[NAFEX] Growing indoors
interverbis at videotron.ca
Mon Feb 21 17:00:49 EST 2005
This is getting to be that time of the year for many of us living north of
I would like to tell you about two indoors growing systems, mine and my
I'll start with mine as I can give you dimensions.
I have a sturdy open shelves structure which has been set up with three
permanent equally spaced shelves 24 inches apart (1 inch plywood reinforced
along the edge with a strip of wood). It makes three growing platforms open
on all sides and supported on all four corners, with light provided by a
series of regular light sockets fixed on the underside of the shelf above
and connected in series with a big electrical wire. The light sockets and
wires were left over from an electrical project. The sockets are fitted with
circular fluorescent lights, the office lamp type. I can light each growing
space independently, since each wire is connected independently to the
timer. This way I am lighting only the space that is being used. Additional
light is provided by a large window facing south nearby. The sockets and
wires are somewhat hidden by the edge trimming to reinforce the plywood so
they are not too unsightly. The vertical supports also are fitted with a
support accross both ends to set an additional shelve that can be placed at
6 inches or at 12 inches higher than the permanent shelve in any of the
three growing spaces so that plants can be placed up closer to the light
when necessary. So you might say that it is not the light moving closer to
the plants but the plants moving up closer to the light and moving down as
they grow. I found that two movable shelves is enough to cover all my
circumstances and those shelves can be removed entirely if the 24 inch
vertical space is required, like when I want to give a house plant a boost.
A fan is necessary to prevent damping-off and to create air circulation
which moves the plants constantly and makes them grow stronger.
I use one small fan clamped to the side of a shelf. The air bounces on the
wall at the back, and the air is more or less distributed to all plants. The
air circulation is uneven but I move the plants often.
The lights are on a timer to provide 17-18 hours light on a 24 hours cycle.
I use sand mixed with compost collected in the Fall and some peat moss, and
a seaweed fertilizer called SeaSpray.
My sister has a similar system, except that the distance between shelves is
smaller. It does not allow for additional shelves. Her lights do not work
independently so she has all her grow lights (fluorescent tubes attached to
the shelf above) plugged in a timer regardless of how much space she is
using. But, her entire structure is on solid wheels. It can be moved to
different rooms in the house, which is a very practical feature.
While my structure is not attached to its place, it cannot be moved too
easily but can be used as storage space in its down time. Her system is
meant to be moved around easily. Literally thousands of plants can be pushed
around from the living room window to a dark hallway in an instant. All that
is needed is a place to plug the timer in the wall. It can also disappear
into the walk-in pantry for a few hours. This is where it is stored in its
down time to serve as additional shelves for preserves or what not.
Both growing structures are home made and wider (deeper) than normal shelves
to prevent falling over.
Hélène, zone 3-4
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Lee" <markl at nytec.com>
To: <griffingardens at earthlink.net>; "'North American Fruit Explorers'"
<nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2005 12:59 PM
Subject: RE: [NAFEX] indoor lighting
> I use the clamp lights that Tom Olenio described in a previous post. I
> don't know why the standard shop light fluorescents didn't work well for
> me. One thing is I think they fade over time. Another problem is the
> long tube fluorescents need to be an inch or two above the seedlings
> which was hard to do as the seedlings grew more than a couple of inches.
> My tomato seedlings were doing OK but not as well as I wanted. I can
> cram a lot more lumens (light) into the same space with compact
> fluorescents, and the seedlings I have produced this winter really seem
> to be thriving on this simple set-up of only $7 per bulb. I would like
> to have a 1000 watt halide system like Bernie, but I would also like a
> $1000 greenhouse. Right now I am keeping my system cheap. One thing I
> am going to try is Doreen's suggestion of adding a fan. The seedling
> response to movement should contribute to hardening off the seedlings
> under the lights.
> -Mark Lee, Seattle, USDA cold zone 8a, AHS heat zone 3
> >>Dave wrote . . .
> As I understand it, these are the ones that fit into a socket such as
> would have on a desk lamp. What sort of fixture do you use then that
> put the light immediately above the plants in a long bank of flats? I am
> thinking about something that would replace my four chain-hung shop
> in a double row 8' long.
> central MN
> where good grow light op's abound.
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