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Old 08-18-2007, 07:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Bananas and indoor grow lights

Hey everyone,

I was going to take several of my bananas to the local green house to overwinter and keep them growing, however they are limited on space.
SO I have been thinking about building a pvc enclosure in my garage covering it with plastic and adding a 1000watt HID lighting system. I may add a small heater and thermostat just to make sure it stays over 60. Has anyone tried this or have any thoughts?
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Old 08-19-2007, 05:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Well, I have no experience with that but I can tell you how people do it
with indoor-hemp(Cannabis sativa) in the netherlands.(wich is illegal)

They use 300 watt grow-lights on a chain so you you can pull them higher
when needed.(when they are too high you have a loss of lumen)
They have a airation-system to control the temperatures(and for the smell)
wich blows fresh air in.
They paint the walls bright white.

I think 1000 watt gives alot of heat, so when it is not very cold in the garage
it may be too much heat in the enclosure and you have to get rid of the heat.

Then i think 60F is too low compared to the amount of Lumen.

Ron

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Old 08-19-2007, 07:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by the flying dutchman View Post

They use 300 watt grow-lights on a chain so you can pull them higher
when needed.(when they are too high you have a loss of lumen)
Go with multiple lower wattage bulbs. In the use that is generally like 250's or 400's. For something with the canopy of a banana this makes perfect sense. If money wasn't a huge issue I would invest in three lights on a rail system or even better, rotating armature (another benefit is that you can mix bulbs for a more even spectrum. If I had multiple plants I would think about a Protrack 2 Rail system. None of this is cheap.

http://www.lightrail3.com/
http://www.midwesthydroponics.com/pr...scat_30092.jpg
http://www.hydroponicsbuff.com/hydro...ing_movers.htm
http://www.canadianwholesalehydropon...ts=1&catpage=3
http://www.4hydro.com/lighting/solarRevolution.asp

Too intense a light and it will have to be farther away to get the spread to cover the leaves and to reduce the intensity to prevent burning, and that requires higher ceilings. A number of smaller lights can more effectively cover a greater area.

OH - and go with Metal Halide.

Quote:
They paint the walls bright white.
Even better: line them with Mylar for capturing every last photon.

http://www.gtghydroponics.com/store/19-257-0.htm

Quote:
I think 1000 watt gives a lot of heat, so when it is not very cold in the garage
it may be too much heat in the enclosure and you have to get rid of the heat.
I think no matter what you do or use, if it puts out the required lumens, there will be a heating issue on all but the coldest of days. Venting fans will be your friend, and while the incoming air will supply much needed CO2 (which you could also supplement), it will also whisk away humidity. A parched banana is a sad banana.

Having said that, after the lights go off, and they have to, temps will plummet like a stone unless you are heating the space. I would heat the entire garage as heating smaller spaces is tricky with a thermostatic device and you can get rapid cycling, not to mention blowing hot dry air into a small space with a banana - they hate that.

Also - be prepared to deal with the gallons of water transpired and now in the air column of the room. You might be fighting mold. Think of it this way, venting fan or no. You have a warm box with a plant that transpires mightily. Every little molecule of water in the box is going to be zipping along an an increased speed as is reflected by the temperature of the air it is in. This will exit the structure to the cooler room outside where it will loose it's kinetic energy and slow down. Prolly actually come out of gaseous phase on some surface. This is basically two problems - the fight to keep the air in the box fresh and humid and the fight to keep the garage from turning into a swam. It can be done, but the balance can be tricky.

I have done it, with SDC in a bucket hydroponics system in a small bedroom. Worked well, the growth was excellent and the only real problem was the darned spider mites. Of course that is one fairly small banana plant. The room it was in also had some tropical reptiles. They loved the environment as well.

A more full sized plant may create some water vapor issues for you.

Whatever you do, get picks, if your system works well I think it would be of terrific interest to the group.

Pick up a decent hydroponics book and you should learn more than you would ever care to about indoor plant lighting.

Keith
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

You may want to look into compact fluorescent bulbs,( very low heat transfer, highly efficient).
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

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You may want to look into compact fluorescent bulbs,( very low heat transfer, highly efficient).
CF are a step up from regular or overdriven fluorescents, but they still lack the sheer growing power of a MH, both in terms of usage cost and over all set up cost. Part of the problem is that because of their structure, you can't really make the most efficient reflector.

HO T5's with individual reflectors (and that is key, individual reflectors) may become a substitute in some applications, but the structure of a banana plant is such that you would have to hang them very creatively to really get the bang for your buck. I suspect that they would do better with an expense of foliage that was essentially at the same height. Like an aeroponics unit growing basil or some such. The do put out a fantastic amount of light with fairly low heat output. Reef tank people and some of the hydroponics folks are switching. Just remember, not all T5 units are the same. Go for individually reflected HO bulbs, if you go for them at all.

In a few years I suspect that reasonable, efficient LED lights will become available. They have some prototypes out there for the reef keeping folks, it is just a matter of time before the price drops and the plant people use them big time. http://www.solarisled.com/



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Old 08-19-2007, 10:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

I'm using CF bulbs with individual reflectors for tomato and pepper starts indoors. I know that the lumen requirements for those are less than for bananas, but I figured CF would solve the added heat problems,(extra venting and or circulation). Also assuming that this setup is just for overwintering bananas,( not year round indoor growing), they may provide enough light to get them through. I also have the walls lined with mylar which really helps. BTW you can easily mount individual reflectors vertically, the side light with mylar reflection is amazing! I have not attempted to grow any bananas inside nor with this setup, also have no experience with overwintering bananas ( doesn't get cold enough here), so take this info for what it is. Just trying to throw some options out there that may be helpful.
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Old 08-19-2007, 10:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by NANAMAN View Post
BTW you can easily mount individual reflectors vertically, the side light with mylar reflection is amazing!
Now that could be something to see.

Quote:
Just trying to throw some options out there that may be helpful.
Same here - sorry if I came off otherwise.

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Old 08-19-2007, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by the flying dutchman View Post
Well, I have no experience with that but I can tell you how people do it
with indoor-hemp(Cannabis sativa) in the netherlands.(wich is illegal)

They use 300 watt grow-lights on a chain so you you can pull them higher
when needed.(when they are too high you have a loss of lumen)
They have a airation-system to control the temperatures(and for the smell)
wich blows fresh air in.
They paint the walls bright white.

I think 1000 watt gives alot of heat, so when it is not very cold in the garage
it may be too much heat in the enclosure and you have to get rid of the heat.

Then i think 60F is too low compared to the amount of Lumen.

Ron
Sativa?? I would of guessed it would be Indica.

On topic- good luck with the lights if thats they route you take.
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Old 08-19-2007, 12:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangy View Post
Sativa?? I would of guessed it would be Indica.

On topic- good luck with the lights if thats they route you take.
Just like bananas there are alot of hybrids nowadays, crossings between Indica and sativa.
So, noone grows a pure sativa or indica, just cultivars.
And by saying that it is allowed to every one in Holland to grow 5 plants(outdoors)
Nothing illegal in that case.

Ron

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Old 08-19-2007, 12:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Further there are legal shops were you can buy the hemp and anything
you need for growing and blowing.
Have to say we are the only country in europe/world who has this laws.
I didn't made the laws and I can't change them, can tell you i don't use it
and i don't grow it.



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Old 08-19-2007, 12:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by the flying dutchman View Post
Further there are legal shops were you can buy the hemp and anything
you need for growing and blowing.
Have to say we are the only country in europe/world who has this laws.
I didn't made the laws and I can't change them, can tell you i don't use it
and i don't grow it.



Ron
Sounds like a enlightened country to me. I hope to visit someday.

Michael
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Thanks everyone,

I will take a look at those links. I figured I better start thinking about this now before I really need it. This is just for over wintering a few plants. Last year i used some CF from my dartfrog tanks, but gave them to a friend. The light was ok, it kept the plants alive, but this was also near a window and just in the heated part of my basement. My garage has stayed above freezing in the last five winters. The space I am looking at is about 8' x 8'. I have been thinking of wrapping the whole frame with plastic and lining the inside with 1/2" foam we use under the siding of houses to create a double wall. I have also been thinking about using water jugs to help slow the heat loss once the lights went off.

Hmmmm... lots more to look into....
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Keith great info on the LED lights , be wonderful when they are cheap enough to be an option for indoor Cultivation/Winter storage of plants. I had a couple of 400 watt MH lamps I used in France for Winter storage indoors , in the end they went up on the Barn to light the yard. I must get another setup going for growing and propagating my Tropical Water Lilies over Winter. I need to find a good Hydroponic shop near us in Bethesda MD and take a look at options.
Thanks for the info .
Later
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Old 08-19-2007, 02:51 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

I had good luck last winter with sikkimensis, basjoo, ensete maurelli, and raja puri under 4 40 watt gro lux tubes in my basement. the temps only averaged 62F. All bananas put out growth and were healthy for putting out in the spring.They were fairly small 6" to 8" pots.
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Old 08-19-2007, 03:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

Did they grow much, or were they static?

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Old 08-19-2007, 04:30 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Smile Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

They grew. they were small plants off ebay and the sikkis and the maurelii had to be potted up twice by the end of winter. the basjoo and rajapuri were potted up once. no spider mites either. I think the raja arrived with some fruit flies (gnats) but a sticky strip hung over the plants took care of them.None of them minded the cool temps.
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Old 08-19-2007, 05:20 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Sounds like a enlightened country to me. I hope to visit someday.

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You are welcome, maybe you become enlightened too.

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Old 08-19-2007, 09:55 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

[quote=kgbenson;16820]Now that could be something to see.
This is a simple setup for tomato & pepper starts in a spare bedroom, regular fluorescents work great with heat mat for sprouting seedlings,Compact Fluorescent for continued growth. Pulley system works great, just lift or lower and it's set. Spot incandescent or CF for side light would be helpful on larger plants.


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Old 08-20-2007, 07:46 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas and indoor grow lights

What is the wattage on that halide?

With that set-up you need to try hydroponics. It is loads of fun and the growth is amazing. Get a bucket system and drop a pup in there under that halid and stand back.

Keith

An old page on Hydroponic bananas: http://www.geocities.com/k2benson/Ba.../Hydroban.html

If I had the space I would use: http://www.genhydro.com/genhydro_US/megafarm.html and replace the airpump life with a small aquarium pump.

You could put one of the super small varieties in: http://www.genhydro.com/genhydro_US/waterfarm.html
But to me that defeats the purpose of seeing the tremendous growth. General Hydro used to make a system where a 3.5 gallon bucket nested ina 5 callon bucket. It was the precursor to the waterfarm. It was perfect for bananas as long as you didn't let the pups break through the sides . . .
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:50 AM   #20 (permalink)
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They grew. they were small plants off ebay and the sikkis and the maurelii had to be potted up twice by the end of winter. the basjoo and rajapuri were potted up once. no spider mites either. I think the raja arrived with some fruit flies (gnats) but a sticky strip hung over the plants took care of them.None of them minded the cool temps.
Cool - Thanks for the info, sounds like a reasonable way to get some smaller plants through the winter. In fact it might be the best way to deal with TC plantlets. Get them in the fall and let them get some size before planting in the field. It mirrors what the commercial folks do with TC plants. I don't think that lighting would work for larger plants or higher temps as well. I think the key is to match the regimen to the application and goals.

The temp thing is also interesting; I think that at lower temps, the lighting need not be as high. Warm it up a bit and the plants would be light starved. It is all a balancing act - sounds like you hit the nail on the head and got a great result.

The spider mites, they can be hit or miss, but when they hit . . . what a pain.
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