Thursday, January 6, 2011

Starting Seeds Indoors

Starting Seeds Indoors

Supplies Needed
Cheap florescent shop lights
(1) warm and (1) cool light bulb for each shop light (don’t worry about buying the expensive “garden lights,” they don’t work any better than the warm/cool bulbs)
Extension cord
Location to hang the lights (a cheap plastic shelf works great and disassembles for easy storage during the off season)
Seed starting soil
Containers to grow seeds

I’ve found the easiest way to start seeds indoors is to use a cheap plastic 4 shelf system that I can store under my bed during the summer and quickly set up in the late winter. They are usually $19.00 and work great for this purpose. We drilled holes in the shelves to hold the "S hooks" that hold the chains for the lights. I purchased 3 of the cheapest shop lights at Home Depot or Lowes. They were less than $10.

I also purchased one "cool" light bulb and one "warm" light bulb for each light set (with one of each you get the full spectrum of light except for red but plants don't need the red spectrum unless they are producing fruit). Don't waste your money on the expensive grow lights, the combination of the warm and cool work just as well. As the plants grow taller I adjust the chains the lights hang from and raise them up a little bit to keep the lights 2-3" above the plants.

I have a cheap timer that turns on and off each day giving the seeds 14-16 hours of light like this one. All 3 shop lights plug into the timer with a power strip.

I have tried several ways to start the seeds in a planting medium over the years and my favorite are the 72 pack sets of Jiffy peat pods at Walmart. Last year they were $5.00 and you can grow 72 plants in each set.

There is no mess, they are easy to water evenly and they are really quick to transplant. For years following you can buy just the pods and save the trays.

When you add water and plant the seeds, they look like this.

With the 3 shop lights I can grow 6 flats of the 72 sets of pods making room for 432 plants. If you don't want to grow that many, you can always start with one shop light. We have used this system for 5 years and are still very happy with how easy it is. I have a few friends who have duplicated the set up and are also very pleased with the results.

1 comment:

  1. this is the best idea i have heard of by far! so excited to try it out! thanks!