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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 07-12-2006, 05:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Indoor Grow Lights

I want to be prepared well before the cold weather gets here, and I was wondering if anybody has any recommendations of lights for growing bananas over the winter, ie price vs performance. I've got a couple of plants I can't bear to cut back and leave in the basement! Window space is very limited, but I will have a constant indoor temp of 70-75 degrees.

Thanks!

~Joe
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

Hi Joe....

I did this with one of my bananas last year... You can do it - However, be prepared to spend a decent amount on Electricity - Grow lights are not cheap. I've since given up the grow-lights and got myself a small portable greenhouse which I put a space heater in - works MUCH better and I can keep alot more plants in there.
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Old 07-14-2006, 12:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

Thanks for the advice Bobby

I'd been wondering about a small greenhouse, but had written off the idea after imagining it sitting in 2 feet of snow, thinking there's no possible way it would stay warm enough, even with a heater. I was figuring lights would be a cheaper alternative... but then again I have an awful lot of plants. Did you get your greenhouse online, or from a retailer such as Home Depot?

BTW I love your gallery, its amazing what can be done up here in the Northeast, I'll have to update my gallery with more picures. I especially like your young coconut trees... I've got 2 (just the coconut itself from the supemarket no less ) which have been sitting in pots for the past couple of months with no sign of germination, although I hear it can take up to 9 months in some cases. I guess I'll have to be patient!

Regards,

~Joe
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

I'm not aware of your architectural layout, but a bright sunny window trumps electric lights any day. Tho - the lights can be used to suppliment the shortest days of winter. Nevertheless, nanners won't grow much during the winter so keeping them in front of a bright window and keeping them on the dry side of moist will work fine. If you have a cool room - it will just sit and you can let it dry out even more. Say around 50F. Warmer and you'll get a leaf here and there but it'll still for the most part just sit tight - which is a still Good Thing (tm). A sunroom is even better if you can manage it. By concentrating on getting it thru the winter rather than getting vigorous growth during the winter, you'll save yourself a lot of money and still have a pretty healthy nanner that'll kick back into high gear in Spring when it warms up and the photoperiod increases. Just remember - don't give it more watering unless you can simultaniously provide more light and more warmth. TLC can kill a nanner. Don't let it get bone dry if it's getting some light and room temp - but avoid water-logging like the plague.

Be well,
Mike

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Originally Posted by JoeS475
Thanks for the advice Bobby

I'd been wondering about a small greenhouse, but had written off the idea after imagining it sitting in 2 feet of snow, thinking there's no possible way it would stay warm enough, even with a heater. I was figuring lights would be a cheaper alternative... but then again I have an awful lot of plants. Did you get your greenhouse online, or from a retailer such as Home Depot?
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

I kept a couple plants inside last winter, just sticking them in the spare bedroom (northwest window even) and closing off the heat vents and watered sparingly. Not a problem with spider mites that I had been warned about. The DC survived.. very little growth, looked not so good come spring, but bounced back rapidly. The GN did alot better. Also kept a DC on an unheated enclosed porch that gets quite cold on the coldest nights, but never freezing. In my opinion it did better than the ones inside.
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Old 07-14-2006, 03:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

Quote:
I'd been wondering about a small greenhouse, but had written off the idea after imagining it sitting in 2 feet of snow, thinking there's no possible way it would stay warm enough, even with a heater. I was figuring lights would be a cheaper alternative... but then again I have an awful lot of plants. Did you get your greenhouse online, or from a retailer such as Home Depot?

You don't have to worry about the snow.... It actually helps to keep the heat in... There were plenty of 22f nights where my greenhouse was staying around 65f... I had (2) small 1500-watt heaters in there and they worked great... The only problem with the greenhouse is regulating the temperature... When it's cloudy out, it's easy.. but when the sun is bright, it can go up to 100f in no time.. but once you get used to it, it's easy. I have the heaters that have auto-temp sensors on them... I was harvesting Pineapples, oranges, tomatoes, and peppers in the middle of January - it's awesome.... And, the good thing about the greenhouse is that acclimation is a snap. I just took it down in April and put everything in full sun and nothing burned - it just kept on growing where it left off..

www.littlegreenhouse.com...
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Old 07-14-2006, 04:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

I had a 30' long 9' wide 6' tall cattle-panel hoophouse with a single layer of glazing for a winter and even when the heater - a single 1500watt usually set on 750watt - went out a couple of times and the 20's hit most of my exotics survived - I lost a vanilla orchid and one of my chocolate trees and the nanner's leaves all browned but everything kept on growing after that. I've got a solar pit greenhouse I'm building now that will require even less heat in the winter... I still want to bury a box-car rootcellar and store nanner pseudostems in it over the winter tho - no fuss no muss.



Yes - that's a nanner peeking around the corner there...

Be well,
Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyinNY
You don't have to worry about the snow.... It actually helps to keep the heat in... There were plenty of 22f nights where my greenhouse was staying around 65f... I had (2) small 1500-watt heaters in there and they worked great... The only problem with the greenhouse is regulating the temperature... When it's cloudy out, it's easy.. but when the sun is bright, it can go up to 100f in no time.. but once you get used to it, it's easy. I have the heaters that have auto-temp sensors on them... I was harvesting Pineapples, oranges, tomatoes, and peppers in the middle of January - it's awesome.... And, the good thing about the greenhouse is that acclimation is a snap. I just took it down in April and put everything in full sun and nothing burned - it just kept on growing where it left off..

www.littlegreenhouse.com...
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Old 07-14-2006, 11:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

Thanks so much everyone, I just may be able to make it through the winter without overwintering in the basement and praying!

You guys are the best!

~Joe
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Old 07-16-2006, 01:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyinNY
Hi Joe....

I did this with one of my bananas last year... You can do it - However, be prepared to spend a decent amount on Electricity - Grow lights are not cheap. I've since given up the grow-lights and got myself a small portable greenhouse which I put a space heater in - works MUCH better and I can keep alot more plants in there.
Umm... even a small space heater draws more power than most high pressure sodium lights, and if the lights are run indoors they contribute to keeping the house warm. Especially if the house is heated with electricity or some other high-cost way I'd say it makes sense to keep them indoors. Arranging enough space for a banana plant and keeping the air humidity high enough can be a bit tricky though.
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

One thing that has not been mentioned about using indoor grow lights is that you are never far from the sun on a bleak day! I used to grow plants indoors and it was nice to lay out in the indoor sun on a cold rainy day. Another positive is that you get to see your plants every day!
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Indoor Grow Lights

Quote:
Umm... even a small space heater draws more power than most high pressure sodium lights, and if the lights are run indoors they contribute to keeping the house warm. Especially if the house is heated with electricity or some other high-cost way I'd say it makes sense to keep them indoors. Arranging enough space for a banana plant and keeping the air humidity high enough can be a bit tricky though.
I'm not saying that grow lights don't work well - they do.... I just feel that the sun is much better and, depending on how many plants you have, can be a problem... If you only have a couple plants then it definitely makes more sense to use grow lights, but if you have alot of plants then I think the greenhouse is a better option... My biggest problem with Grow lights are the bugs that you have to deal with indoors... AND the dryness from the heat. I had to run 2 humidifiers to make up for the lack of humidity whereas in the greenhouse it stayed humid due to the condensation that was created between the cold temps outside and the heat inside... And when I removed the greenhouse in April I was able to put all my plants in full sun with absolutely no burning whatsoever.
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