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Indoor Gardening

Opinions are mixed about having indoor gardens in one room or several small rooms. An idea is to plan to rotate lighting through several rooms thereby providing cyclic periods of light and dark without shutting down the lights. This would work but may be impractical as power generation and usage would remain relatively constant and the lights would burn out sooner from constant usage. An advantage to this approach is that fewer light fixtures will be needed.

It has been suggested that you need 170 sq. feet of growing space to feed one person year-round. That's assuming ideal growing conditions, a limited growing season, and storage of harvested food for later consumption. Indoor growing has no seasonal limitations, though you will need to emulate seasons to a certain extent to force blooming and reproduction in some plants. You could grow food pretty much continuously, so less space will be needed per person. I'm not aware of any concrete studies of space requirements per person considering constant production. I personally plan to have at least 400 sq. feet of space to feed a group of 6 to 8 people. We will also be planning on harvesting what food is available outdoors in the post pole shift environment (animal, plant, whatever).

If you're planning on using container type indoor gardening you will need a room with enough height for your tallest plants plus the space needed for your lighting system. Normal room height should be enough for most plants, but what if you decide to grow a dwarf fruit tree? 2.4 meters won't be enough. Of course a tree will require far more space than will be practical. A few of us have been discussing the use of a parabolic ceiling design to help reduce the amount of lighting necessary. This ceiling would be covered with mylar and a light source would be placed in the center. This idea is still under development, but you get the picture. If you're planning on building a dome structure, the easiest solution is to plan on growing in the top level under the parabolic ceiling. You will need to be certain of the strength of the floor in this top level as the container garden will be quite heavy.

Humidity concerns haven't been addressed as of yet. My greenhouse dome is quite humid and I would imagine that an indoor growing area would also be. This humidity can be vented, but if you're using the top level for your growing area, you could circulate the heat and humidity throughout the lower levels. Humid air holds more heat (and cools faster) than dry air.

Offered by Roger.