Living Room Lights Again - Tomato and Pepper

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I made a new grow rack for the living room.

This might devolve yet again into early indoor/outdoor tomato and pepper. But what I intend to do is prove out growing these plants to fruit, in the living room. In soil, under CFLs. Because I think a lot of people want to grow real tomatoes and real peppers indoors in winter. I've already proved out how to do cucumbers. And although everyone should prefer to grow cucumbers, like me! I've noticed that most seem to want tomatoes and peppers.

This topic has a companion Aerogarden (ish) grow of the tomato, started at the same time and grown hydroponically, a few feet away, thus pretty much same temperatures.

Harvests:

carmen pepper: 1 - first green 4/14 (more after it moved out of pen)
better bush tomato: 25 - first 3 on 5/8 (not quite ripe)

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Ginger
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At 6.5 weeks, I'd say the

At 6.5 weeks, I'd say the soil plants have overtaken the Aerogarden plant somewhat - soil tomato likely to bear fruit first. The first tomato blossom is open. Pepper also budding. But first carmen pepper flowers never bear fruit, in my experience.

    

Though never top-pruned, side lighting has encouraged sucker growth on both plants. They could move to their terminal sized pots, but they don't have to just yet.

Energy: this week, 1.16 kWh/day, or $1.49/week. Will add another light to the tomato soon.

Comparison AG tomato plant:

 

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Ginger
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Pepper and tomato both really

Pepper and tomato both really took off in their new pots, and both have first buds. Today added another 23W CFL sidelighting the tomato.

   

  

 

Electricity:  past week 0.77 kWh/day, or $0.99/week. Will probably rise to ~$1.35/week with new sidelight.

Comparison AG tomato:  no buds, I think. All its energy going into side vine growth.

 

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Ginger
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Awesome, Six! I hope you'll

Awesome, Six! I hope you'll show us what you come up with! Growing little peppers and dwarf tomatoes, seems to work fairly well in an Aerogarden. It's the big plants that definitely need bonus lighting (or a sunny windowsill). Otherwise they get kinda heartbreaking, since they keep stretching into the lights, and only bloom right there where they need to be pruned off. And the fruit that do form, won't ripen.

Well, also big plants need the reservoir dumped and refreshed every week, unless you want to baby them with pH and EC meters, fine-adjusting the mix.

Sounds like you know how to do lights, tho! 

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06vmi06 (not verified)
  Six is cool and it's

  Six is cool and it's typically not included in the wattage of the bulb. Trust me I do lighting layouts and power distribution for a living, though it should be, and there are ,any types of ballasts and what they can do if they are remote and not built in. 

 

I am just getting into aeroponic gardening and I have my two aerogardens to start I want to make my own setup to get some nice big hot pepper and tomato plants. I am getting all the info I can. 

 
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New digs today! Transplanted

New digs today! Transplanted both tomato and pepper to next sized pot, and hung spotlights - with increased pot radius, they can't share a bulb anymore.

  

  

  

Aerogarden tomato way taller. I see no reason to top-prune the soil tomato (it's too short), so their morphology will just keep diverging. Wanted to wait until the soil tomato got taller to transplant, for some more stem-burying. But it's just too short, and the little pot was full of roots, and 4.5 weeks is the right age, so  < shrug. >

 

These were under the "28W" bulb all week (which draws 34W, to the "20W"'s 28W - slightly more efficient.) Right now, I have no bulb in the middle hanging socket (need to go shopping), and a 26W spotlight on the tomato, and a 15W spotlight on the carmen pepper, both 6500K. Judging from their extreme not-stretching, they both had plenty of light before. Now they have more.

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Welcome, 06vmi06! Mind if we

Welcome, 06vmi06! Mind if we call you "Six" for short? 

Interesting, thanks! But on a CFL, the ballast is integrated into the device. So I think it's raw that they don't include the wattage of the entire device, it being indivisible.

But rather than a more powerful light, it's just a really inefficient ballast, huh? So much for buying the GE name brand...

I really ought to study up on this ballast business. I understand incandescent bulbs, but don't really grok what a ballast does.

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06vmi06 (not verified)
 The bulb is a 20w bulb but

 The bulb is a 20w bulb but depending on the efficiency of the ballast you could draw as much as 32 and all the way down to 22 on a 20 watt bulb. The 20 w is what the bulb takes then you add in a ballast factor. 

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Changes:  buried tomato's

Changes:  buried tomato's stem 2 days ago - soil with a bit of Tomatoes Alive! fertilizer. Would have liked the plant a bit taller first, but eh. The pepper is kinda yellow. Seedling nutes for that one... Will probably change out to a higher-watt bulb tomorrow night. Though the bulb it has now is actually drawing 28W, regardless of the 20W it said on the package.

  

AG age-mate to the tomato way ahead, for now:

 

Edit:  This week's lighting array took .47 kWh/day, or about 61 cents for the week, at local power rates of 18.4 cents per kWh.

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Ginger
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Pepper graduated to soil a

Pepper graduated to soil a few days ago. And a picture of the AG age-mate tomato for comparison. The soil tomato is a tad purplish. Watered it with seedling nutes to maybe help with that.

   

  

Edit:  The current arrangement uses .39 kWh/day, or about 50 cents a week at local power rates (18.4 cents per kWh).

Which is odd. Because the lightbulb claimed to be 20W, and it appears to be drawing 28 W.

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New experiment begins! I have

New experiment begins! I have my new grow rack. And a 1.5 week old Park's Better Bush tomato, started in a Park Starts block on an Aerogarden deck. This is a compact indeterminate (aka indeterminate short internode) plant. Which should fit comfortably in my rack, with the pepper. The companion carmen pepper just germinated yesterday. These are not randomly selected varieties...

   

20W 6500K full spectrum CFL, 14 hours a day. Tomato planted in Miracle grow potting mix, with a bit of extra perlite and dusting of lime. The second tomato seedling moved to a parallel AG Deluxe.

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