Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fluorescent Lights

I think every gardener out there will agree that, next to the excitement of actually harvesting their produce, watching a seed transform into a seedling is one of the greatest joys to partake in. The process is still amazing to me, no matter how many times I have seen it. It helps to remind me of how even the teeniest things in life are so important to watch and to appreciate.

Since there isn't always enough sunlight streaming in through my windows to give my babies what they need to get off to a great start, I am using artificial lighting. Having a good set of shelves with some fluorescent lights can help you to get a jump start on your garden. You can purchase some cheap shelves (the seedlings won't know the difference, believe me). And the lights seem to last for quite a while. I am not an expert on any of it, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the basic needs of a plant. Soil, water, light...and a little bit of love (and I have got it all).

It has been nine years since I have grown tomatoes and peppers from seed. I pulled out the shelves that I used back then....the lights were still attached and still working....WOO HOO!

I bought 3 more fluorescent lights (for around $13 a piece) and (my hubby) hooked them up on this cheap particle board shelf system that I wasn't using for anything else...

It is important for there to be ample amounts of moisture during the germination process. I mist my seeds/seedlings with a water spray bottle for the first few weeks, after they have emerged, until they are strong enough to stand up to a little stream of water. Notice the condensation on the lid? This is a good sign that they are staying moist. Once the seedlings are tall enough to bump into the lids, they should have enough of a root system to keep in their moisture from regular watering...

I love watching seedlings and their efforts to grow. One of my most favorite things to see is the seed still attached to the seedling...patiently waiting for the newborn plant to build up the strength to burst that little incubator right off...

Wouldn't miss it for the world!

~.~ the purple sprout

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