Indoor Garden Experiment - Winter 2016-17
As I mentioned, I'm going to try and preserve my pepper plants over the winter with the intention to grow them bigger and stronger in the Spring.
Well that was the original plan, lol.
Its grown a bit...
This is a corner of my unused living room. I was just planning on two overhead lights, but once I got all the planters done and plants into them, three shelves was very crowded. I want to seed start and grow some spinach as well this Winter, so I went ahead and purchased a third fixture.
To see the tutorial on how to make the self watering planters I'm using click this thread "Self Watering Planters"
Yes, that's a sleeping bag covering the window.
After I put a layer of plastic on like most do, I then hang a cheap $10 WalMart sleeping bag over it as a thermal barrier.
I also picked up a small warming mat at the Grow store where I bought the lights. You can see the seed starter I picked up on close out at WalMart to the far left of the picture. I got 5 of the 72 cell starter kits for a dollar a piece.
I have an old mable topped corner table I put it on, just to be safe. Its the first warming mat I've used with seed starts, and while it is just barely warm to the touch, it mists the seed starter lid very nicely with moisture.
Right now I have eleven 5 gallon planters and twelve 2 gallon ones. (The two gallon are the smaller ones.)
Cost on them was about $25 each on the 5 gallon, and $20 on the 2 gallon, when you figure in potting soil. I didn't add anything for the plants, since everything but the lettuce I already had growing. Add $5 or so for two 6 packs for the lettuce, which was 6 Romaine plants and a Gourmet mix.
If you look from left to right, here's what I have growing.
- Seed Starter with 12 cells planted with Spinach.
- They will be planted in the four 2 gallon planters on the white shelving next to it. They are filled with dirt but not watered yet.
- On that same shelf, I have one of the floppy gourmet lettuces and the new Purslane plant recently picked up. It has white flowers so I'm keeping it a bit separated from my older one, which is blue flowers.
The seed starter is way too big for just 12 cells, but I'll use it more in the Spring.
My single black pearl pepper is in the corner.
I trimmed it back a bit. I am hoping this will really bush out for me.
I did trim some of the peppers pretty hard.
The one on the left is the same type as the other, only it was one single very tall stem, looking like it wanted to flower. If you've grown lettuce, you know once it does, it bolts and the flavor suffers badly on the leaves. Not sure if it did that because of a few days of colder weather last month, being outside at the nursery. I have enough peppers and lettuce that I can afford to experiment, and see if a harsh cut back brings better results. We will see.
The longer side of three shelves has my peppers and most of the lettuce. The Romaine is acting like it wants to flower and bolt too, so they may be in for some pruning this week.
I repotted my oldest plant, a nice Spider plant into a new larger pot, and as you can see...my Purslane plant is huge!!!
I got it into a new container and it clumped up a bit, I expect the branches will relax given a few days. I've started including a good portion of its stems into my weekly salad. It does have a particular taste, a bit tart, and very crunchy. I look forward to including it in my diet.
See this thread on Purslane
True to the advertising, the smaller pot to the left has 4 smaller purslane plants that I found growing in one of my pepper plant basket. I think its the one that was under the main basket. Grows like a weed lol.
Cost Breakdown: I would have put everything in the basement, so that any water wouldn't be a problem but the only electrical is a single ceiling bulb, with one outlet in the fixture.
The lights are made by a company called VitaPlant, and are 4 feet long, using four 54 watt fluorescent bulbs, for a total of 214 watts per fixture or 642 watts total. Each cost $140 ($160 with tax). They have a 5 year guarantee (1 year on the bulbs).
I did some back of the envelope math on the cost. My latest electric bill has me using 243 kilowatts (kWh) during September with a cost of $37. Works out to about 15 cents a kWh. I have them on a pair of timers coming on at 5am to 7pm, or about 14 hours, for a total cost of $1.35US for about 9 kWh a day.
Now this might be a problem during Winter depending on the solar electric system and its output. Something that is often very low then. I'll have to keep this in mind when thinking of how much output I will need.