the lettuce, spinach and onions are growing very well since we have gotten rain as well as watering them. Soon I will plant the tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and peppers. It will be nice to fill up the space so the weeds are less to pick. It's only 69* and overcast with rain predicated guess it's good for the garlic I just planted. Lucinda
I will do my best to meet and surpass my goal. Never stop learning or trying to achieve success. Never give up keep plugging away. If it is to be it's up to me. .
Pounds lost: 8.0
Fitness Minutes: (142,690) Posts: 1,197 4/19/12 6:29 P
you do need to balance light and temp. the warmer your room is, the more light your plants will need. If you can start the seeds in a warm space and then move the germinated seedlings to a cool basement under bright lights, you will get better stocky growth.
Do not be afraid to prune things like toms. I just cut mine back to the seed or first true leaves and then then they sprout from the nodes. This gives me two working stems from one root system. you can choose the best one later, or go with the two and have fun training them in a fan
I've tried a number of different lighting systems, and I have to agree that simple shop lights with COOL tubes are the best value. My experiences are as follows:
Fluorescent Shop Lights - These cost about $14 each for a four foot Two tube T8 shop light at box stores. They are about 8 inches wide and can accommodate upto two rows of 4 inch pots. You need to get the Cool (daylight) tubes, which are also labeled as 5400k or 6500k. You do not need to buy the expensive labeled grow tubes. Their light falls off quickly and so need to be kept about 2-4 inches above the plant. You can buy special recoil hangers on Amazon and eBay that allow you to hang the light from the basement roof and move it up as the plant grows.
LED - Do not waste your money on the cheap 14 watt units available on ebay and Amazon. They are not bright enough. You need to start, at a minimum, with the Sunshine Systems Glowpanel 45's. They are pretty expensive at upto $150 each. I got mine on Amazon for about $130 with free ship. They are not suitable for anywhere that people sit because they glow purple. Unlike the fluorescents above, these panels need to be about 12-18 inches from the plant and so are good for plants that will fit in a 2.5ft x 2.5ft space. I read that the LED panels cause plants to grow in strange stunted ways if they are too close, but I have not tested that.
Fluorescent T5 Growlights - These are the very skinny tubes you see in the gardening catalogs systems. They are a lot more expensive than the shop lights. The ones I have are 24 inches long to fit in a cabinet I had and also to hang from a curtain rail in my office windows where I am growing peppers, tomatoes and eggplants among other things. They come in anything from two tube systems upto 12 tubes, that I have seen anyway and start at around $60. These tubes are much brighter than the shop tubes and also much hotter, so need to be further from the top of the plant or you get crispy leaves. When you are not using them for plants, you can hang them as SAD lights! The ones I have can be hung horizontal or vertical and can be daisy chained to one timer.
Aerogardens - These are hydroponic systems that can be fitted with a seed starting tray when you are not growing herbs and things in them. They come with compact versions of the T5 tubes. They are fun to have and great for growing basil in the winter. I have just set up one of my Aerogardens to start some seeds, but have not sown anything yet.
One other thing to think about is a hydro farm heat mat for under the seed trays, especially if you grow in the basement or a cool room because seed need warm temps to get them going. I recently started some Jolokia hot peppers and had to hold them in the mid 80's to get them going.
Edited by: PCHARLES at: 4/11/2012 (21:53)
Fitness Minutes: (6,693) Posts: 1,297 4/9/12 10:25 P
I started my red peppers on the comcast unit on my TV.(It is nice and warm there) As soon as they started growing I moved them under the led lights under the kitchen cabinet. I think I need to move them closer to the lights though because they are getting a bit leggy.
"Food is not just something you pull off a shelf-it has a life force to it." Dr. Oz
You can buy Grow lights at Wal Mart for around $10. which I found really helps the starts. The reason the get tall and leggy is that they are reaching for the light. If you have a grow light above the tray, they do not get tall and leggy as they are getting the light they need. I will have a grow light for my starts next year.
Sunny Missouri USA Central Time Zone
February Minutes: 450
Fitness Minutes: (17,329) Posts: 1,001 4/3/12 12:44 P
I start out filling the cells of my trays about 3/4 full with I high quality potting mix then moisten that. I then put in seed starting mix and moisten that, add the seeds then more seed starting mix over the seeds and spray that with water to moisten it. The seed starting mix gives the seeds a loose mix to get started in while the potting soil gives them a more substantial growing medium to continue growing. I put a clear cover over the tray so that the soil stays damp. If I put more than one kind of seed in the tray, I make sure that all the different seeds have about the same number of days to germination. That way when the seedlings start poking through the soil I can remove the cover and not have to worry about the ones that take longer to germinate not staying moist enough. For lighting I use "shop lights" with one cool and one warm florescent bulb in each one. I keep the light as close as possible to the seedlings, without touching them. I also turn an oscillating fan on low on the trays for a short time a couple of times a day. This is supposed to help strengthen the stems. Once the seedlings have their first true leaves, I start mixing a little compost tea in with the water I give them. As soon as the weather warms up enough, I start setting the trays outside during the day. Starting in a shady area and gradually letting them have more sun. Early in the season that may mean taking them out then back in every day. Later you may be able to leave them outside over night unless it gets to cold. Make sure you keep them watered but not wet. Over watering can kill them as quickly as under watering. If the plants start getting to big for the size of cells you start them in, you can gently transplant them to larger pots.
I have never had any luck growing seeds. Direct sow, indoors start, veggies flowers, herbs, etc I just don't get enough results to make it worth while. I've read lots of articles about "how to" and there seem to be so many different methods/suggestions/ideas that I am overwhelmed at where to start.
I would really like to grow from seeds, but I'd love to hear some idea's from people who have good success growing from seeds.
Do you think cheap vs high end seeds make a difference? Is there really a differnce?
I'd love any kind of idea's, thoughts or suggestions.
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