Our local newspaper garden columnist recommended flourescent bulbs for starting seedlings inside a couple of years ago, and specified that one bulb should be cooler and one warmer - Kelvin temperature. I think we have 6000 and 3600 bulbs from Home Depot, and they have worked great for the last few seasons. Everything seems to grow into nice, strong seedlings.
I use regular flourescent bulbs, but you need to be able to keep them very close to the plants. We have had a few nice days here and there when I can get them outside. If you ease your plants into it, I would think at least during the day, most will be fine outside
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I have a lean too hot house in my garage with florescent lights which I keep my drawf fruit trees in during the winter and also start veggies and fruits for the spring in it. I have a little heater for it also. It works out great. I am on the east coast also and winter has been bad. Good luck with your planting.
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I was given an Aerogarden as a gift, so I plan my seeds in pellets, and cover then. I leave then on top of my refrigerator until they have sprouted and then move then under the Aerogarden lights which can be adjusted as they grow, if necessary. I leave them there until they are ready to be hardenedoff for planting outdoors. I have also used the wall o' water for my tomato plants, so they can be transplanted to the garden much earlier in the season.
I buy the cheap starters that you can get anywhere, with the pellets & lit that works as a green house, I don't know if I'm explaining that well. Anyway, I have a floresent light in my kitchen, so I put them above my cupboards, I have a shelf & they do GREAT! They get tons of light from the kitchen ligh & the windows. Infact, I just started them last week & already have plants! Now, the weather needs to cooperate so I can get them outside!
Hi! I'm in zone 5 and moved my seedlings to a mini greenhouse. You can find them on Amazon just search for "mini greenhouse" I think they're around $35.00. I actually bought mine at a family dollar store 4 years ago and last year I noticed even my supermarket was selling them. It has 4 shelves and you can roll up the plastic door during the hottest part of the day so they don't overheat. I also have a cold frame with an arm that opens it automatically but I find myself using the cheaper mini more often. I start everything from seed and I also have had so much luck with the "wall o waters" for tomatoes that I bought more for this year so I can plant them a month earlier (like tomorrow if it ever stops raining!!). I'm bound and determined to pick a tomato by the 4th of July!!
I start seeds every year indoors (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, basil, dill, etc. etc.) I bought flourescent (sp?) 4 ft. shop lights that you can get in Home Depot. FOr a couple of the lights I bought the plant bulbs, but for the rest I just used the flourescent light bulbs. I grow them under these lights until they need to be hardened.
This has worked REALLY well - you would never know that they're not grown in real sunlight! The shop lights cost less than $10 and the bulbs were maybe $4 each. Each light needs two bulbs. The plant grow lights were more expensive, but honestly, I have not noticed any difference between the quality of the plants grown under the plant lights - it's probably not worth the extra $$)
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I guess it depends on what you are growing too. I utterly suck at keeping seedlings alive indoors, fact of life I have to deal with.
Here's what I did this year. I planted on March 27th, I'm in NJ and anyone who lives in this area will know we've had quite a few frosts since then. Actually the day after I planted it went down to the low 30s
I bought two mini greenhouses ($100 for both) on ebay and planted flowers and veggies (sunflowers, wild flowers, cosmos, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers) in one - the second one came much later so I haven't put it up yet. Right now my sunflowers are about 4-5 inches high I also have other things coming up, not sure if they are flowers or veggies, those are about 2 inches.
So remember how I said that one of the greenhouses came much later, well I was determined to plant my squash bed that day too so what I did was take used plastic milk/water/large vinegar jugs ($0) and cut the bottoms off. I used those as mini cold frames. I planted cukes, zucchs, spaghetti squash, butternut squash and calabasa (edible pumpkin). The butternut squash, calabasa and the spaghetti squash are doing beautifully the cukes and zucches I had to reseed. Not sure if it was the seeds or the method. Both seed packs were given to me by a friend. If these don't germinate then I'll know what it is. The squash that's up has nice hardy leaves and is well beyond the seedling stage. I'm thrilled it worked. I planted corn and more flowers like echinacea and nasturtium on April 24th, I also use the plastic containers that veggies come in, seltzer bottles etc. I don't drink milk or bottled water so I used giant vinegar jugs and my in-laws gave me their used jugs. I'll admit it don't look pretty but I don't care.
I posted about the March 27th planting in my blog if you want to check it out. I haven't photographed the plants yet, hopefully will do that in the next week or two.
I hope this helps! I was really happy that so much did come up especially since we had a cold March & early April.
We are having a very cold spring and my indoor seedlings I started last week will not be able to stay indoors even in a bright and sunny window or they will get long and spindely. What's the best option: provide a plant light (cost?), make a cold-frame? What are your experiences? Any input appreciated.
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