Instructables

Tomato and Pepper seed starting indoors

Since I wanted to enter the  Share Your Garden Photo Contest, and it is still about 2 weeks before it's safe to plant outside where I live, I'm showing my living room seed starting setup.  Here are pepper plants and tomato plants that I started in mid-April.  The desk lamps are on a timer so that they are on for about 16 hours each day.  I potted up the tomatoes when they got their first true leaves.  Peppers, on the far left, have only gotten their cotyledons so far, which don't do much for the mature plant.  When the next set of leaves start to come on, I'll put them in bigger pots.

Starting seedlings indoors during the cold weather is a great way to save money and provides a sign of hope that warm weather just may be on its way!    The whole project, seeds + seed starting medium, cost about $10.  I already had the desk lamps laying around, so I'm not counting the cost of those.  Cost of energy is a factor, but I'm just blissfully ignoring that for now.

The key to this type of setup is lots of light and not too much water. Window light alone is not sufficient where I live, even though is looks bright outside. Too much water and you risk dampening off, a condition that causes yellowing and plant death. Also, seed starting medium, which is very fine soil with a little vermiculite, is key to seed growth. Potting soil may contain sticks and rocks and other things that don't give a seedling much of a chance of pushing through.

Try starting your own seeds indoors instead of shelling out cash at the nursery - saves money and is pretty fun!
Shadowing813 years ago
Get compact fluorescent lamps, 13W upwards should do the trick. Try to find some with a tree digit color code starting with an 8 (827, 830, 840, 860, 865). Those "heatbulbs" simply don't emit enough usable (by the plants) light and convert most of the power to heat.
If you get tired of switching the lamps on and off, get a timer. About 18 hours of light would be optimal so just fill up the times of day when ther is not enough light.
This shoud help you keep your electricity bill low ;-)

Try to put glasses over the young plants as they like a humid enviroment.

Overall nice start ^^
parkerpe (author)  Shadowing813 years ago
Thanks for viewing my project! I am using CFL's to keep the heat factor down. I have a timer set to come on around 6:15 am and it goes off around 10:45 pm. Thanks for the tip about the color codes! I didn't know that. And glasses over the young plants sounds like a great idea, especially for the peppers. The tomatoes seemed to really take off, but the peppers have been a bit slow to set their true leaves.
scoochmaroo3 years ago
This looks very cute. It would be super helpful with a little more information about what you've got going on here!
parkerpe (author)  scoochmaroo3 years ago
Scoochmaroo - I am a huge fan of your work and humbled that you have set eyes on my project! I have added some more detail which I hope will be helpful.

Thanks for the contest!
Thank you! This looks great. I'm sure starting seedlings indoors is a no-brainer for many, but I never know what kind of soil to use, or how much light or water to give. I think I have a black thumb!