The Q&A Archives: Starting Vegetable Seedlings Indoors

Question: What a great service this is. Every year around this time I start receiving garden catalogs and get excited about the wonderful varieties that I would like to grow. I end up starting seeds indoors but lose them before I can ever get them planted. The result is that I have to go to a garden center for plants which are almost always the same varieties. Since I don't see many centers offering transplants in a multitude of varieties how can I reliably and affordably grow seeds indoors. I am particularly interested in veggies. I have read of grow lights but never found any in the stores. Could you recommend a supplier. I would also like to keep the price down by building my own setup. Do you know of any good, simple plans? Could you also recommend a good resource on this? Most of the gardening books have one chapter at best. Sometimes (usually in April when the plants are all tall and weak) I wonder if starting indoors is worth all the effort. I see the massive amounts of interesting varieties and want to try again. Just how does everyone do this without having a green house? Mark Richardson Cincinnati, OH

Answer: Starting seeds indoors can be relatively easy -- especially for vegetables. All you need are regular shoplights with two fluorescent fixtures, a warm room and all the potting soil, plastic containers and seeds you want to grow. Any hardware store should have the shoplights. You'll only be growing the vegetables under the lights for about 2 months, so this is probably enough light, as long as you keep the lights within a few inches of the seedlings as they emerge to prevent them from getting leggy.

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