Costs of Home Indoor Gardening
Making the decision to practice home hydroponics or indoor gardening will most likely involve some sort of expectation of costs. While it is true that indoor home hydroponic gardening will typically use less water than the same crop grown outdoors, there are still some additional costs to consider. If you are fortunate you will be able to receive some light from the sun via a window, however in many indoor gardening scenarios you may rely entirely on artificial light. Running fans or air pumps is also an additional electrical cost. The water in the hydroponics system will also probably need to be cycled through the system with some sort of electric pump. Finally you will need to feed your plants more than plain water and will therefore need to add some type of hydroponic fertilizer.
What are Typical Costs of an Indoor Home Garden?
There are many factors that will go into determining the costs of a home hydroponics system. Electricity rates can vary widely depending on where a person lives. Fresh water costs also can vary widely depending on location. We will examine a scenario where the gardening is done indoors in the same general area that people are living, hence the term home hydroponics. The home hydro system that we use is a decent size system for home use and can simultaneously grow 33 heads of lettuce while replacements are being grown in the starter unit. This is a family sized configuration for regular salads with dinner for the family. This setup is gone into greater detail in previous posts as the SFT / DFT Build #1 and an eBook with plans, drawings, and parts list is also available Here. In our location with our size indoor home hydroponics system the costs are less than a dollar a day which includes everything from electricity to nutrients and water.
The Costs of Our Fully Indoors All-Season Garden.
Fully indoors in this scenario really means fully indoors and not in a greenhouse for example. If you are fortunate enough to have a sun room or home greenhouse you may use less electricity on supplemental lighting which is great because electricity will most likely be the largest expense. In our home hydro setup we take advantage of the most efficient indoor lighting available. We use induction lighting over the main unit and LED grow lighting over the seedling unit. We have also minimized costs by using General Hydroponics MaxiGro powder nutrient that is perfect for lettuce or salad greens. So here is a rundown of the power consumption of this setup at a low 8.7 p/kwh:
- iGrow induction light – 200w , $7.30 a month +
- Water pump – 16w , $0.93 a month
- Nutrients – $10.40 a month (nutrient change every 2 weeks)
- Air pump – 18w , $1.13 a month
- GH Rainforest Vortex – 12w , $0.75 a month
- LED UFO Grow Light – 90w , $3.29 a month +
What is Food Security Worth to You?
Clearly growing your own salad greens in your own home is not going to happen for free but the price you pay may be worth it when you consider the benefits. There is the benefit of knowing exactly what went into the plants ( we often add additional trace minerals ) as well as what was or rather what was Not sprayed on the plants. If you keep your grow area and plants clean and in good health you should never have to spray anything on your plants and if you do ever have to apply anything you get to decide what gets used. In the end with a little work you have a perpetual garden growing anywhere in your home providing you with healthy salads and leafy greens which is even more enjoyable in the off-season.
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