Plants From Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Stow, OH
Question by Sciscott
January 17, 1998
Each year I start vegetable seeds but have very poor results. I have thought about using an old aquarium for this. My question is what type of light would I use and when would be a good time to start the seedlings?


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Answer from NGA
January 17, 1998

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I would be concerned about growing seedlings in an aquarium. Mainly I am thinking of soil drainage. Containers for seed starting need to have drainage holes and I am not sure how you would accomplish this with an aquarium. Also, you want good circulation around your growing seedlings to help prevent disease problems.

What sort of problems have you encountered in the past? Poor germination or problems such as damping off (when tiny seedlings mysteriously flop over and die)? A common problem is planting seeds in garden soil, rather than a sterile seed starting mix. If you want to post another question via the website with some details on the challenges you have faced previously we will certainly try to help.

Regarding lighting, seedlingslike to have a light source from above. A fluorescent light suspended so it is 1-2" above the seedlings works well. You'll need a system where you can adjust the height of the lights as the seedlings grow.

When to start depends a lot on what you want to grow. Most vegetable and flower seeds are started 6-8 wks. prior to the last frost date for your area...there are, of course, exceptions.

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