whodaman2454
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Basement garden zero sunlight

Hi I am interested in creating a small to medium basement garden. It is a finished basement with one window that is in a closet. The garden will see no natural sunlight at all, it will be 100% inside my basement at all times. The main things i would like to grow are tomatoes and strawberries, if there are other fruits that can survive probably those also. Some veggies will probably come later. Is this going to be possible? I was going to get some shop lights with t8 6500k flourescent bulbs. Can I get away without using all sorts of expensive equipment/lights?
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!potatoes!
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finished = heated, i hope....

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rainbowgardener
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Check out the winter indoor tomatoes thread going on here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=279410&highlight=winter+tomato#279410

We have a couple of our long term members growing (and ripening!) tomatoes under lights this winter. I think in both those cases the plants are in front of windows and are also getting natural light. But I think the majority of the light they are getting is from the artificial light and I'm not sure how important the natural light is in the process -- Applestar, gixx, want to weigh in here?

I start tons of plants from seeds in my basement in late winter- early spring with only fluorescent tubes/ shop lights and no natural lighting. But those just get well started for transplanting outdoors later. That is very different from leaving something under the lights and getting it to set fruit and ripen.
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whodaman2454
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!potatoes! wrote:finished = heated, i hope....
Oh yes, very heated. I would be setting myself up for further failure without that. When I say failure I mean more odds not in my favor.

At the very least I expet to be able to maintain plants, not fruit bearing plants just plants. Don't get me wrong my goal is for fruit bearing plants but fruit will be a bonus and if I only get fruitless plants I will "give" them away to someone who can transplant them and pat myself on the back for the effort, then try once more using a different method in which I'm going to keep to myself for now :? because I've never heard of anyone trying it this way so hopefully the first attempt goes well.
Totally new to this. 25 years of never liking dirt or mud. Here we go!

whodaman2454
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[quote="rainbowgardener"]Check out the winter indoor tomatoes thread going on here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=279410&highlight=winter+tomato#279410

Yes I had seen this one before I posted and wasn't sure if I should expect the same results because they have two things going for them natural sun and the fact that they had been outside toughing up.

I have two way's I would like to try, maybe I should just try them both at the same time and see which works better/best/not at all.
Totally new to this. 25 years of never liking dirt or mud. Here we go!

Dillbert
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I had a south facing single glass pane greenhouse.
I had fluorescent lights at head level+

results: not good except for spinach, lettuce - i.e. leaf crops.
tomatoes, beans, cukes - did not do well.

plants get their energy to grown, blossom, fruit from light.
what the human eyeball perceives as "good / strong light" does not cut the mustard in the plant world.

you'll find mention of hanging lights 2-3 inches over the tops of plants.
problem: light energy diminishes by the square of the distance.
so light energy at 4 inches is 25% of light energy from two inches.
six inches? one ninth.

my experience with "the best natural light available" is dismal - winter light is just not strong enough for most of the flowering / fruiting vegetables.

one approach is hanging the light horizontal above and close to the plants.
another approach is a small "box" with a plant-in-pot and vertical (fluorescent) tubes.

the whole deal revolves around how much trouble and expense one is willing to undergo to get a red tomato in February.

and doing it "spot on 100%" isn't cheap.

fluorescent / incandescent / halide / sodium LP&HP l/ LED ights - all that stuff is readily available.

however, hanging a four ft long 'shop light' over 2-3 tomato plants is likely not to work out in a stellar fashion - with or without a window in the basement.

if one is intent on duplicating the strength of summer sunlight, it's not entirely simple. a mix of 50-50 warm white and cool white fluorescent bulbs will get you very close in terms of spectrum, but spectrum and "light energy delivered to the leaf" are two totally different issues.

DoubleDogFarm
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the whole deal revolves around how much trouble and expense one is willing to undergo to get a red tomato in February.

and doing it "spot on 100%" isn't cheap.
I know experimenting is to learn and have fun, but I have to agree with Dillbert.

Eric

whodaman2454
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Dillbert wrote:I had a south facing single glass pane greenhouse.
I had fluorescent lights at head level+

results: not good except for spinach, lettuce - i.e. leaf crops.
tomatoes, beans, cukes - did not do well.

plants get their energy to grown, blossom, fruit from light.
what the human eyeball perceives as "good / strong light" does not cut the mustard in the plant world.

you'll find mention of hanging lights 2-3 inches over the tops of plants.
problem: light energy diminishes by the square of the distance.
so light energy at 4 inches is 25% of light energy from two inches.
six inches? one ninth.

my experience with "the best natural light available" is dismal - winter light is just not strong enough for most of the flowering / fruiting vegetables.

one approach is hanging the light horizontal above and close to the plants.
another approach is a small "box" with a plant-in-pot and vertical (fluorescent) tubes.

the whole deal revolves around how much trouble and expense one is willing to undergo to get a red tomato in February.

and doing it "spot on 100%" isn't cheap.

fluorescent / incandescent / halide / sodium LP&HP l/ LED ights - all that stuff is readily available.

however, hanging a four ft long 'shop light' over 2-3 tomato plants is likely not to work out in a stellar fashion - with or without a window in the basement.

if one is intent on duplicating the strength of summer sunlight, it's not entirely simple. a mix of 50-50 warm white and cool white fluorescent bulbs will get you very close in terms of spectrum, but spectrum and "light energy delivered to the leaf" are two totally different issues.
Great info. Exactly what I needed to hear! My first thoughts were I was going to have to spend some decent money but know I'll up my budget a bit. My goal is to give the best first shot I can so there's no "what if".

Another thing I may do is start some leaf crops so during the span of waiting everything won't be a total loss. Thank you again.
Totally new to this. 25 years of never liking dirt or mud. Here we go!

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ReptileAddiction
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You could try doing instead of 1 or 2 lights do like 4. And then you could get some fluorescent coil bulbs with normal sockets pointed down at an angle to give them more light especially to the lower leaves.

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