Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's a matter of .....growing plants from seed....Part B

Dear Folks:

This is a second installment from our guest blogger, LRH sister....Jenifer B. Previously she described her first "set-up" to start her garden plants from seed. Here is the next installment. She is the author and the photographer. Aren't you glad that someone in my family was blessed with a green thumb?

Once I got hooked, I built upon it. Here is my current setup. I purchased the cheap plastic shelves from Wal-Mart for around $10. There are three shelves to use. I purchased the lights at Wal-Mart also for around $8 each. You don’t need to have ‘grow’ lights. I have both and find that the common fluorescent lights work just as well and they are less money. These lights are suspended by ceiling fan chain (local dollar store or Big lots). This way I can raise or lower the lights. You simply drill holes in the bottom of the shelves like the photos below. Then you thread the chain through the hole and secure it with either a screw or in my case, a small bamboo skewer. I secure the other end of the chain between to nuts on a bolt that is inserted into the hole of the plastic frame of the light.

You will notice in this picture that I am using a seedling heat mat. You can purchase these separately ($25-$30) or they do come with a seedling kit where you get the jiffy pellets (72), a germinating container and the mat for around $30. Again, you can use a simple heating pad. However, I liked the smaller germinating containers that hold 12 pellets because seeds germinate at different rates and you will need to transition them at different intervals. Make sure to save the containers and just buy the refill jiffy pellets for next year.

I wrapped an emergency Mylar blanket around the entire shelf unit and hold it on with plastic clothes pins. This worked better than tape.

Keep the heat on 24/7 until your seedlings gain their first true leaves or if temperatures are still cold (consult the websites mentioned above for more detail on that). The lights are on for 14 - 16 hours then off for 8-10, a manual timer works great for this again, I bought it at Wal-Mart.

This is the end of Part B....more to follow......

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