Why should you use grow lights for starting seeds?
Seedlings require a vital light source, but natural light from windows isn’t enough for their healthy growth. Seedings with the lack of lighting show the signs of leggy and weak plant bodies. Grow lights can provide your seedlings with a specific light source without being influenced by the sudden change of weather. But, only grow lights aren’t efficient enough for complete development; you need to consider other elements.
Benefits of growing your own seedlings
This method is cheaper than buying nursery transplants.
You have more available options of seeds than standard plants at nurseries.
You can control your plant quality when growing your own transplants. You know that your plants have been taken good care of from the beginning without using unwanted chemicals.
You can still enjoy your gardening hobby inside while it’s snowy outside.
What Do You Need To Prepare?
Containers should be at least 2-3 inches in depth, having holes at the bottom for better drainage. You can simply use things that are available at your home, such as paper cups, milk cartons, and yogurt cups. With a better budget, you had better buy trays specially designed for seed starting because they are convenient, easy to move, and fill the tray. In particular, its watering system can provide your seedlings with consistent moisture.
Instead of using soil from your garden or re-use potting soil from your houseplants, potting soil (fresh and sterile mix) is healthier and more disease-free for your seedings. Burpee soil can expand when wet because it has many good seed-starting mixes from compressed coir pellets.
Too-wet and not-sterile growing medium can easily and quickly lead to disease, while heavy and sticky growing soil won’t allow fine new roots to push through it.
Before filling your containers, remember to moisten the planting mix in a bucket or a tub as long as it’s moist enough without sopping wet, gloppy, and crumbly. You also need to pack the soil firmly to remove gaps. Any mix already has nutrients, so you don’t have to feed the seeding with liquid fertilizer.
How To Plant Your Seeds In Trays
Before starting, you need to read the label of your seeds because each type requires a different level of depth. While you just have to sprinkle small ones right on the soil surface, the larger ones need to be buried. You should plant 2 seeds per pot in anticipation of unwanted cases. If both of them germinate, let you snip one to make room for another growth.
Using a mister or small watering can moisten the newly planted seeds, then cover these pots with plastic wrap or a plastic dome. This way can speed germination because it keeps the seedlings moist. Using a toothpick to poke some holes on the covering can improve ventilation. Without this step, the inside can develop mold. You remove this covering when seeing the sign of green inside.
After growing, moisten the soil by using a mister or a small watering can, but remember to keep the soil dry slightly between waterings.
Why Are LED Grow Lights The Best?
They are more energy-efficient than fluorescent. There are 2 types:
The freestanding lamp works well for a small area, about 10-15 seedlings.
Hanging lights are suitable for over 20 seedlings.
What should you use, a red or blue LED spectrum?
The LED blue light is helpful for veg/ growth, especially root development. Although it’s good, you shouldn’t apply all the time. If not, your plants can’t grow to their full potential.
The LED red light is helpful for flowering. Though this is a must for plants giving fruits, you won’t want to provide your vegetables and herbs with red light soon.
When Is The Ideal Time For Using Grow Lights?
Seed starting has 2 stages: germination and growing. The first stage is when the leaves and the roots emerge from the seeds. It hasn’t required much lighting because this process occurs under the soil. However, the germination needs gentle warmth from a special heat mat to keep your seedlings around 10ºF for faster germination.
After growing, green sprouts about ½ inches tall require lighting, so you can use grow lights at this stage.
How To Set Up Your Indoor Grow Light System?
Depending on your demands, you might need one or some wire shelving models to grow seeds and set up a light system on them.
Before setting up your indoor grow light system, you have to assemble your shelving by following the instructions to put pieces together correctly. If your shelves are adjustable, make sure to adjust all your models at the same level for a similar result.
Put your shelves near an outlet to plug your grow lights easily. The ideal location is far from heavy traffic, such as your pets, children, cold drafts, and excess heat.
Use the chains and s-hooks to hang your lights from the top and middle shelves. Keep a 2-3-inch distance from the top to the seedings for the best performance. Set the grow lights on a timer for 12-16 hours a day because seeds require darkness as well to take a rest. Plug your grow lights into the power strip timer and plug this timer into an outlet. When the seedlings grow taller, raise the lights to keep a certain distance.
Specifically, while new sprouts require 16 hours of light, mature seedlings need 10-14 hours of light.
Putting a fan in the seedling area is good for air movement and disease prevention.
It’s not ideal to directly move your seedlings from indoors into your garden because your seedlings need a gradual transition to harden off. Let you put your protected pots outdoors for some hours and bring them inside at night within 7 continuous days before setting them into your garden.
If you put your seeds by a window, remember to turn them regularly as long as the body won’t stretch toward the light.
It’s not hard to start seeds indoors with grow lights. You just need to prepare essential items, perform proper setups, and keep your inside garden a regular check to deal with unwanted issues timely.