Year Round Residential Inside Grow Systems
Growing food year round from a residential location can be challenging if you do not have the proper facilities laid out to accomplish the task. To do so we want to implement a three phase system for growing 365 days a year.
Phase 1 – Germination Room.
The Germination Room should be an inside, environmentally controlled space with as few household living disturbances as possible. This small germination facility should contain, heat mats, fans, sufficient grow lights and a way to hang them above, a table, seed starting trays (whichever method you prefer), and of course some excellent soil. See Living Soil Recipe for how to make your own soil.
At Foodscape we use seed planting trays or 1 quart pots full of soil. No fancy plug trays. Just soil and seeds in a plastic tray to contain the water. One the seeds are planted and watered we cover the trays with plastic covers supplied or with saran wrap to keep the moisture in until the seeds start popping. Once the seeds start sprouting, it’s time to remove the saran wrap or plastic cover and start blowing some wind on the new seedlings. The wind will strengthen the plant stalks and dry out your soil as it blows across the trays.
Its important to water twice a day if your wind is drying out your plants. Once the majority of seedlings have popped, it’s time to take them to the next stage. The Hardening Greenhouse.
Phase 2 – The Hardening Greenhouse.
At Foodscape, in our residential backyard, we have a 10′ x 12′ hardening greenhouse. This greenhouse is outside, the walls are thin, and it requires sufficient heat to keep the ambient temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (ideally). We use two radiating heaters. A heat dish and an old style oil radiator are used for winter heating overnight, with an additional propane heater to boost the temps manually on extra cold nights.
We have several shelves in the hardening greenhouse where we pack together trays of plants that have been singled out for growth in a pot and eventual sale or transplant into the family food production greenhouse or into the outside garden.
Phase 3 – Family Food Production Greenhouse
The primary greenhouse should be a larger facility exclusively dedicated to growing the best and brightest plants from your hardening greenhouse into a steady supply of fresh produce for your family. My yard will house one more greenhouse on my 1/8th of an acre of space. My greenhouse will be (it’s not built yet) 10′ x 20′.
My goal with the production greenhouse is to create a massive and effective insulation factor to avoid outrageous heating fuel or electricity expenses. This will be done with thick walled design, high quality windows (maybe triple pane for triple the financial pain lol) to keep the heat from leaking out. For winter production we will be shooting for 70 degrees and above minimum temperature so we can grow warm crops like tomatoes and peppers all winter long.
Having all three of these facilities up and running will allow a diligent gardener to continuously spin out plants for hardening and for full production. Obviously this availability of plants would make sense to sell to others who are also gardening 365 days a year and we want to encourage this mindset for gardeners all over our neighborhoods, cities and towns.