Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Affordable Lighting for Starting Seeds Indoors

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. 
~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

Hello fellow gardeners.  Spring is just around the corner and I can barely conceal my anticipation to see my garden begin the process of waking up.  Yesterday, I was discussing my garden plan with a co-worker and he brought up a question about lighting for my indoor seedlings.  The poor guy really opened up a can of worms since I have a tendency to go a bit overboard with advice.

 He said he typically places seedlings in a sunny window sill and they grow spindly and eventually fall over and die.  My advice to him was basically use florescent lighting because his seedlings will not receive sufficient sunlight exposure to ensure healthy growing habits.  An elaborate set-up is not needed.  Simply purchase a florescent shop light unit (they are relatively inexpensive) and a couple of bulbs (they are very reasonable) from your local home improvement center.  I normally purchase 8-foot-long bulbs (cool, white) because I start the majority of my seeds indoors.  The hubby brings the units we’re not using out of the basement and suspends them from the ceiling over my seed starting table.

If you are only going to start a few seeds indoors, you can even purchase small screw-in grow light bulbs and place them in inexpensive desk lamps. In the past, I have used several desk lamps (borrowed from the kids’ rooms) and received marginal success.

Well, I have to close for now.  I hope this post helped.  Until later…Taa-taa!



  1. Hi Angela, thanks for visiting my blog today. I like your idea of using the smaller CFL light bulbs for the seedlings. With the window coating for energy efficiency on our glass, it cuts the light spectrum that the plants need.

  2. You're more than welcome, Janet. I always find it amazing of how small things (like those little CFLs) can make such a big difference.


  3. You are so right! I bought a few of the cheap and now rusty but fantastically serviceable fluorescent lamps from the hardware store many years ago. Sometimes a light wears out, but all and all...those lamps have grown hundreds of dollars in produce. You don't need fancy.

    The window sill growing just doesn't work in this house and have not had any luck in the past.

    Great ideas on your blog Angela!! Thanks for visiting mine.


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