Starting seeds indoors is a cost effective way to grow a garden. A package of seeds is always less expensive than the same amount of plants from a garden center and the variety is much more extensive; especially when you take into account the seed catalog choices and ornamental or gourmet varieties of seeds available.
Encourage healthy growth by putting together homemade grow lights. Grow light systems can be purchased from a home improvement or garden center, but you can save money by making your own custom system.
Providing seedlings with a dependable light source will expedite the growth of many plants. Seedlings that grow tall and spindly often have had insufficient light in their early days, which all but seals their fate. These weak plants often do not have a chance once transferred to a garden plot. Give them a good start by making a grow light system.
To Make Simple Home Made Grow Lights You Will Need the Following;
• Wire shelf
• Shop lights
• Shelf chains
• Energy efficient light bulbs
• Power strip
Attach the shop lights to the wire shelf with the chains. The size of your shelf unit will determine if you need one or two shop lights hung. These items can all be found in a home improvement store, or possibly your own garage.
Place the light bulbs in the shop lights. The type of light bulbs you choose depends on the needs of the plants that you are growing. Choose bulbs that say claim they are; cool, cool white, high performance or plus. These typically have tint of blue to them that will help with the growth of the plant stems.
The lights do not have to be on at all times. At the beginning of the seedlings life, the lights should mimic the sun in springtime. This means that the light should be on for 10-12 hours a day. Gradually increase the time the lights are shining on the plant to simulate the transition into spring. This works at any time of the year that you are planting seeds..
Plant the seeds in seed trays and place on the wire shelf. Be sure the seedlings have at least 1-4 inches of space between their tops and the bulb. Fluorescent bulbs can become a little hot and this space is necessary. Adjust the chain until it is just right.
Water the seedlings as usual and watch for them to grow healthy and strong. Once they have 2 real leaves, transplant into a bigger pot and continue under the grow lights until the ground outside is ready. In the Midwest, the timing is always tricky; we never know when a freak snow storm may hit.