The Q&A Archives: vegetable starters

Question: We planted some starter plants for a vegetable garden inside and we used a flourescent light with the plante and aquarium bulbs. How high above the plantes should the light be hung and also how often should the plants be watered or how moist should the containers be?

Answer: If the bulb is 40 watts, keep it only 2" above the tops of the plants. If it has a higher wattage, keep it higher or it will burn the leaves of the plants. i.e. a 60W bulb should be 3-4 inches above the plants. Aquarium lights can be hotter than regular fluorescent bulbs so you'll want to test to see how hot it gets by turning on the light and placing the top of your hand a couple of inches beneath the bulb. If it is comfortable to the skin on your hand, your plants will be comfortable, too. If it's too hot to keep your hand under it comfortably, it will be too hot for your plants, too. You'll have to experiment to see how far away to keep it from your plants while still providing as much light as possible. Water when the soil begins to dry out. You can pick up each plant and tell by its weight whether it needs water or not. If it is light, it needs water; if it is heavy, it doesn't need water. Good luck with your veggies.

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