Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My friends keep plants in his basement during the winter, I asked them about this but they are like reluctant to tell me what to do, their plants looks unhealthy but they told me they eat tomatoes from them. I want to know if somebody take care of plants in the basement during winter. I am trying this year. greenboy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,422 Posts
There's a hydroponics store in Rockford and I stopped in one day to ask about growing tomatoes. The guy behind the counter had a "Free Tommy Chong" t-shirt and kept winking at me saying, "yeah, Tomatoes!"

They have a lot of cool stuff, but it's so expensive that I think it REQUIRES growing marijuana in order to recover your investment. Plus, ordering some of that might put me on the FBI's watch list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Around here the only one growing POT are the Amish... Be careful with the corn if is Amish Corn, let me tell ya....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
I guess they grow it in the corn fields in southern PA. I can't believe it either!! Hey greenboy, feel free to send some of that corn up here! lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,944 Posts
You can keep certain things growing in the basement without all that. Not tomatoes though.
Root Cellaring by Mikeand Nacy Bubel is a great resource. And pretty cheap at Amazon when I got my copy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,137 Posts
susieM said:
Hallogen lamps.
Many, many, many, many, and another many moons ago, I grew pot inside. I learned everything there was to know about doing it. Grew it very well too, I might add. That is, until I got wind of the fact that the cops had got wind and I tore that room apart in minutes. Got rid of what I had and haven't even as much as smoked any sinse then.
That was something like 25 or 30 years ago.
But yes you can grow tomatoes or anything else in a basement. It doesn't need to be in hydroponic pots either.
Nearly all veggies will grow well in a 5 gal pot of good potting soil. The catch is it is expensive. The electricity will cost more than the crop would at the store, but you do get a better product. Much better.
You have a controled enviroment for them to live in. I am sure there are others that can correct me on this, but most plants seem to thrive on temps between 70* and 85* . Marijuana is a sun loving plant. it requires a minimum of 20 watts of floresent lights per sq. foot.
Your friends plants probably don't look good either because they don't have enough of the correct light, or their watering routine ins't correct.
There are different spectrums in the light waves that plants NEED. With tubes, you should use one warn white and one cool white in each fixture. Warm whites puts out the red wave the plants need while the cool whites put out the blue waves.
Hallogen lights are a pour source of light because they put out more in the wrong spectrums than in the correct ones.
The best lights are high pressure sodium with a, with a, with a, duh, I'll need to look it up for you.
Metal halide. There you go.
Now for the good part about growing them in the basement in the winter.
What most people don't stop and think about, is all electric lights put out heat according to the watts they use. You have got to heat the house anyway, and in a sense, a 250 watt metal halide lamp is a 250 watt electric heater also. So you get the light for the plants plus the added bonus of the heat for the house. Since heat rises, it will heat the floors above, which inturn makes the home more comfy. :)
Now the M.H.'s and H.P.S. lights are expensive so according to how serious you are, how many veggies you want etc. & etc., the money plays the biggest factor.
Two 250 watt lights will use a half a kilowatt hr. each hour they are on. they need to be on atleast 14 hours a day, so that's 7 KWH's a day. @ $.09 per kWH that is $.63 a day or $18.90 for a 30 day month.
It would be easy to regroup the electric cost if you started the plants outside NOW, in the buckets and you can use the lights for years to come.

According to your basement, you could build a couple of raised beds down there and start the plants in one or two gallon pots to be transplanted before first frost. 2- 250 watt lights will cover an area of something like 6' x 6'.
Or you could build a bed 4 feet wide and put a 4 foot shop light every foot for the lenght of it.
If you built it 10 feet long, it would need a minimum of 10 - 4' shop lights which would be 800 watts.

I wish I had enough room in my base to to this, but all I have is a dug out cellar about 7 feet high with a concrete floor that I call my shop, LOL. And I need it to build me a tiller to pull behind the Mower turned tractor next spring.
If I can tell you anything else, and there are some more, but I have said enough for now, feel free to e-mail or PM me.
God Bless
Dennis
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,137 Posts
susieM said:
Wow, Dennis!

(and for anyone thinking of growing lots of pakalolo or mauiwowie at home...the elecric company looks for bigger-than-normal useage, and they then alert the cops, who check out why)
You are right about that, susie. I expect that may have been why the cops were asking questions to start with, but like I said, my growing pot was a long time ago. Long past. I was just a kid. OK. A 23 or 4 yo kid, LOL. Just after getting out of the army. Thinking back now, I was 24 a year old. Heck, nearly everyone in the army smoked pot back then.
If I had the room I would think about growing some veggies but I don't. Plus my little basement isn't even all under my house. 10 feet of it is under the back porch so the heat I got from the lights would mostly be wasted.
But if greenboy has a contained basement, the heat from the lights would come into play. If he is growing veggies, he doesn't need to worry about the cops coming in. Just open the door and let them have a look see.
He ask a question and I told him some of what I know. It is a good idea if it is done correct. Get the veggies and the heat as a bonus. :shrug:
Dennis
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,137 Posts
susieM said:
Some growers go with generators. Tomatoes wouldn't be profitable, but weed might.
You can put 9 tomato plants under 2 - 250 watt lights. For $.63 @ $.09 per KWH a day you can pick fresh tomatoes year round. Plus you get the added heat for free. If you cycle them you can pick a few pounds every day until spring. Tomatoes get costly in the winter and arent't no where near as good as home grown is.
if I had the room, I would pay it to pick good home grown tomatoes through the winter.
As far as the weed, I am not going there. That's behind me. Long gone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,117 Posts
Might growing a tomato plant or two upstairs, instead of in a basement, be good for those who suffer from lack of sunshine during the winter?

The tomatoes might help to lift the spirit, and the lamp might, too.

Our local pick-your-own tomato place grows a basil plant at the head of each row...that might be nice in the house, too.
 

·
STILL not Alice
Joined
·
19,808 Posts
Heck, I'm almost afraid to set up my grow lights in the Winter. The neighbors told me they thought I was growing weed. Uh... no. I'm not that stupid. If the neighbors are goofy enough to think that a few grow lights = a marijuana farm, I imagine the cops checked it out too.

Anyway.

I think you need broad spectrum lights to grow really good veggies over Winter, but you could probably get passable fruit with a decent light set up. (Dang. Just had a feeling of deja vu while typing that...)

I was thinking of cloning a couple of tomato plants and putting them under lights in the basement this year. If I get a visit from the gummint, I'll let you know. ;)

Pony!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,354 Posts
Crafty has it right.
MJ and maters have more or less the same requirements.In fact,a grow store that I used to go to (a looooooooong time ago) had a huge,beautiful crop of tomatoes growing right in the middle of the show room floor.
Utilizing the excess heat is a good idea,and sometimes it's necessary to remove it from the grow room,anyway.One way to do this is to use a lighting system with external ballast that you can locate anywhere,as the bulb itself DOES produce some heat,but the majority of it comes from the ballast.Dfinitely,a combination of MH and HPS lamps is ideal,but if you just want to purchase one,you can get by very well with just a HPS.The MH is heavier in the blue spectrum,which helps for vegetative growth,but the heavier reds found in the HPS are absolutely necessary when the plant begins to flower.
One thing to keep in mind if ya' give this a whirl....Keep everything clean,clean,clean,and be real careful of what goes into you growing area.Once you develop a pest/disease/fungus problem in a place like that,it can be tremendously difficult to get rid of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,935 Posts
As a veteran of growing plants indoors, I will offer up a few observations.

First, HPS is the way to go. I used plain old shop lights with a variety of bulbs for years. In fact, I have a rack with 8 fixtures on it that I use for plain seed starting. Those do create some heat but truthfully, a lot of veggies need the warmth those produce to germinate.

Use a sterile medium for starting in flats. This prevents a disease issue in the soil right off the bat. For potting up you could use a mix of garden soil and bagged potting soil, or do like I did and use sterilized steer manure, fishy peat, and ProMix. It was the perfect combination for veggies.

Buy a timer for your lighting system. It's pretty easy to forget about being exact sometimes and it's nice not to have to worry while you are out: Did I turn the light on? or off?

If you have space, and a faucet, a water barrel for tempered water is real handy. I have a 55 gallon plastic drum that I use, and I set it on a small chunk of styrofoam to keep it up off the concrete floor. This way, I am not using extra energy to water those baby plants with something that won't shock them. I personally try to water in the evenings about the time the light is to go off. Then in the morning I checked everything to make sure. Adding a bit of liquid vitamins to that water is good too.

Your biggest problem is going to be air circulation. Trust me, with all those plants respiring nonstop, and the damp soils, excess moisture is going to be an issue and damping off can be the result. This is a serious issue even with commercial greenhouses up here because you can't exactly afford to run the exhaust fans when it's -10 outside! Fresh air, if you are lucky enough to live where it's warm enough to bring it inside, is really beneficial. If not, you need a series of fans going to move air around. I have one overhead fan, and use up to three others-at least one of which is an oscillating stand type, one a desktop oscillating, and a box fan. These need to go nonstop, there goes your electric bills, lol! You will spend days fiddling around with placement before you figure it out, and then will need to adjust as the plants get bigger.

You other issue is going to be dealing with excess heat. No I am not fooling. All plants are going to be much healthier if you can figure out how to drop the those temps down to about 50, 55 at night. This makes for a better stalk, and a more vigorous plant. When someone figures it out, I would like to know. It's pretty hard to do this in my situation, with the pantry/starting area between the house and the garage. This coming spring I am going to try setting a fan on the floor of the pantry, pointing to the garage, and see if I can set up a circulation that way. It's HARD to do >pulls hair out in frustration<, one of the biggest challenges to indoor production.

Just so you know, it costs me about $30 a month to run the HPS (400 watts, on a track) and two to three fans....it was a very good investment for me, considering I started something like 48 flats-beginning in February. When it was -23 outside ;)
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top