To grow vegetables indoors in the winter you need light, and you need heat. Outdoors, during the summer, sunlight’s full spectrum includes ultraviolet light on one end, and infrared on the other. Infrared is what heats up the ground, plants, seeds, the whole of what it touches.
In 2007, my first year without conventional heat, I kept track of outside and inside temperatures. Not surprisingly, many of my plants located in my living room died from the cold. That year I had little experience with keeping warm without my electric oil filled radiators.
But, I was determined not to go back to PNM for electricity when it had shut me off without warning when the temperature at night was still in the 20s. I was determined to find a way to keep warm and rely on my solar electric, alone, despite the fact that to use my solar panels for heat, I’d need a lot more panels than the four I have, since heat requires a lot of electricity.
I’ve loved my solar electricity from the very beginning, and would not give it up for a few degrees more heat in winter.
Nevertheless, my living room was clearly too close to freezing for many plants, including my beloved night blooming cereus and avocado tree.
The first thing I noticed, from keeping track of the temperatures, was that me being in my bedroom raised the temperature there by around 10*.
My bedroom is smaller, with a lower ceiling, than my living room, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d help my plants by moving into the living room, but move I must, if I could help them by doing so.
That first year I had no concept of how to warm a room. I began candle heating, but with little understanding of how to make the most of candle heat, or what kind of candles and wicks made for the best heat source.
For myself, to keep warm, I made a tent over my bed in which I could enjoy a small space that conserved my body heat and filled the small space with it. Plus, I loved the heat from the transformer for my computer, and my Toshiba, my laptop at that time, got very hot where the touch pad was. In fact, the computer had come with a warning about the heat. Overall, the heat contributed to the computer having a very short life.
Being loyal to the point of near foolishness, I ordered another Toshiba when I had to replace my laptop. The second Toshiba had additional flaws, so I bought a cheap HP, but it wasn’t capable of holding my website when I needed to work on it. My website was already quite large.
Thereafter I bought the Dell I have now, which is by far the best computer I’ve had since I began buying them when Desktop Publishing was discovered and marketed.