Preparing the space – Ed Rosenthal


No matter how large or small the gar­den, all of the plants’ needs must be met. Although techniques for deliver­ingthem may vary with garden size, the needs remain the same. The gardener’s duty is to provide his/her dependents with Light, Water, Carbon dioxide (C0Z) Nutrients,Temperature and Humidity.

Usually with an indoor garden, water and nutrients are amply provided. Providing optimum light, C0Z and satisfactory temperature and humidity, however, can be a more daunting task.

Starting the tiny garden

You may want to grow but think that you just have no space. However, even a tiny space such as a small closet, shelf, armoire or portable container can be converted into a garden.

As an example we will describe the con­version of a closet to a grow space. The closet has an area of 40x ZZ inches and is 80 inches high, divided into an upper and lower space. Each level is 880 In.Z; divided by 144 (ft.Z), it equals about 6 ft.Z. We are using only the lower shelf right now —with plans to use the upper shelf for an LED experiment in the near future.

If the space were to be run at a high tem­perature (80 degrees F+) and enriched with C0Z, it would be able to use the brightest light — 60 watts per ft.Z. We are going to run this garden space at a lower tempera­ture. C0Z will be supplied by exchange with the room air. Under these circumstances the plants would not be able to use 60 watts per ft.Z., only about 45-50. Both tem­peratureand more importantly C0Z are the limiting factors; a 400W air orwater-cooled HP5 lamp would not be a good lighting source — it would be overkill.

The garden temperature will stay in the mid to high 70’s and the C0Z will be kept close to atmospheric levels of about 380 ppm, with some C0Z supplementation using “Green Pads.’ Height is also a limita­tion to betaken into account.

Instead, the garden is lit using a combi­nation of lights including:

1.)         0ne 14watt LED square panel that uses 1 blue bulb for every red one;

2.)         Three 15watt LED blue spotlights;

3.)         0ne 15watt LED 2 to 1 red/blue spotlight;

4.)         0ne 24watt cool white compact fluo­rescent (CFL) mounted in a modified bowl reflector;

5.)         0ne 20watt cool white CFL mounted in a modified bowl reflector;

6.)         0ne 30watt cool white circle fluo­rescent with a homemade aluminum reflector;

7.)         Two 80watt cool white CFL with home-made aluminum foil reflectors.

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