Friday, June 21, 2019

Vertical in house growing

Well this blog covers what you might want to do inside your house. Obviously when you go inside you loose some sun light and you will have to replace it. You could do that with AC power from your power company or AC and DC from your own solar panel power system. I will cover both. You should probably think about generating your own power if at all possible. If the grid goes down or power is not available, then you would need to generate your own. ALSO later in the Radio Communications blog I will cover radio communications. If there is no power, how will you charge your portable radios or run your base station? Solar is the answer to that. 

Take Note: Unless you have a large amount of solar power or power company power, growing inside will never be as good as outside in the sun. I am assuming in this blog that power is not available from that huge power plant in your state or country. As the Global Warmers and CO2 Addicts keep pushing the destruction of power plants and keep pushing green power, you can bet there wont be power available when its really needed. That moment will be deep into the SGSM. You can bet on it. Just ask some people who live in Australia. Green power will never work when its cold and the sun does not shine and the wind is not blowing. What do you do then? While I will be talking solar, I can almost guarantee that you will have the same problems. If there is no sun and your batteries are really low, you wont be growing food inside. So just a heads up. Soooo lets get started:

OK now come in the house.  I am going to tell you the truth, and the truth is that growing in a house is not all that great. There is some good news and some really bad news about growing in the house. Again, don't email me and tell me that I don't know what I am doing. I have been growing in my house for years. You will need hundreds of pounds of food to feed you and your family.  Its not easy to grow in the house unless you have a lot of power. Probably around 450 to 1000 watts of electrical energy to grow a few tomatoes. If you are going to grow with AC power, that's around 9 amps of current. That's also a lot of power if you are using battery power. If your using DC current then at 12 volts you will be continuously pulling 90 amps from your battery at  a minimum of 11 hours a day, day after day. Power? During the SGSM, there might not be any. If that is the case, then you will need to use water or solar power. 

Most people won't have the water to run a generator. While solar will work, there are problems with that as well. Solar panels will probably develop about 33% less than they do now because of all the cloud cover. That's just when the sun is out.    If there is no sun, (really bad weather etc. ) your batteries will not get charged. If you deep discharge your batteries, you could ruin your batteries. 

When you are going to grow in the house you are replacing the sun. That's not easy to do with solar. It takes many lumens (PARS) of light power to grow greens and a huge amount to grow something like tomatoes. Yes you can grow a couple of plants, but you need large amounts of food and probably 1200 to 2000 calories per adult person or more of food. Forget eating just lettuce.  If some one tells you that you can grow a lot of food with their really small Gee wiz super duper grow lights they are lying. You can't get around nature. Ya a couple of plants or more but so what. I am still hungry so what do I do?

So what can you grow in the house? Probably greens, microgreens and sprouts.
Its possible to grow these three things using solar powered grow lights, but not much else. If you have a large family or children, then these things will not feed you very well. You will be working hard and you will need those high density nutrient foods like meat, potatoes and beans, You can just forget living on greens. I am telling you the truth, as I have done it.

OK, you are going out on the internet to get some help learning how to grow food. BUT STOP - what you will be learning is what has been successful in the past. What is coming is the future and the past will not work in the future. You will be meeting our friend the SGSM, and he is frowning.

Don't put your eggs all in the same basket. Don't depend on one thing to survive what is coming. 

OK, before we get into vertical growing and microgreens, lets talk about solar power. below is a simplified diagram of a solar system. There are the solar panels which put out about 17v DC with no load. I would suggest that you have a minimum of 1000 watts of power. Don't get one of those cheesy power stations that have a panel, battery and an inverter. Total waste of money unless you need something portable.  You will need a solar charger / controller that will handle your 1000 watts of solar power. The controller will disconnect the battery from the system when the battery is charged and when you have discharged your battery to a dangerous level. That will save your battery's but you get no power until the batteries come back up to working voltages. You will need some deep cycle batteries. (No car batteries). At a minimum you will need a 1000 AH battery bank. Finally, if you are going to use AC appliances etc. then you will need an inverter. Pure sine would be best. Make sure that the inverter will drop out if the battery voltage gets low. If you are going to use solar, you need to have backups. Purchase two controllers and two inverters and store them away.  Graphic (C) author.

Vertical in house growing

You will not be using some commercial vertical hydroponic system because these system are really meant for a greenhouse and sun shine. They will also need power to run nutrient pumps. If you are growing lettuces, kale etc., then I would suggest that you use 10 x 20 plastic trays and coconut fiber. Microgreens like mustard and radish are what I suggest. Mustard and radish can be grown (greens) in about 7 days with the proper environment. Microgreens can be grown just using water as no nutrients are needed. There is enough energy in the seeds to take them to the microgreen level. That is not the case with things like lettuce as they will eventually turn yellow. So put some nutrient on your list or grow in coconut fiber with some of your compost. If you have a really sunny window microgreens can be grown there. If you are growing lettuce or other greens inside it will take many weeks to get plants up to size. One good thing is that they can be harvester over time.

I am sorry that I always bring up all the bad things, but I want you to survive and not starve. Microgreens are not really the solution. Although good for you, it takes thousands of seeds to grow just a little food. If you need to grow microgreens for years, then you will need many  millions of seeds and many hundreds of pounds of seeds. That's  really a huge waste of seed. You could grow for hundreds of people if you let the seed grow to maturity. So now you know. Its your choice, but don't drink the cool aide. Use microgreens to grow some salad greens but that's all.

The graphic on the left is the authors vertical growing system. This system uses 1080 watts of AC power just for the lights. its in my greenhouse but could easily be in a house. Graphic (C) author. I can grows loads of microgreens in the rack, but this for sure is not a SGSM type of system. I would suggest that you don't go there unless you want to start a business growing and selling microgreens which is what I do. 

The graphic below  system uses your  solar system to run the LED grow lights. See below how to make some cheap grow lights that will be good enough to grow greens. This system uses 10 x 20 plastic trays with coconut fiber to grow microgreens. The top of the system is used for the germination trays. Keep these trays in the dark until they germinate. Uses a 10 x 20 tray with no holes to block out the light.  Graphic (C) author

I have built a few of these lights below and they work really well. They are low power and put out enough light to grow greens. The strip lights are 16 ft. long. One reel can make 1- 5 ft. grow light. The lights stick to the wood, but I used silicon glue to make sure they are well connected. You will need a little soldering skill to make these. It looks like you can make these for about $14.00 each. They are quite bright. Use number 14 stranded insulated wire to make the connections.  Get some extra reels of strip LEDs as a backup. 

Purchase some of the strip day light LEDs. You can use them for light in your home. A 2 foot strip of them will produce a considerable amount of light and uses minimum power. Its best not to use an inverter for lighting as there is an efficiency loss running the inverter. 

Note: for home use purchase the daylight spectrum lights not the full spectrum ones.

NOTE on using AC power.
You can use your inverter or AC power if you want too, but they use a lot more power. Some of the daylight shop led lights work really well and I use them in my commercial operation to grow microgreens. I also use them to grow starts.

OK, lets talk about microgreens.
Almost any type of seed can be grown as a microgreen. Some are out right nasty and some are really tasty. When it comes to food, you want microgreens that produce dense (weighty) plants. The two best microgreens for this arc radish and mustard's. You can also grow cabbage, arugula and cilantro, carrot (no roots) fennel, kale and others. All these produce some very healthy food, but not that much calories. 

Here is how to grow microgreens. Halfway fill up the 10 x 20 tray (with holes) with coconut fiber. Wet he coconut fiber (really soak it). The tray should be so wet that water is coming out of the tray. Next sprinkle seed on the coconut fiber. Seed density should look like no seeds are touching, but that's OK too. Next water the seeds with plenty of water. Again the tray should be leaking water and the seeds should be very wet. Next, take a 10 x 20 tray (no holes) and spray the bottom of the tray with H2O2 (hydrogen Peroxide 3%). Then place the bottom of the tray on top of the seeds. Place in a warm place. Check for germination from time-to-time. Once germinated, put under the grow lights. If you really soaked the fiber and seed, the fiber should be still wet are damp. Lift up the tray and see if it is still heavy with water. If not or it needs watering, half fill a 10 X 20 tray (no holes) with water and place the germinated tray into the tray. You probably wont need to do this but once. Use scissors to harvest and enjoy. Below is an example of a tray of radish and mustard. Graphic (C) author

Below are some more graphics of microgreens.

OK that ends this blog. Hope you enjoyed it. Ill be back later with some more indoor growing like sprouts which I really like and are really nutrient dense and good for you. Cheers and best of everything. Keep growing or start a garden NOW.

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