Thursday, February 11, 2010

If your are the do it yourself type then you should be thinking about starting seeds for the garden indoors right now.  Aside from timing the correct amount of light is the most important step. Below you will see some good quidelines for proper lighting.  But first I would like to say a few words about timing.  Depending on the time of season you can transplant outdoors and the lenght of time required to germinate will determine when to start the seeds.  Frost free date is a good guide line and around here that would be an average of May 6th.   For example tomatoes should be started 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting. Here that would be the middle of March as an indoor starting date.  Try this Johnny's Seed Calculator just change the frost free date to relflect ours and plan away.   

1. Light.

After germination, plants need a maximum of light for optimum growth. Light may be natural or from fluorescent lamps. If sunlight is used, seed flats should be placed as close to the windows as possible without being too cool. If fluorescent lamps are used, an area 2 X 4 feet would require about four 40-watt fluorescent bulbs. Special plant growing lamps may be used, but cool-white or warm-white fluorescent lamps will be satisfactory. Lamps should be placed 6-12 inches above plants and turned on at least 18 hours each day. For most plants, 24 hours of light would be best; however, some plants (tomato, geranium) may develop a light green appearance. A small time clock can be used to turn lights on and off.