- 3 two bulb 4' long shop lights $60
- 6 fluorescent tubes, T8 4' 32 Watts $21
- 10 five gallon plastic bucket $23
- 30 feet of chain (to hold the lights) $ 8
- 2 cubic feet of peat moss $10
Altogether it came to $129 bucks with tax. More than I had intended to spend, but I rationalize that this is one time startup costs. And I'll probably have the shop lights the rest of my life, so half of the cost is a long term investment. Figure once it gets going it'll just be replacing bulbs and occasionly replacing the soil. And I may just use compost for that, so even cheaper. Of course the cost of running the lights will be something, but hopefully small compared to the startup costs.
Still to buy, Perlite and Vermiculite for the soil. The recipe I found was 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite. Will add in a little lime to prevent blossom end rot which apparently plagues indoor gardeners more than our cousins on the surface world. Will have to fertilize regularly, I'm still thinking about that.
Also purchased some seeds yesterday. For the first effort I thought I'd see what types of tomatoes grow well with this set up and also which type we like the best. The plan is to have 10 plants growing at once. So I picked up seeds for:
- Early Girl Hybrid
- Steak Sandwich Hybrid
- Super Sweet 100 Hybrid (cherry)
- Summer Choice
- Big Boy Hybrid
- Red Cherry, Large Fruited
- Super Beefsteak
- Roma VF
I may see if I can get two other types before I set out the seeds. I would like to try some heirloom varieties, but they didn't have anything locally, and I want to get started. A grape tomato would be nice in the mix too. I'm probably going to hit a garden center or two today or tomorrow and see if they have anything different, may swap some of the ones I have out if I can find some interesting varieties. I probably also have seeds to Brandywine and Rutgers from last year, but I'm not going to use those. Brandywine were beautiful tomatoes, but they produced very little fruit in the garden last year. I want to have plenty of tomatoes, so Brandywine is out. Rutgers were prolific and the tomatoes themselves were HUGE, but there was just something about them that did not appeal to me. So trying some different varieties. The packets cost on average $2 each, but I had the Roma onhand from my earlier above-ground gardening, so add $14 to the expenses thus far (new total - $143). This is getting a little pricey, but again, more than half of the expense is for hardware that will last a lifetime, so I feel less bad.
Next step: setting up the basement.