Vegetables and Fruit forum: Questions for You Vegetable Gardeners

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BeerGardenGuy
Nov 7, 2017 10:18 PM CST
Hi folks,

I've been working to solve my own problems by developing a new gardening system for myself. Now, I'm thinking that others must have the same problems and some of you might be looking for a similar solution. Would any of you expert gardeners out there be willing to answer a few questions for me, to let me know if I'm on the right track?

1. What are the reasons, if any, that you do not garden more than you currently do?
2. Do space limitations prevent you from gardening?
3. Do weather limitations prevent you from gardening?
4. Have you attempted indoor gardening? Why or why not?
5. What appeals to you about the potential of indoor gardening?
6. What does not appeal to you about the potential of indoor gardening?
7. Are you familiar with hydroponics?
8. Would you consider hydroponics for gardening indoors? Please explain why.
9. Do you enjoy the sound of running water, similar to that of a water fountain? Would you enjoy having that sound in a living area in your home?
10. How much would you be willing to pay for a system that grows 20 plants, knowing that hydroponics does require some work/effort.

Thanks so much!
BeerGardenGuy
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Nov 8, 2017 8:36 AM CST
I garden all year round indoors and outdoors.
Hydroponics does not really interest me.
I have to have real soil !

I was turned off of hydroponics because of an offensive sales person at the Calgary Garden Show, when I volunteered there one year .
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Nov 8, 2017 4:18 PM CST
I am good friends with a nurseryman who grew tomatoes commercially using hydroponics. He did this for several years and because of no return on expenses, he ceased operation. His set-up was top-notch and very professional and he scrapped the whole thing.

My gardening year begins in February and goes until frost, usually October. That is plenty of gardening and I am ready for a rest for a couple of months.
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plantmanager
Nov 8, 2017 4:21 PM CST
I was once exposed to a very nice hydroponic setup, but although the veggies grew, they grew better in soil. They were trying lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, etc. All of the veggies grew much better in soil and produced much more.
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ctcarol
Nov 8, 2017 6:01 PM CST
Lack of space, indoors as well as out, weather outdoors, and lack of taste pretty much covers it for me on the negative side. Also, the only reason to get out and get some kind of exercise and see what's going on in the world. Fresh air is not bad for you.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Nov 8, 2017 6:13 PM CST
I am a fair weather gardener - not too hot, too cold, too rainy, or too windy. So I suppose weather limits me. But, on the other hand, I have other interests and hobbies that I do when not outside, so I don't feel particularly deprived. I have no personal interest in hydroponics, although I do admire the technology. I went to a pizza house a while back who had an interesting hydroponics system in place for growing some of the herbs they use, and it made for a cool focal feature. Good luck with your venture.
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BeerGardenGuy
Nov 8, 2017 9:36 PM CST
I really appreciate everyone's feedback so far. Thanks so much and keep it coming!
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Nov 8, 2017 10:25 PM CST
At one time , I was going to grow lettuce hydroponically in plastic rain gutters. I think that I still have them under my back porch.

I do grow some veges in a semi hydroponic system.
One tomatoe, that I grow, likes moist conditions so I grow it in containers which sit in deep basins. I then water and fertilize in the basins. (Sophie's Choice tomato)
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Nov 13, 2017 9:24 AM CST
My perception,
Indoor gardening sounds tempting to the average non gardener.
My educated guess is that the ads and articles I have seen WAY over-rate the yield one would get with indoor food gardening. I have never tried it. I use the outside as much as possible, and when I can't be outside I resort to hobbies or housecleaning- kind of good to be forced to balance that way.
Light may be the biggest underrated limiting factor to indoor food gardening. People mostly think plants can survive with too little light, and to grow fast and yield food, they would really need high light.

I don't see most indoor setups as long term success. Because they are bought by non-gardeners who won't appreciate the long term attention needed. But that doesn't mean they should not have the chance to try. They could be a good educational tool so students really appreciate what it takes to feed oneself.
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BeerGardenGuy
Nov 16, 2017 10:18 PM CST
Thank you, Sally. I agree that sometimes indoor gardeners overestimate the ease and the yield associated with growing. However, by using vertical space, you can certainly grow a lot more per square foot than with regular gardening. Also, you may be familiar with the aerogarden. This product was actually developed by NASA (or at least the concept was), and NASA determined tomatoes, for example, grew 3x faster during their first month when grown aeroponically. So, I agree that people may think it is too easy or too simple. BUT, there is a LOT of potential. And I'm interested in creating a product because 20% of Americans live in apartments and condos and 60% of us live in multi-unit homes. So, gardening space is rare. And there are many, I believe, who would want to share that experience with their friends and family, even if some effort (and lighting) is involved.

I do thank you for your feedback though. It is honest feedback that I'm looking for, and it was perfect. But please, get your cat some help. He/she may need to enroll in a sober living facility ;)
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Nov 17, 2017 6:30 AM CST
teee hee!

I'm actually tempted now to throw some lettuce seed in a pot for my workplace. High shelves close to lights have the tropicals doing pretty well.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 17, 2017 10:00 AM CST
I've been following this thread and thinking about it since the question was originally posted by BeerGardenGuy. Like pretty much everyone else that has replied here, I'm a dedicated "dirt gardener," but I live in a rural area and have plenty of space for growing stuff outdoors (despite my fairly short growing season, which I extend with various structures).

That said, I think there is great potential for indoor hydroponic-type setups, if they are an attractive addition to the living space and affordable for the average person. I'm not so sure that growing larger plants like tomatoes would appeal to most people, but certainly salad greens and herbs would be do-able in a relatively small space. Although you can also grow those indoors in more traditional planters, there's the issue of fungus gnats and such. I had a small Aerogarden at one time and thought the concept was great but the one I had was extremely noisy. Right now I'm considering setting up a small "aquaponic" system as a winter project, using a 10-gallon aquarium that I already have; I think the combination of tropical fish in an aquarium and salad greens growing in a container above that could be a pretty interesting addition to our sunroom.

A couple of negative aspects in my mind would be the noise level (a little gurgling is okay), and maybe the brightness of the lighting that would be needed, especially in some larger type of unit such as a "tower."

BeerGardenGuy, there is also a forum here for "Gardening in Apartments" ( https://garden.org/forums/view... ); the people there might be able to provide additional insight about what they would like about growing indoors hydroponically. Smiling
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mom2goldens
Nov 17, 2017 9:08 PM CST
Interesting questions. I do grow both indoors and outdoors, and have dabbled in hydroponics. I grow about 1000 plant every spring for our master gardener plant sale; mostly herbs and veggies that go into 3-5" pots. These are all are grown in potting mix under grow lights. During the winter, I experiment in hydroponics for greens and herbs. My systems are homemade, using a 5 gallon bucket and a heavy-duty tote, each of with are outfitted with a submersible pump and a spray head. I use net pots and start my seeds in rock wool.....My main problem is I need taller lights/shelves for my hydroponics. I hesitate to change my current set-up because of all of the plants I need to start in the spring for our plant sale.

1. What are the reasons, if any, that you do not garden more than you currently do? Lack of time
2. Do space limitations prevent you from gardening? Yes, along with a picky homeowners association. I live on a small suburban lot.
3. Do weather limitations prevent you from gardening? I live in the midwest, so we do have winter when we cannot garden outdoors.
4. Have you attempted indoor gardening? Why or why not? Yes, but I am limited on the space under my grow lights
5. What appeals to you about the potential of indoor gardening? I love growing fresh herbs and greens; I wish I had more space to grow some larger veggies
6. What does not appeal to you about the potential of indoor gardening? DIfficulty managing environment--humidity (or lack of), lack of airflow without additional fans, limited space; more opportunity for disease, etc. to spread
7. Are you familiar with hydroponics? Yes, somewhat
8. Would you consider hydroponics for gardening indoors? Please explain why. I do hydroponics on a limited scale
9. Do you enjoy the sound of running water, similar to that of a water fountain? Would you enjoy having that sound in a living area in your home? My hydroponics unit are in my basement; would not be happy in my living area
10. How much would you be willing to pay for a system that grows 20 plants, knowing that hydroponics does require some work/effort. Depends upon size of units; homemade units can be made very inexpensively, although not very attractive.
[Last edited by mom2goldens - Nov 17, 2017 9:22 PM (+)]
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