Growing plants in house, is it possible?

Bob Kirk reikirk at ksu.edu
Tue Nov 16 23:21:30 EST 1999


>I too am interested in the lighting aspect. Presently I'm using 2 - 4foot
>fluorescent grolites and the tomatos started Oct 15 are looking much better
>than any I started In Feb/March.
>These latest plants are much bushier, lack of light makes for tall spindly
>plants, and greener.

   Well, good luck. They're probably >greener< because they're stuffing
the leaves chock full o' chlorophyll to make the best possible use of what
has got to be (you don't have to quote me) not nearly enough light. Why
aren't they stretching out for it? Obviously you're keeping month-old
seedlings reeeeal close to the tubes, as you ought to - but it gets quite
a bit harder when they get even 2-3' tall.
   It's not impossible to grow _greenhouse tomatoes here in winter (north
east/central Kansas USA, total sunlight about halfway betyween Ohio and
New Mexico, if that helps), but it's not economically feasible. You can do
better at home, but if you actually manage to flower, fruit and ripen
enough tomatoes under a few grolite tubes to pay the light bill, there are
lots of people who would be interested.

>Now the questions:
>1)  Has anyone compared the hi-price "special" fluorescent grolites vs. a
>typical run-o-mill fluorescent?  If so, what difference did you observe?

   Many times. Afaik the consensus is that the special tubes may be better
but don't, most the time, justify their greater cost. Again, regardless, it
is going to take a >lot< of 40-watt tubes to ripen tomatoes. Setting fixtures
vertically around the plants would help, but in all honesty what you'd
probably end up with is however many canned tomatoes you need from the store
plus one helluva houseplant lighting system.

>2) What are the pests that most growing ventures crash against and their
>prevention?

    On soft-leaved plants, whitefly. Solanaceous plants (tomato family)
are whitefly magnets. Spider mites. Mealybug. On hard-leaved plants, scale.
If you grow plants from seed in the house with no other host plants, you
>might< never see any of them.  Insecticidal soap sprays are good against
whitefly, maybe spider mites. For mites and everything else, lightweight
horitultural oils rule. Ask in rec.gardens: you'll get as many opinions
as you do answers.
   Unless you've got only a very few not very leafy plants, you'll never
totally get rid of any of these, but on a seasonal/annual crop like tomato
you at least get to carefully destroy the old plants and start over.

> Pointers to web sites specializing in indoor growing are appreciated.

   You heard it, people. I mentioned in the post that spawned this one
that there are at least tens of thousands of printed pages in English
alone on this very subject, but I don't know diddly about websites.......





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