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For food people!

Like anything garden related, if you count your time, it is a money loser but here is what I am playing with:

Two LED grow lamps at $2300 delivered. These each will cover a 6'x 6' area or 72 square feet in total. The central area will flower and grow high light things like tomatoes and peppers, and the perimeter areas will grow leafy greens and seedlings.

Each unit is 600 watts. If run for 16 hours a day they will consume 19kWh of electricity which at an all in price of around $0.30/kWh or about $6 a day. I don't actually know my marginal cost of electricity any more. My average bill is about $80/month currently, so just isn't material any more to bother paying attention. So the $0.30 might actually be closer to $0.20. I think on a steady state basis, this could provide a salad a day for about 4 people. I also think this is about what it would cost to buy salad daily for 4 people. However, we are a 70kM round trip to the nearest grocery store. At CRA rates per km of just over $0.50, if I can reduce one trip a week for fresh produce grocery runs, that will save about $35/week in automotive costs. This is theoretical as my wife won't likely drive any less often to town after COVID is done.

If I can get this set up in my basement, then the waste heat reduces my space heating requirements so there is a secondary effect maybe worth a dollar or two a day. This is for winter operations, I garden outdoors in fair weather.

I need to set up an insulated "box" for the grow areas as the basement temperature is cold and variable. I'll probably just hack something together for one light and sort out the long term plan later. So add a few hundred dollars to the capital outlays for this.

So depending on how one massages the assumptions, this will be a bit of a money gainer or loser. The real benefits is that it will keep this pair of old farts eating better and better exercised tending the crops, and a hedge to societal disruptions as discussed below.

This is a stepping stone to my longer range plan of making a greenhouse/electricity trailer with an area of 160 to 200 square feet to help with the outdoor garden seedlings and also to perhaps be where these grow lights will live long term. I want a trailer and not a building for zoning reasons. I can't actually put up a greenhouse building where my garden is located, because it would be in front of my house. The electricity part is to both run the greenhouse as well as be a backup system for the house to keep essential loads going during outages.

All of this is broadly a diversification move to have more assets that are not financial assets. Homestead assets if you will. After 2020 I believe a bit less in the world functioning effectively.
 

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Nothing says the plants can't be lit off-peak. You could start their 'day' at the start of the off-peak electricity window.
 

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Two LED grow lamps at $2300 delivered.
$2300 sounds a little expensive but I haven't really reseached it either ... might want to see what others on "grow op forums" are using.

That said, I have been growing green onions, celery and tomatoes in my old and broken chest freezer this winter. I've been using my small solar setup for lighting with regular white LED strip lights. The green onions and celery grow fine but the tomatoes are a no go. I gather the tomatoes need real grow lights and maybe higher temps to flower but it is good enough for starting seedlings.
 

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I don't have the space indoors to do this. Other costs incurred, is your time, water, and in my case failures during the season. Though if I had to drive that far for my veggies, I would do it regardless of the time. You also get better produce when you do it yourself, unless it dies.

@cainvest I do my green onions using the bottoms. I leave about 1.5-2 inches from the bottom, put them in a small glass with water, and they will regrow. I went about 4-6 months without buying any green onions last year. Celery took much longer.
 

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"My average bill is about $80/month currently" What would you pay if you just purchased the amount you need in comparison to the electric bill?
 

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@cainvest I do my green onions using the bottoms. I leave about 1.5-2 inches from the bottom, put them in a small glass with water, and they will regrow. I went about 4-6 months without buying any green onions last year. Celery took much longer.
Yup, did the water in a glass in the past and it works well. They say over time the planted in soil (with fertilizer) method produces better and for longer than just in water. It does seem to work really well though I didn't directly compare.

Next year I will bring in the bell peppers and to see how they work, maybe add a small "grow light" as they like the heat.
 

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Moisture and mold in the cooler parts of the house are likely to be an issue from how I understand what you are planning.

Look to how people with hot tubs in the basement deal with moisture.

Cost in the price of running a dehumidifier after your work to contain the moisture - dehumidifiers are power hungry devices.
 

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For that price you can one of these
Residential - Urban Cultivator
There are a number of these for residential and commercial use - some cheaper, some more expensive. Not all designed to grow what you want to grow but some are.

LG even offers one called a herb fridge.
 

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The ideal humidity level for a grow-op is also the ideal environment for mold growth. Best not to grow your veggies in your home. A heated greenhouse may be an option for some but it's not cheap.
 

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Sorry, I don't understand your question.
I think he's asking what is your marginal electricity rate. Mine is a bit confusing. It is the stated (off-peak) rate plus a variable component of delivery charge (you have to deduce this as delivery is fixed and variable).
 
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