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What Does it Take to Start Your Seeds Indoors?

Date Posted: March 16, 2016

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener What Does it Take to Start Your Seeds Indoors?
photo credit: Mike the Gardener

The best way to get a jump start on your gardening season, regardless of which zone you are in, is to start your seeds indoors under a grow light system. There are no special skills or magic needed to get a grow light system up and running. All you need is an electric outlet, and some basic supplies and you are good to go.


You probably own many of the items you will need. Items such as a surge protector, a timer, something to plant your seeds in and of course the seeds. What you may not have and what you think is the hard part of this whole process are the lights themselves and something to hang the lights on.


Don’t worry, you can get these items at your local hardware store, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes or online at Amazon and they are inexpensive. Of course cost depends on how basic you want to go, to other advanced setups. As with my other beginning gardening tips, always start small and keep it simple. As you can see in the video I created below, my grow light system setup is as basic as it can get. Shelves, lights and my seed starting trays. Nothing fancy.

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While I know many home gardeners that have setups that are far more advanced than mine, here is a basic list of the items you will need to make your grow light setup a success.

  • Seed Trays - Something to start your seeds in

  • Soil - Your seeds have to grow in something with nutrients

  • Seeds - Without these, what`s the point, right?

  • Shop Lights - Sure you can get fancy LED grow lights, but shop lights are inexpensive, available anywhere lights are sold and easy to get replacement bulbs.

  • Shelves - You will need something for your seed trays to sit upon, otherwise they would be free floating and I haven't quite figured out yet how to defy gravity, so I use shelves.

  • Surge Protector - I recommend a 6 outlet variety. Your surge protector will plug into your timer (explained next) and then into a nearby outlet.

  • Timer - You will need something to tell the electricity when to turn on and when to turn off and a timer is a great way of doing that. No need to go fancy here. I went with a $5 analog timer from Target. I set the start time on it and the end time, and I am done.

That’s it. That’s all you need to get going. You’ll see in the video that this is basically all I have.

What Does it Take to Start Your Seeds Indoors?

Here are a few questions that I have received in the past:

  1. How long do you keep the lights on? Mine run for 12 hours everyday. I have not seen any greater effects by running them longer.

  2. Do you need special soil? No. A good organic potting soil will do.

  3. What wattage are the bulbs? 40. Will 60 or 100 work better? I don’t know. 40 works for me and they are inexpensive.

  4. How are you hanging the lights? Shop lights come with a small chain and hook. One end attaches to the shop light and you attach the other end to the shelf above on a multi shelving unit. If you are not using a multi shelving unit you will need to construct something for your lights to hang from.

  5. When will I know when my plants are ready to move outdoors? This has nothing to do with your grow lights. When the weather in your area says they are ready, then they are ready.
I am sure you have a lot more questions and I am here if you need me. Write your questions in the comments section below or email me directly at

Happy gardening!

Please share this article! Let`s get everyone gardening!

Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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If you want to learn more about starting your seeds indoors under grow lights, check out these titles below:


grow light walmart, led grow light, grow light kits, grow light lowes, diy grow light, grow light bulb, grow light home depot, grow light amazon

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