Indoor Tomatoes (grow lights)

I'd like to try and see it CAN be done, but looking for advice from someone who has done it.
I have a nice 400w HPS and MH lamp and a great place to grow -- would like to try some tomatoes indoors this winter.
Specifically, what I'd really like to know are the easiest varieties for these these conditions -- something medium size, not timy tim's or any cherry tomatoes.
Any help? Thank you.
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mkr5000 wrote:

Look for a variety called "Patio". Good luck, you'll need it. :-)
-Bob
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Thanks Bob -- that bad huh?
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mkr5000 wrote:

The environment inside a house in winter is very much different compared to outside in the summer. Humans adapt by adding/shedding clothes and your eyes adapt to the light conditions. You have to get the temperature high enough as well as getting enough light. Also many bugs, fungi and other pests thrive indoors. It is going to be a challenge if you want good fruit and probably consume quite a bit of electricity.
D
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Grow some marijuana to go with it. It is much more profitable, and even if the tomatos don't turn out right, you won't care. ;-) Lots of states are allowing now for home growers. And if you already have the stuff .....................
PS: The secret is getting good seeds. Or so I have been told...............
Steve
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I tried bringing plants in from outside, hot peppers, disaster, the bugs also came in.
Greg
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I know somebody who grew hydroponic tomatoes in basement. Was going to do it commercially, but never did. Some spices and herbs might be more profitable. CFLsI will work on most plants, with the lamps near the plants.
Greg
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Let me ask something else then.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to build a greenhouse this fall, something small but it will get plenty of light.
You said Patio is a good variety for indoors -- what are varieties that are well suited for a greenhouse?
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There are some very interesting comments so far but no, growing indoors under lights is not difficult. Bit more involved than sticking a plant in the ground and watering it. Actually much easier when you have actually run a crop or two under the system and understand the requirements. You have to know your plant and the environment. In a previous post I recommended Dr H. Resh, he has some good starter books on Hydro Toms that covers lighting. Much more is available on the Internet. Take most w/ a grain of salt like you would here, much is pure myth or growing Toms is often code for the Pot Culture.
Look up the law of inverse square, 1/distance sq. It is important for you to know and understand this. your 400 is good for an area ~ 4x4ft @ a good plant height ~ 1 to 3 ft above your plant as it grows. You need about 25w per sq ft where it will actually counts yet If the back of your hand at plant height is hot your too close. Move it upas it grows. Best to try determinate vice indeterminate and have a good support system.
Know watts, lumens & footcandles, They are the best we can equate to plant needs for now. Pruning is good to get light to the inner plant.
A GOOD fertilizer plan is also important, especially for an indoor grow , You can certainly use "organoferts" ( inside joke there) but w/ some the smell is a bit much. Regardless, do think about what and how to use a nutrient schedule. Its ignorant sense to pile up a bunch of crap in a pot and hope all the essential elements will be available for the plant to use when it need them.
As for dragging outside dirt inside? I never, never recommend it. If soil is used at all find a good soil mix you can be reasonably assured is pest free. Soilless is much better but a bit more than most gardeners can wrap their head around or want to.
Ensure you have ventilation to dump waste heat and a fan to strengthen the plant.
Of the two types you have, the HPS ( red spectrum) is the better, and you really should use it when flowering. I've seen plants grow full cycle just using the HPS. Watch for spindly plants w/ MH and again, ensure you fertilize well but not excessive.
Understand the terms; day short, day neutral and day long, Go with Day long (~ 12-16 hrs a day)light when the plants start to come up to a good height.
Cfl for flowering plants? Can be done, just not very well with the little toy CFLs you buy at the local WalMart store. get around > 85 w ( 300 equal) then your talking. You have the Horsepower, use it. yet
any other ???s....ask I will get back to ya with a real answer.
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Wow -- thanks very much. I'm re-encouraged to try indoors -- besides, the learning process is a big part of it.
I'll get that book right away.
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What about the pollinating part? Do some varieties (Patio for example) self pollinate?
Can a gentle fan breeze help pollination or do the trick?
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mkr5000 wrote:

Tomatos are wind pollinated, you may need to shake the plants.
D
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Gunner wrote: ...

yes, how much do those tomatoes cost per pound.
songbird
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I dont know how many fingers am I holding up, Bird? Still trying to make a billy salad with all those apples and oranges you guys have left over.
I wouldnt know how much it will cost him to grow his tomatoes, now would I? I am not the clairvoyant Shamanista. Now we both know this is the same propaganda trick billy uses all the time. its almost like your birds of a feather ;). Now I dont think youre really wanting an answer but lets run with this for a bit and see where it goes.
If you are looking for the cost of electricity for a 400w light, my monthly cost for a 400w @ 14 hrs a day is ~ $18 a month. If you want to cost lighting for a specific project and you know what your paying :try http://www.sunlightsupply.com/t-faq.aspx or www.sunlightsupply.com ... quest. 8.
BTW dont know of many folks using lights in the summer , but for the other 9 1/2 months of my growing season, its a small cost of having a 12 month season or even for a season stretcher of 2-3 months and its priceless. I use an 85 w. 6500k CFL or a pair of 10$ shop lights w/ some cool whites depending on the crop for starters, stagger them out so there is a small cost there to stagger. Pumps are low energy, now I do use a few air pumps @ 3-10 w ea. , a 100w aquarium heater for one of the systems (much easier than heating the house) and 2 x 20 box fans. Say 25-30$US a month in energy. but my energy cost is very reasonable. Now my labor is less in my CEA than in dirt gardening. so tit for tat. Your mileage however, may vary. If they are piping in sunlight along with your electricity, your cost per unit could be expensive and this would not be for you, especially for those unable to get outside the billy et al mind set of one size fits all. Oh yea my water costs are very low also, yet I dont need but perhaps a 10th of what you will waste. And it very good water, almost a neutral pH. Real easy on a hydro system. But we are on the subject of lighting and not hydro. Yet if you want to ask a specific question on hydroponics, I will answer those ???s also
Dont know what your supply costs are nor your labor, water, tools, fertilizers, etc. Probably should include the gardens as a portion of the mortgage? what do you figure is your cost per unit is, bird? Throw out your figures and I will compare apples to apples w/ ya. As a side interest how fast can you produce a crop? a quick little hydro propaganda:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhvnJpJu18c

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Gunner wrote:

i'm holding up ten over the keyboard.

no, i really do want an answer.
rough guessing, my costs for raising tomatoes this year is about $0.10/lb, after considering the other expenses and costs of canning i'd guess it at about $0.20/lb.

sure, some people use lights to start their crops early and they use heating pads to keep the temperature good for growing and they use fans to keep the air circulating and they have to have extra heat if the space isn't normally heated.
all of this adds to the costs of raising the crop and all of this adds to the electrical demand that has to be met somehow.
each of the lights and lightbulbs have to be manufactured and then later disposed of. same with the fan, heating pads, trays, etc.
if you are using a greenhouse that is a possible large expense, if you are using a spare room in the house then that means you have a larger house that you are building, keeping up, paying for, etc.
so even more demand made upon the world's resources of which some are renewable and others are not.
still i think it is a rather high cost compared to having seeds and putting them in the ground at the right time and then taking care of them.
the taste isn't comparable. so getting a worse result for a higher price. that's making a lot of sense (for the sellers of lights, greenhouses, pumps, electricity, bigger houses, etc).

lucky for you, but those costs are not accurate as they are not covering accumulated environmental damage (mercury poisoning, CO2, mining costs, habitat loss, species extinctions, etc) or the coming effects of losing 20something meters or more as the sea levels rise (all around the world). that's millions of people to move, all that infrastructure that will have to be rebuilt or expanded. all that land that will no longer be available for farming... trillions of dollars wasted. people don't think of it that way do they? all those highways built that will be useless. all the subways flooded. cities lost. buildings eroded away. it makes me shake my head at the stupidity of it all.

sure does. my labor for the tomato patches is very minimal. five minutes of weeding a week, thirty minutes to water when the rains aren't coming, a few minutes a day scanning for worms, lately we are spending more time picking than anything else.

one size doesn't fit all, but my concern isn't about size fitting but about environmental cost per unit raised. that is the ultimate evaluation that must be made. i'm not burning any extra electricity to get this crop to harvest, i'm using locally generated composts or materials that i'm getting for free or growing green manures and using them on the gardens so i'm not contributing to CO2 buildup for the crop either.

we have pretty good water here too. if i ever get a chance to set up a rainwater catch and gravity feed i'll do that too as it is even better for the gardens and wouldn't need any pumping.

no cost for fertilizer, labor is free as is my time, water costs minimal, tools not much for those most the time, i tend to buy the heavy duty kind so something like my pruning sheers or the shovel lasts ten or more years. the rest of various costs are included in my estimate below.

i gave mine up top: $0.20/lb after canning.
the mortgage is not too bad, taxes suck but it could be a lot worse, the house is small so we don't have much for heat or cooling expenses.
87120sq ft (2 acres), of which 600 is tomatoes. we'll get anywhere from 200-600lbs of tomatoes by the looks of it this season (being conservative at the low end because we've already picked over 100lbs already and there is plenty more out there).
doing the quick math i come up with $55.09 including mortgage, taxes, electricity and heat for the year. so to divy it up by lb of tomato that comes in between $0.28 and $0.09 per lb. (which is pretty funny considering my first guess of $0.20/lb was a very quick guess). i could reduce that instantly by 2/5 but i keep getting over- ruled (i want to pay off the mortgage and she doesn't :) ).
crop goes from planting to first harvest in about 60-70 days and then will continue producing for another 25-40 days -- of course tapering off as the weather cools. the last harvest will be green if i can pick them before the frost damages them (but i didn't include that amount in the above total estimate anyways because they need additional processing or ingredients to put them up).
so i think that about covers it. long day, bedtime...
songbird
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2 words:
Bull shit
and it is not free nor is labor.
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Gunner wrote:

it? what is it? yes, my labor is free. i send out no bills to myself nor do i collect any from myself. being retired is a good thing.
i knew if i put up you would shut up.
QED, gunner is the one BSing here.
songbird
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Same gunny, same results.
--
- Billy
Both the House and Senate budget plan would have cut Social Security and
  Click to see the full signature.
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his fellow communist version of how we must live for the good of all :

as usual billy... you pack 10 lbs of bullshit in a 3 lb bag.
( The usual commie BS propaganda snipped)
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Really, what the hell did you put up Poly? You lost me when you qued the music "WE ARE THE WORLD". However the real buzz kill was the ignorant comments of "My house was too big for me to live in if I have space to grow. That may be the poly commune redbook version of life, yet you waffle like a billy.
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