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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :-)