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Friday, January 11, 2019

The Basic Supplies to Seed Start Your Tomatoes, Peppers, Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers Indoors

The Rusted Garden Seed and Garden Shop

The Basic Supplies to Seed Start
Your Tomatoes, Peppers, Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers Indoors

The supplies needed to start seeds indoors for your homestead gardens do not have to be expensive. You can find them at local hardware stores and on Amazon. You will need 6 basic supplies: lighting, shelving, timers, seed staring mix, seed trays and seeds. It might seem a bit expensive to get started but the cost for growing your own seed starts will be pennies a plant. Seed starting indoors will save you a lot of money each season.  The savings from your first year will realistically offset the start-up costs.  Herb, tomato and pepper transplants, from stores, can easily cost $2, $3 and $4 a plant. Flowers can be even more expensive. If you have been thinking about seed starting indoors, now is the time!

One Set Up for Growing Your Indoor Vegetable Garden Transplants

You can buy all the lighting supplies from Amazon or at a local hardware store. You don't need expensive grow-lights. In fact, you will just pay more by buying something with the words grow-light stamped on the box. I recommend 4 foot tube or LED lighting. The key to buying these lights is to make sure they have a 'lumens rating' of 3000 or higher. I have used 2100 lumens for years and that works but lights have improved over the last several years with inexpensive LEDs.  Lumens is the intensity or amount of light. The other rating you want to check is the 'Kelvin rating' of 5000K or higher. I recommend getting as close as you can to 6500K. Kelvin represents the color of the light. 6500K is daylight. As you go higher in the lumens rating, you can fall toward the lower Kelvin range of 5000K - 6500K.

You can look for these types of numbers on any light fixtures you want to purchase in a standard 4 foot length. This length nicely covers a standard seed starting tray or two. Here is my most recent video on buying the lighting from a hardware store. I actually take you there for a visit. Subscribe to my YT Channel: The Rusted Garden in 2019. I will be doing a complete series on growing vegetable, herb and flower transplants indoors.

You can buy shelving, build your own shelving or use containers like in the above picture. The key to successful seed starts is setting the lights 2-4 inches above the starting mix while you wait for germination. The light should be on for 16 hours, at that point, as you want the seedlings to get enough light so they don't become tall, leggy and spindly.  After 7 days, you can cut the light to 12-14 hours a day, from when seedlings first germinated and broke the surface.

My Grow-Light Closet - You Can Also Use Shelving

As your vegetables and flowers grow, you want to be able to adjust your lights to sit 2-4 inches above the leaves. After several weeks of growth, the light can be cut to 10-12 hours a day and the lights can even sit 6-8 inches above the plants based on what you are growing. The bottom line is more light and closer lights when germinating and young. A timer is your best friend. Just set it and let the lights turn and off. Without a timer you will forget to mange them at least 1x a week. Complete darkness for 24 hours will cause your newly germinated seeds to over stretch and become leggy. I mention that twice because that is the biggest mistake made when growing indoor transplants.  

You will need to use a seed starting mix of your choice. I recommend not bringing in soil from outdoors as it most likely harbors insects and problems. It is fine outdoors as Nature combats Nature. When used indoors, Nature goes unchecked and you can get all kinds of problems from the outdoor soil. You will also need seed starting trays and containers. I sell some of them at my seed shop: The Rusted Garden Seed and Garden Shop

And finally you can seed start herbs, vegetables and flowers. Just order from you favorite seed shop. I begin indoor seed starting in January, here in Maryland Zone 7. I have a seed and garden shop and sell discounted seeds.  The entire process will videoed and put on my YouTube Channel: The Rusted Garden. It will be a full year (2019) video series showing you how to seed start, plant, tend, manage problems and harvest the seeds. f

The Rusted Garden Seed and Garden Shop

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