Timtogrow
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Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:03 pm

Newbie-How much container/light for tomatoes and cucumbers?

Hi all, I'm completely new to the hydro way, but excited about it. I'm weighing options between investing in lighting to get started right away, or wait (through the long midwest winter) and do it outside next summer.

Would a a combination 600W HPS and MH light kit be sufficient to be able to grow up to 4 containers using DWC method? I could build a grow box to capture/reflect the light.

Not sure what size containers I need. I want to buy food-grade containers to ensure I don't have the potential for bad chemicals leaching into the veggies. I think I've seen 3.5 gallon and 5 gallon buckets on Amazon somewhere. Obviously the smallest containers that still fit the plants would allow for the most plants, right?

One last question. My basement seems to stay at 70 degrees F pretty much year round. Will I have heat concerns with a single 600-W HPS/MH light setup?

Thanks for any input and help!

rj5300
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Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:22 pm

Re: Newbie-How much container/light for tomatoes and cucumbe

You can get food grade 5 gallon buckets at Lowes/Home Depot with a lid for under $5 each. I wouldn't bother getting the 3 or smaller size if you want big plants. Food grade is more label than anything - 99% of home hydro systems run in storage containers that aren't marked food safe. Just remember to scrub anything you get real good - lots of nasty stuff lives in stores and UPS trucks... scrub it outside or well away from your garden setup as not to introduce anything new and deadly in there.

There are some charts you can find googling about light distance and wattage and what you need for flowering plants. If you're temp is 70 already, depending on the size of your basement a 600w light might get it pretty warm. You will have an oscillating fan on the plants already, but you might need a light with a optional fan-driven cooler to move the hot air away in order to get the lights close enough to the plant. You could also do t5 or t8 fluorescent mounted vertically (top to bottom kinda thing) towards the top of your plants for supplemental lighting. You can use a mix of 6400 (vegetative) and 3k (more towards flowering) bulbs. Don't buy fancy grow tubes - home depot stuff will work as long as its the right color temp.

Don't forget that with flowering fruit plants like a tomato, you have to perform the bee-duties yourself.

good luck

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Newbie-How much container/light for tomatoes and cucumbe

I don't do hydro, so can't speak to that. Re the pollination issues, if you get that far: tomatoes are basically self pollinating. With a fan on them, they might not need anything else. Otherwise, they might need a bit of shaking/ vibrating to loosen the pollen. The cucumbers are dependent on bees for pollination. They have male and female flowers and the bees bring the pollen from one to the other. So you would have to hand pollinate them. Not hard and there are lots of instructions on line about it. But all that is a long ways down the road. Cucumbers seem pretty ambitious for indoor hydro. Look for bush varieties, otherwise you would have an issue of how to keep light on all parts of a 6' long vine. Even so the bush cucumbers are pretty big plants occupying maybe 3 square feet.

Peppers stay more compact! And carrots take up hardly any room at all. :) I think lettuce and salad greens are what is most commonly grown hydroponically.
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