indoor garden questions, mainly about power

jason87x

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When I move later in the year, I will finally have the chance to eat healthy like I've been wanting to (leaving college and parents and getting job etc). I'm interested in experimenting with vegetable growing, and maybe mini fruit trees and non-tree fruits like strawberries. I will hopefully be at home all the time, maybe from a telecommuting job, so will be bored and able to watch over the plants.

I've heard HPS (high pressure sodium) lights are the best, and provide the most lumens per watt, but they say to use one 400 watt bulb per 3x3 ft area, or 2500 lumens per square foot. Aren't most circuits only rated for about 1800 watts or so? How do you save on power to not overload circuits? Or can you use less than 2500 lumens per square foot? I will be in an apartment so setting up solar panels may or may not be practical? Do they produce much power anyway? Though I will have a deck or patio for any apartment around here.

Are there other creative ways to generate electricity at home?
 

cboucher

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HPS lights are better for the flowering cycle as they produce an orangish light similar to the autumn sun. For the growing season, you'd do better with metal halide lamps. They are brighter and mimic the summer sun better. Why use artificial light anyways? Why not grow in pots outside? There is nothing as good as natural sunlight for growing plants. Unless you're not really growing fruits and vegetables...
 

jason87x

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I will be growing more stuff than will be able to fit on "a small pot outside". Hopefully enough to cook meals with. My dad has pots with all kinds of random stuff like small avocado trees, and who knows what else, so it's gotten my interest a little bit. Though he just puts them by the window sill and they grow, though really slowly. Plus what if the deck or patio ends up on a shady side where there won't be enough sun to grow much? Also I'm in kansas with hell summers and hell frozen over winters. So yea indoor would be the most stable and controllable.

How many hfs or metal halide lamps have been people been able to put on just one standard circuit say in a house or apartment? The raw math would say four but is there a way to actually use more than that? Are other lights possible? I have two walmart "grow light" flourescent bulbs/fixtures (the 24 inch kind). They have it listed as 17 watts, with "75 watt light output", whatever that's supposed to mean in terms of lumens. It also draws 300mA according to the label. I haven't used them yet but are things like that at all useful?
 

cboucher

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Flourescent lights are useless for growing plants. You can use less lamps if you maximize the usable light by surrounding the growing area with reflective material.
 

jason87x

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okay thank you for the tip. though i'll see what happens growing something with the lights I do have. I won't have my own place for several months in order to grow more.
 

cboucher

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Another tip to maximize the light you do have is placing your plants on a high table or shelf so that they sit directly under the light source. Gradually lower the plants (lower tables/shelves) as they grow into the lights.
 

berry120

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Are there other creative ways to generate electricity at home?
Yes - but not that much!

Are you in the US or the UK? If you're in the UK then I'd have a better idea of what's potentially required, I've not really much idea about the standards for electricity over the pond though :) Either way, if you need more power than you can reasonably get by splitting up the load between ring mains you'll most likely need to call in an electrician to quote you having a high current supply put in, not something that will come particularly cheaply!
 

UK31337

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You are obviously trying to grow weed, and your attempts at hiding this fact are pathetic and laughable.
 

FlightSimBoy

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UK31337, your accusations are pathetic and laughable.

You really have no clue how legitimate indoor gardening is for OTHER THAN ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES.

Example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7j4C1uzY3E

Back on topic.

One of my friends has an indoor cactus farm. I forget what type of light he uses, but it gives off a blueish color. He told me they were only 500 watt bulbs, and there's two in an enclosure.

Ohh, and that video, the guy uses LED grow lights, and they don't pull that much electricity at all. You might see if you can find LED grow lights, they *might* not require and additional power sources.
 

jason87x

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Hmm I found that many LED lights like the famous UFO are crap in quality. And I've heard that hfs/metal halide are still slightly more efficient on lumens per watt. From what I've heard, they say to use one 400 watt bulb of those types per 9 square feet (aka a 3x3 garden). I would likely use a 12x12 standard bedroom and have multiple levels (aka with shelves or something) of plants to make good use of the space and one day be able to cook my own food. I would probably use just 150 watt hfs/halide bulbs anyway, 400 seems too excessive and prone to heat problems. So... what plants love the (partial) shade? Because I'll probably need to have some plants in the shade because I won't be able to have lights everywhere without overloading circuits.
 
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