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Starting Seeds

Tomato Seedling 800

Getting Growing

This year I’m starting my seeds under grow lights

Last year I took over my kitchen with seed starts. We have a long bar table under the window where we eat most of our meals and last year it made the perfect place for 200+ seedlings to live until they could move into the greenhouse outside to harden off. From the beginning of April through June we had to eat elsewhere.

This year, determined to not take over the kitchen again, I bought one of those little greenhouse shelves and some grow lights and I’m using that space to start my seeds. It was supposed to be a substitute for the eating area in the kitchen but I think I’m going to end up taking over both places before everything gets moved outside. Oh well, I tried. I probably should have ordered a second shelf and set of lights but I’m sure I’d still find a way to overflow two of them. Planting seeds is rather addictive.

Anyway, the plants are doing really well under the grow lights. We’ve been eating the baby lettuce already and, boy, is it ever nice to eat something fresh picked and green when it’s freezing cold and snowy outside. I made burgers last night and loaded mine up with fresh lettuce and red onions from the garden last year. Maybe I was just really hungry but that was the best burger I’ve had in a long while. If only the tomatoes were producing as well. I sure miss fresh tomatoes.

I definitely highly recommend the grow lights over just using window light like I did last year. The plants are so much healthier looking this year compared to last. The seeds germinated way faster too. The lettuce had sprouted after not even 24 hours had passed! If you’re going to go the grow light route, I’ll share a few things I’ve learned so far.

One, you need to get those lights as close as possible to the plants. Like just a few inches above them. The light needs to be super close or the seedlings will grow leggy.

Two, tomatoes LOVE the purple grow lights. Other plants probably do as well but tomatoes are my favorite and I only had one purple light so I gave it to them. This year’s plants are short and stocky and really healthy. I’ve never had tomatoes look this good. Tomatoes and I have a rocky history, last year was the first year I’ve ever successfully grown them, so that’s not saying a lot BUT the tomatoes do look really good.

Three, if you get one of the greenhouses, don’t expect to keep it closed all the time. It gets way too humid in there. I bought mine thinking I could keep it zipped to keep the cats and dog from eating my plants but condensation builds up on the inside and the hygrometer reads 99% humidity when I do. That ended up causing a bit of a mold issue with my spinach at first. I lost half of my spinach plants before I caught on. I zip it up at night when no one is keeping an eye on things and leave it open during the day. Thankfully, so far (knock on wood), the animals haven’t really bothered the plants. Renji, my beagle, has snacked on a lettuce leaf here and there but that’s it.

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About The Author

I’m Krystal and I’m one of those quirky, super-introverted folks that’s in legit danger of becoming a hermit. You know the type. I generally leave the mountain once a week for provisions, fill the car to the brim with chicken feed, shavings, groceries and any building supplies I need, and then hurry back home where it's quiet and less people-y.

Working to turn our property into micro farm with gardens and chickens has become my passion. On any given day you're pretty much guaranteed to find me outside doing something if you happen to stop by. Whether it's building (yet another) chicken coop or some other project I've dreamed up, cleaning out the coops I've already made, working in the garden or just spending time with the chickens you'll find me outdoors most of the daylight hours, every single day. If you happen to catch me indoors, I'm probably either in the kitchen or in a heap of papers planning my next project.

We are a homeschooling family and I homeschool my 11 year old son. We love the freedom it gives the whole family.

When I'm not doing any of the above, you can find me working on a website design project for a client. Over the spring/summer I take very limited bookings because things are so busy but I get back to it in the fall/winter months when the garden is gone and the chickens go to bed early. If you're curious, you can check out my design work at

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