Introduction: Indoor Tomato Grower

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hello everybody,

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update 9/14/2014 - bucket update

update 9/6/2014 - first picture updates have been posted in the comments section. looks like I have 21+ yellow flowers visible at the moment.

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i have been interested in growing a sustainable amount of tomatoes indoors for 2 adults, year round. how much space/time it will take per cycle etc.

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so instead of dreaming about it, I decided to do a small data collecting simulation. currently my system has 4 buckets in a 115x115x50cm space. I can add 4 more buckets without the size changing. I have this much space in my bedroom and also my living room available right now

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that would make 16 buckets going. If I can get 1 tomato per bucket and per day, that would make 16 tomatoes/day during harvest, a shorter harvest period. if I was to adjust planting times and reduce the number to something like 4 tomatoes/day but a longer harvest period, always aiming to year-round daily.. this system costs 0.13248cents/day X 365 days = $48/year to operate !

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seems possible with small imagination. if I can manage to pull this off in a 1 bedroom apartment with my wife and 2 cats, imagine what most people can do in an abandoned garage, a trashed room.... empty those places up and grow your own food :)

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My wife and I eat over 90% raw food, it is sometimes referred to as raw veganism. we eat mostly fruit. unfortunately it is not possible to grow bananas indoors, so I decided to concentrate on tomatoes, leafy greens and potato buckets. best things to grow indoors at this volume/space would be tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and leafy greens, you can try to do potato buckets...

Step 1: Plan & Gather Parts

we will need some length of wood, L brackets and bunch of screws... try to gather your materials for free !

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nothing fancy about the frame. I made an L shape frame, where the shorter leg of the L has two rows of wood to stabilize everything.

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and each bucket also has a socket base, with a y-splitter and 2 CFLs attached (4x 2700K and 2x 5000K). these CFLs are 100W equivalent and we have 6 of them. so this is actually a 600W (using only about 140W) grow system. it's not just a simple toy..

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lights are connected in parallel into a single AC cable. I found the cable from an old non-working electronic device.

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you also want to create some sort of a reflector roof. the roof also acts as a light blocker for your eyes. otherwise it will get annoyingly bright in your house. I made mine out of foam board. cardboard with foil on the other side will do fine !

Step 2: Extra Help

get a thermometer with a humidity reading, simple ones are about $2

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getting an automatic AC timer outlet is highly suggested.

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6 CFLs in such a small space will create lots of heat quickly. this will dry out your leaves even if they are far away. a small fan aimed at the lights will cool them down and replicate wind in nature, growing your plants stronger.

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smoke alarm as usual also remember to use a surge protecting extension cord, safety first !

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you can also install a plant doctor to this system and fully automate the process..

Step 3: Upgrades + Online Calendar

I started the tomato seedlings using the plant shelf. Now my plant shelf is nursing 3 lychee trees, lychee seeds were germinated under the life seeder. the seeds were bought from seedsnow.com a california based company that I am VERY happy with always 100% organic and non-gmo.. I don't use a regular water filter, if you want truly clean water you have to get a berkey , I am a very satisfied customer with this product as well. they sell the filters as parts, so you can actually make your own system for much cheaper - do not consume fluoride !

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I have created a "public online calendar" and have been manually logging the plants' activity. if you want to stay tuned and keep a track of the tomatoes with me then add this to your calendars.

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this is my first trial to collect data while I am working on a much more complicated system. soon it will be equipped with the plant health monitor

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the system will also eventually be getting garduino upgrade where I collect data to the cloud.

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thank you for your time and please share my designs.

love & peace

akin,

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