I was having some trouble starting seeds this fall.
I would get my pots all set. Filled them up with wet seed-starting mix. Planted my seeds at just the right depth and then nothing would come up or the seeds would sprout but then grow really, really slowly. So, I decided to get serious with it. I decided it was time to try starting seeds with grow lights.
Starting Seeds with Grow Lights
I went to Home Depot and I bought myself a sweet little grow light (something very similar to this – http://amzn.to/17pgv92 ). I was inspired by this image I saw on Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/pin/232850243207345697/ . I own the exact same Ikea bookshelf and I decided to start with just one shelf and give the setup a try.
My husband hung the light from a couple of hooks so that I could move the light up and down as the seedlings grew.
It is working really well and I am very happy with the set-up. Currently the bookshelf stores all of my crafting supplies. If I can find somewhere else to store my crafting junk, I’d love to turn the whole bookshelf into a grow light system.
The benefits of starting seeds with grow lights is undeniable. Most vegetables are “long-day” plants and require 14-18 hours of light to grow well. The problem I was having was that my seedlings were getting only morning light and this was really stunting their growth. Now I can ensure my seedlings are getting the right amount of light by controlling the grow lights. (Another problem I was having is that I was trying to sprout cold weather plants (like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc.) when it was still very warm in Arizona. By bringing my plants inside, I was also lower the temperature of the soil and making it more likely that the seeds would sprout.)
If you’re considering grow lights, some things to consider include:
- make sure you get a full spectrum bulb – http://amzn.to/19BeFZx for whatever fixture you choose to use. (If you don’t have a shelf to use, this one – http://amzn.to/GHskBy is a good option.)
- clean your bulbs at least once a month. Dust can greatly reduce the effectiveness of your light set-up.
- rotate your plants frequently. The light at the center of the bulb is most intense.
- try to keep your lights 2-4 inches above your seedlings. You can go as high as 18-24 inches but if you’re trying to fit your system in a small space (like me) then 2-4 inches is perfect.
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