people discard.

The lighting units are JumpStart brand, in 2 foot and 4 foot lengths. I buy them off season via Amazon when the prices are better. The shelf units are sturdy metal and heavy duty plastic with open shelves so the light can get through. The reflective Mylar wall covering is the most recent addition. I will do the entire room once the plants are put outside and I can easily move the shelf units around.

For any food plants that flower and have to be pollinated, my outside container garden will really develop once the weather warms up. I do have some chipmunk problems but not enough to eat everything I plant outside.

Indoor gardening for food will be limited to greens, herbs and things that do not require pollination. I have tried doing root crops like carrots and radishes indoors, but results were very poor. I even tried cucumbers and hand pollinated them with a tiny brush. No cukes grew for me indoors.

The greens do reasonably well indoors. None of the plants get very big, but a windowbox will provide a decent sized salad. Consecutively timed plantings are the trick.

I'll put the photos in the next post.
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:12 AM   #7
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2015 indoor growing room as of today...I spend a lot of enjoyable hours in there.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg GrowRoom1.jpg (699.3 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg GrowRoom2.jpg (555.0 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg GrowRoom3.jpg (472.4 KB, 10 views)
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:20 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the responses.

That is quite a setup freebird, thanks for the pictures. Maybe I'll move to a window box next for salad like you suggested as just do things incrementally.

photoguy, I had ornamental peppers once and they also got bugs and they spread to all my plants. That ended my initial interest in indoor gardening for many years. My husband has reminded me of that before I get carried away with too many plants again. Though at the time the infestation occurred pre-internet era so maybe these days it would be easier to find help for plant pests.

FIREd and ERD50 - Good suggestions on the areo garden and looking for cheaper versions on youtube. We've notice on other topics like our energy saving projects it is kind of amazing what the various youtube people come up with.
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
Thanks for all the responses.

That is quite a setup freebird, thanks for the pictures. Maybe I'll move to a window box next for salad like you suggested as just do things incrementally.

photoguy, I had ornamental peppers once and they also got bugs and they spread to all my plants. That ended my initial interest in indoor gardening for many years. My husband has reminded me of that before I get carried away with too many plants again. Though at the time the infestation occurred pre-internet era so maybe these days it would be easier to find help for plant pests.

FIREd and ERD50 - Good suggestions on the areo garden and looking for cheaper versions on youtube. We've notice on other topics like our energy saving projects it is kind of amazing what the various youtube people come up with.
YW.

The metal shelf units are Whitmor brand purchased from Amazon. Very sturdy!

The room itself is only 10' x 13'. It's a little tight in there but I'm the only
one doing stuff within. The room is carpeted, so I am super careful to do all tasks involving dirt/water on a 1.5 inch lipped rubber boot tray. The small rotating fan came from a drugstore. I have a 1 L capacity hand pump mister with a spray cone attachment to give everyone a spritz without making a mess.

The clear beer cups and square plastic containers allow me to see who needs watering at a glance. Seedlings can be very thirsty !

Aphids were a problem when I introduced some store bought plants. Neem oil solved that. Growing your own from seed will really cut down on pests.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:54 AM   #10
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DW & I visited a large indoor community garden in Inuvik NWT Inuvik Community Greenhouse - Home

Remarkable place. They grow lot of local food which would have be trucked a thousand miles or more. Only problem is that this is a spring/summer undertaking, frozen solid all winter.
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:01 AM   #11
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DW & I visited a large indoor community garden in Inuvik NWT Inuvik Community Greenhouse - Home

Remarkable place. They grow lot of local food which would have be trucked a thousand miles or more. Only problem is that this is a spring/summer undertaking, frozen solid all winter.
Cool pics. Thanks.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:13 PM   #12
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Hydroponics - Our building material and farm stores offer different basic structures, stands, shelves and towers for small scale hydroponic gardening.
A friend from our Florida community is the food manager for the local high school, and has been using this for years, supplying the entire school's cafeteria with vegtable and greens from a very small hydroponic (no soil) greenhouse.

Link to a personal beginners' site:
Hydroponics - at Home and for Beginners

Also covers aeroponics.
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:27 PM   #13
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I dislike having dirt/soil inside the house so indoor gardening is a non-starter for me. All the plants we have around are bad enough.

What is the matter with an outdoor garden or a small greenhouse? We have an outdoor garden every year. We have a fence around it to keep the critters away (mostly rabbits, woodchucks, etc in our case). Easy.

Another alternative is raised beds. I made some last year for DW that are about waist high so she doesn't have to bend over so much to tend to them.
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:45 AM   #14
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I had to get rid of the bird feeders due to expensive squirrel and rat damage (gnawing wires and hoses). One got in the garage and destroyed my washing machine. I put water out now and that is it. No more food or crops outside. I had rats even gnaw through my composter bin. (I actually don't live in a slum - just near a lot of parks and open space filled with critters).

I like plants in the house. They look pretty and clean the air. Dirt actually has a lot of beneficial bacteria -

" With the release last summer of the results of the five-year National Institutes of Health's Human Microbiome Project, we are told we should think of ourselves as a "superorganism," a residence for microbes with whom we have coevolved, who perform critical functions and provide services to us, and who outnumber our own human cells ten to one."

Healthy Soil Microbes, Healthy People - The Atlantic

I don't know anything about greenhouses. I think here they would bake in the summer. I don't really know anyone that has one. We were thinking of putting one up for solar heat but I think any plants inside would get too hot.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:48 PM   #15
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For those of you who do indoor gardening, how long can you leave them unattended? I like the idea; but, I also like to travel.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:22 PM   #16
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I don't know anything about greenhouses. I think here they would bake in the summer.
I have a greenhouse and live in No. California near Sacramento. I only use my greenhouse for plants in the late fall through early spring. It does get too hot, even with the vent and door open and a fan running. Occasionally in the winter I need to run a small heater to keep it above freezing too.

I mostly use mine to overwinter my cactus and other frost sensitive plants. After my new seedlings are out from under the grow lights, they can go into the greenhouse for part of March. Later March and April are just too hot.

I store my seed starting stuff and various soils and potting tools in it the rest of the year.
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:22 PM   #17
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I have a greenhouse and live in No. California near Sacramento. I only use my greenhouse for plants in the late fall through early spring. It does get too hot, even with the vent and door open and a fan running. Occasionally in the winter I need to run a small heater to keep it above freezing too.

I mostly use mine to overwinter my cactus and other frost sensitive plants. After my new seedlings are out from under the grow lights, they can go into the greenhouse for part of March. Later March and April are just too hot.

I store my seed starting stuff and various soils and potting tools in it the rest of the year.
Thanks for the greenhouse info. We have a friend who added a sun room in a cold climate and they ended up not using it because it gets too hot, so I didn't think any kind of sun room or greenhouse with glass walls would work out here.
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