Growing Indoors

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Farside
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Re: Growing Indoors

#11 Post by Farside » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:02 pm

Growing indoors has a lot to do with maximizing vertical space and so this morning I thought I would start an experiment growing onions vertically. I searched the internet and was surprised that there is nothing on growing full sized onions like this. It is also late in the season for growing onions I I'll plant a control group in a garden bed and position the tower outside. At the end of the season I can compare the results.

I took some pics in case anyone wants to try this too. My apologies, they are not pinterest beautiful but they are honest and functional.

My immediate thought was that the onions growing on the North (shaded) side of the tower won't do so well. Ideally I would have grown something else on that side but I don't have anything on hand, and I'm not sure how direct seeding will work.

Anyway, to the tower! I figured 5 gallon pails make a good base container, and I can stack one on top of the other if I place some wood between them as a spacer so I bought two.

I chose to cut 2 inch holes in the sides of the pail for the onions to grow out of because that's about right for a mature onion as well as other plants I might like to experiment with later. In high density planting of onions when full size onions are desired (as opposed to green onions), the consensus seems to be around 4 to 6 inches apart in offset rows (like in square foot gardening for example). With a bit of playing with a marker pen, I found I can fit 8 holes around the pail when spaces 4 inches apart (center to center). I started with the bottom row of holes 2 inches up from the bottom and this gave me 4 rows of 8 holes, or 32 growing spaces in a 5 gallon pail. Finally I drilled a 2 inch hole in the bottom for drainage.
pail holes.jpg
pail holes.jpg (54.9 KiB) Viewed 283 times
A side note: I have managed to fit 64 onions into space taking up about 1 square foot of ground. In a traditional garden bed, this many onions would require 36 square feet.

Now to assemble the tower. In the bottom of the pail I put a lump of straw over the drain hole so the soil won't fall out. I made the drain hole this big because I am toying with the idea of running a 2 inch pipe down the middle in a different configuration at some point in the future.
drain holes covered.jpg
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Onions are heavy feeders, and so I used a combination of compost I made from used coffee grounds and sawdust, mixed with composted cow manure. Since onions do a lot of root development, I also added a bit of bone meal for phosphorus.

Next I started filling the pail with soil and as I reached a row of holes, I would place an onion set as shown below:
onion set positions.jpg
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Re: Growing Indoors

#12 Post by Farside » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:09 pm

Next I covered the sets with soil and places straw carefully in the holes to prevent the soil from falling out:
onion sets covered.jpg
onion sets covered.jpg (57.7 KiB) Viewed 283 times
I then repeated this over and over until the pail was full:
pail full.jpg
pail full.jpg (65.06 KiB) Viewed 283 times
I then performed the same process on the other pail, topped them off with straw to help with moisture retention, and stacked them into a tower:
onion tower.jpg
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Re: Growing Indoors

#13 Post by Farside » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:18 pm

The control bed contains 64 onion sets spaced the same as with the towers and also in offset rows. They were placed into the soil and covered with the same mix as is in the towers. They are also covered with a thin layer of straw mulch.

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Re: Growing Indoors

#14 Post by Farside » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:38 pm

I'm already seeing onion leaves emerging from the tower. I think the warmer soil in the containers is accelerating growth compared to the control bed where there is nothing to see yet.

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Re: Growing Indoors

#15 Post by Farside » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:24 pm

Here is an update from today:
vonions2.jpg
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Comparing to the control bed, they appear to be about the same size as these. So far so good.

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Re: Growing Indoors

#16 Post by Farside » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:09 pm

I was at a friends house yesterday and he has a greenhouse that he made out of concrete mesh and poly for about $200 a few years back. The snow collapsed it last winter but he bent it roughly back into shape, but it's had nothing in it all season.

So I pulled out the weeds, leveled the beds and gave it a water. In 2 weeks I'll come back and flame weed the seedlings that pop up in the soil and then I can seed the beds, put a layer of compost on top, and get this thing into production for fall.

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Re: Growing Indoors

#17 Post by Farside » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:18 pm

Check out this greenhouse in shetland islands that is designed to withstand wind sheer:

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Re: Growing Indoors

#18 Post by Farside » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:31 pm

Here is a virtual tour of the Inuvik community greenhouse:
https://www.inuvikgreenhouse.com/virtual-tour/

It's an old converted hockey rink, situated in the high arctic on the Beaufort sea.

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Re: Growing Indoors

#19 Post by Andy F » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:32 am

bump
"Conspiracy Theorist: One who asks legitimate questions about shady activities of people who're well known to be liars." https://www.archive.org :mrgreen: http://www.secretsinplainsight.com/

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Re: Growing Indoors

#20 Post by 8greenbeans » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:51 am

This stuff is great! Love the onion towers and all the implications for future use.
Can't wait to hear about the improvements and growing in the friends greenhouse.
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