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Indoor Seed Starters

If you want to learn how to build an indoor seed starter and get a jump on growing your own vegetables, here’s your chance. Many avid gardeners don’t take advantage of lag time between the end of winter and early spring. This period is prime time for the indoor seed grower.

Building the indoor seed starter is really very simple, but you do have to follow some guidelines to ensure success. Here’s what you need for a simple indoor seed starter:

  • Fluorescent lights (several) and somewhere to hang them
  • An old table
  • Soil cell containers with plastic covers

Some experts prefer using a soil block maker; this eliminates the use of containers. Experts say this process is healthier for the plant.

Many people use a basement area or laundry room to set up their mini-greenhouse. You can hang fluorescent lights from the ceiling or make a double decker lab out of tables and lights. The fluorescent light is the sun for your seedlings. The key is to provide long hours of light, between 15 and 17 hours per day. Keep the lights close to plants and use new 40-watt fluorescents. Long stages of bright lights will give the best results.

Once the staging area is set, mix in a peat base soil and some water until its damp and spongy like. Fill all of your cell packs or home made newspaper racks with the soil mixture and then add your seedlings. Don’t jam them below the surface, just sprinkle them on and add water. Make sure your containers have holes in the bottom for proper drainage and stronger roots. While the seedlings are germinating, keep them warm. Use a plastic cover to get that greenhouse effect. Once you see them sprout, remove the cover and move them into natural light. Avoid transplanting too soon, the last frost of the season usually hits around the middle of May.




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