Indoor Seed Starting (Part 1)

PART 1: Grow Lights & Stand Set-up

This is the second year that we have started our own plants indoors from seed.  We decided to do this because it saves us money and we know from the start that chemicals haven't been used on our seedlings.  

We use fluorescent lights because they are a cost effective way to provide warmth and light that the seedlings require. Incandescent bulbs will burn your plant.  You can also choose to purchase special grow lights for seed starting just keep in mind the higher cost. 

Fluorescent lights
You may be wondering if you can just put your seedlings by a window instead of buying lights.  The answer is that during the winter (when seeds are started indoors and sunlight is weak) you could use sunlight but you would also have to supplement that with artificial light. Vegetables require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day and they won't receive that in the winter.  If you choose to use a combination of sunlight and artificial light know that plants need to be under an artificial light for twice as long as they would need sunlight.

Below you will find the simple set-up we use and instructions on how to get started:

Timer, Heat Mat, Plant Food, Thermometer, & Plant Labels


1. Metal shelving (12-18" deep x 48" long) adjustable shelves are best for flexibility.  We use our shelves for storage in the basement when we are done using them to start seeds!

2. Fluorescent shop light(s) each fixture has:
(2) T8 Full Spectrum 5000K bulbs
NOTE: A standard fluorescent fixture will provide enough light for (2) standard nursery flats of seedlings.

3. S-Hooks to hang the lights (2) per light
NOTE: You will need to adjust the fixtures as the seedlings grow.  The light should always be 1-2" from the top leaves of the seedlings.

4. Timer (for lights) 

5. Plant trays (with plastic lids) or yogurt cups

STEP 1. Select a location where your temperatures are between 65 and 70 degrees.  Then set-up your metal shelving in this location.

STEP 2. Hang the fluorescent light(s) from the shelving so they are 2" above your plant tray with the plastic cover on. 


STEP 3. Set your timer.  
  • Set lights to be on for 12 hours BEFORE your seeds have germinated
  • Set lights to be on for 16 hours AFTER your seeds have germinated.
STEP 4. Plug the fluorescent lights into the timer.  Now you are ready to plant your seeds!  I will post those details tomorrow.  Look for Indoor Seed Starting (Part 2) for details!

No comments:

Post a Comment