Starting seeds indoors?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by Gaston, May 3, 2007.

  1. Gaston

    Gaston Loup Garou

    This is the first year I've had room to try it. It was a bust. The "false spring" and quick return to cold weather threw off my timing, and my seedlings mostly died. I may salvage about a fourth of them, they're in the garden now and only time will tell.

    Any comments on the process, or good websites? I believe my plants "damped off", partly because I used common potting soil and poorly drained starting cups. I'm going to try again next year, and I'd like to get some discussion going here so we can share ideas and experiences.

    I need better lights, I just set them on a table under a fluorescent fixture mounted to the ceiling in our semi-finished basement. The commercial lighting rigs in the seed catalogs are expensive, surely there's a cheaper setup that works decently.
  2. gardener

    gardener Realistic Humanist

    If you had dampening off, the easiest solution next time is dust the flats with sulfur powder right after planting. Your fluorescent bulbs should be alright, but since you're locating things in your basement, what temp are you keeping that area at. Chill can also affect young seedlings. I would attempt to at least keep the temp down there at a steady 50 degrees. Or if you can't do that at least keep it at a steady temp.

    Since this was your first time out I suspect you overwatered.
  3. Alaskan

    Alaskan Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    [​IMG]We start our plants in the basement under standard "shop-light" fixtures..
    Have timers on the lights, so the starts get 16 hrs. a day. You can get the timers at about any hardware store for about 8 bucks.
    The PVC racks are cheap and easy to make.. We have 6 of them that hold 96 flats. A little much for most folks, but we sell ours for part of our income.
    All of the plants in the picture below were started in our basement.
    We keep the temp in the basement at 60-65 F......Dennis
  4. Gaston

    Gaston Loup Garou

    Thanks, both of you!

    I believe I did overwater, I thought I could "eyeball it" and used paper cups instead of proper trays with good drainage.

    The picture of the rack is really helpful. I think I can put together something affordable now, 4-6 flats should be enough to plant my whole garden.
  5. Alaskan

    Alaskan Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    If you use florescent lights for starting your plants, the lights need to be just a few inches above the plants.
    If the lights are on the ceiling and your plants are 4-5 feet below them it's not going to work.
    Here is an option, 1000 watt halide grow light.
    They work great, but I hope you don't start having chest pains when you get your electric bill. I'm to the point where I just roll my eyes and shake my head.
    Happy Gardening......Dennis

  6. Gaston

    Gaston Loup Garou

    I can't stand a bigger power bill, especially in winter/early spring. It's a fairly big older house and there's not many ways of economizing.

    I'm planning to get one or two cheap fluorescent fixtures and hang them on sash chains from ceiling hooks so I can adjust them, and take them down when finished for the year. Do the common fluorescent bulbs work well, or is it worth the extra to get "growlight" bulbs?

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