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Indoor Gardening Consultant in the ABQ/Santa Fe Area

I hope this is not too off-topic.

Does anyone know of an indoor gardening consultant who can help us design a 2,000 sq. ft. space for raising vegetables? The extreme dry winds in New Mexico have decimated our 500-600 seedling crop.

We need someone who can help us find and place the correct lighting and configure the layout.

With climate change we are experiencing longer and longer windy seasons. What used to last about six weeks now lasts about 12 weeks and the little seedlings, when placed outside, can't hold up to 50-60 mph winds.

Thank you.

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  1. Perhaps contact your county extension service.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      I just sent them a note too. They are very helpful but this may be a tough one.

      Thank you.

    2. I read an article recently about an Abq school hiring a horticulturist named Kelly Bull to help plan their student schoolyard garden. I bookmarked her FB page after reading it because she sounded interesting. Don't know anything about her beyond the article, but she might be worth a call: https://www.facebook.com/KellyBullGar...

      Another old article that might help (seems to list several horticulturist and gardening consultants' names): http://www.abqjournal.com/homes/garde...

      You might want to try asking at Soilutions, too. They'd probably know anyone doing that kind of work here.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ninrn

        Thanks so much, nin. I will look into these resources and give Walter a call at Soilutions. Great idea--he knows everybody.

      2. I used to have a nice indoor gardening space, but it was only like 5-600 sq ft. Ran 6 high pressure sodium lights @1000 watts each. Had multiple AC's, room was airtight and generated C02 for the plants by burning propane. I wasn't growing vegetables though. But I do know a lot about indoor gardening, I could probably answer some basic questions for you about airflow, lights, atmospheric control, watering systems, what to look for in a space, etc.

        3 Replies
        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

          Wow. That's quite amazing, Eat. Thank you so much. I will keep this in mind as we do our research. We know what we're doing outside (or did before all this climate change), but indoors is a whole other thing. We do have propane here that fuels my Aga range.

          I don't know anything about high pressure sodium lights but will tell my DH. He is a high-end techie guy and does some lighting installation, but this is a new area for us.

          1. re: sandiasingh

            What is your space like
            What are the dimensions?
            Are the floors concrete?
            What kind of materials is the structure made out of?
            Is the structure insulated?
            Is it wired for 220 volt power?

            You may be better off simply starting plants inside and finishing them outside.

            Not sure you'd actually need HPS lights, they are expensive to operate and they require a lot of other gear to use correctly (ventilation, vent fans, ducting, hoods, ballasts, light control units etc). There are other options like T5's or Fluorescent lights which are far cheaper. I was growing plants that require a lot more light than most vegetables though so I only have experience with HPS and MH lights. The only places I've used fluorescent lights is for the first 3-6 weeks after the plants come out of the ground/growing medium.

            In any case, I'm interested to see what happens with this project.

            Here are two of the major distributors of indoor agricultural gear:

            As far as watering goes, I'd use some sort of automated drip system.

            I'd go talk to the folks at your local hydroponic or indoor gardening store. I've found that their expertise more than justifies their higher prices than ordering online. They will definitely be able to help you out.

            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

              Good questions, Eat. And thank you for the links. They will be very helpful.

              The challenge with this project is the wind. I always start seedlings in February and by May they are ready to go out, but our 50-60 mph sustained winds can last for weeks and are still blowing here. My tomatoes are desperate for sun but I still can't put them outside.

              I think we will get some of cattle troughs like these, talk to some of the people you and ninrn suggested and get the lighting installed. We won't have much of a crop this summer, but we can still work on fall crops if we get everything set up.

              Thank you again. I'll keep you posted.


        2. Look at this gorgeous giant hoop house at Skarsgard Farms, SS. Could something like this work for you? : https://www.growerssupply.com/farm/su... .

          Maybe Monte Skarsgard is someone to contact, too. You probably know this already, but they're no longer affiliated with Los Poblanos.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ninrn

            Yes, I have read they are no longer affiliated but seem to be doing very, very well. I have seen similar hoop houses at the Old Town Farm where they have events. It's on the Alameda bike trail. I would LOVE to have one of these but since we're at a higher elevation I think it would be vulnerable to our winds. Maybe we'll stop in at Skarsgard and see what they think.

            Thank you nin, as always very helpful.

          2. The Master Gardeners have already replied and will send two or three of their experts to our site to evaluate exactly what we need to do.

            Hip hip hooray for the Master Gardeners :-)

            1. Two master gardeners were here for a couple of hours today and shared a lot of info about hoop houses, etc. We showed them our indoor space that we would like to use to grow vegetables year-round and they had some good tips about large containers and airflow, but couldn't help us much with the lighting other than grow lights. The ceilings are about 30-35 feet high, so we will have to build some kind of contraption to hold the lights closer to the plants, but that will depend on what kind of lighting we end up using.

              Now we will contact some of the folks you suggested, ninrn, and as we figure out our lighting, I will probably have a question or two for you EatFoodGetMoney.

              Thank you again.

              6 Replies
              1. re: sandiasingh

                For lighting, your best bet might be places like AHL and All Seasons Garden Store. They specialize in hydroponic gardening hardware, but carry all kinds of lights for indoor gardening.

                1. re: ninrn

                  Super, nin. Thank you. That will be a definite stop.

                  1. re: ninrn

                    We stopped in at All Seasons yesterday (yes, they are open on Sundays!) and it blew my mind. We learned about ballasts, LED versus non LED lighting, heat controls, air circulation, amendments (neem, alfalfa, etc.), drainage, drill bits and more. Dave, who helped us, is extremely knowledgeable and totally gets what we are doing.

                    We have a lot of homework to do in the next week or two, but we are on our way and it's very reassuring to have such an excellent, state-of-the-art resource right here in ABQ. I think it's also handy to be next door to Colorado, wink wink :-))

                    Thank you so much, ninrn, for the recommendation. I told Dave how I found out about them and he was very pleased. Most of their business is word of mouth.

                    1. re: sandiasingh

                      I've always found that people who grow pot, or run businesses that provide pot-growing equipment, are some of the most intelligent, resourceful and helpful gardeners around.

                  2. re: sandiasingh

                    I'll keep an eye on this thread.

                    This is for commercial purposes right?

                    1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                      No, just for us EFGM. I freeze and put up as much as I can to take us thru the winter. Last year I had about 70 tomato plants and due to the wind problems I only have about a dozen this year. I kept putting them out to harden off and the damn wind knocked them out cold.

                      It's a real problem.

                  3. FYI, there is another thread on the gardening board on this subject with photos here:


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sandiasingh

                      That's a nice thread. It's funny, I'd decided on planting in horse troughs this year, too, but then had to put the whole thing off for next year, so I'll be interested to see how they work for you. They just seem so perfect for raised bed gardening.

                      If you decide you need any sort of metal fabrication for this project, I recommend contacting Trish at Southwest Custom: southwestcustom@msn.com. We're getting a complicated sink made there and so far she's been terrific to work with. (It also didn't hurt that she was the only metal fabricator in Albuquerque who returned calls promptly and gave us a hard estimate in writing.)

                      Another person I've loved working with on things like this (but he only does the hardscape part) is a contractor named Keith Mac Duffee (221-8600). He's a pretty ingenious problem solver, and could probably get valves and gaskets for hoses put in the sides of the troughs for you at a very low cost. I'd avoid the pond liner method if at all possible. Even the "non-toxic" kind leaches solvents into water.

                      1. re: ninrn

                        OK, good to know, nin. I'll take mine with no solvents, please.

                        We're going to try to get to the indoor gardening store this week. DH's schedule is difficult, but I want to get the tanks ordered and fall seeds ordered from Baker's soon.

                        The master gardeners were so very helpful, but I'm still not sold on hoop houses. They just don't realize how bad it is up here in Apache Canyon. The winds come roaring up the canyon from the valley and can almost drive a person mad! Well, you know . . . . . .

                        I'll keep you posted and thank you.

                        1. re: sandiasingh

                          Oh gosh, I know. I've never lived where you live, but I used to live in a little adobe house that turned out to be constructed and situated to act like a speaker/amplifier. When those winds would start up, the roof would literally shake and all the doors and windows would start rattling and making creepy creaking/whining noises. So glad not to live there any more.

                          1. re: ninrn

                            Freaks my aging dog out and the cat slinks around the house like a snake!