As temperatures start to warm, you might be buzzing with spring fever and looking forward to summertime days spent in your garden. If you’ve got a green thumb (or you wish you did) you might be anxious to get your fingers in the dirt and start growing things. Even if your last risk of frost is still a long way off, you can get your garden fix by starting plants from seed indoors. You don’t need a complicated or costly greenhouse to do it either. A trip to your local home repair store or construction consignment shop will provide you with all you need to get started growing veggies or flowers indoors.
What do you need?
- a fluorescent shop light
- metal chain and two eye hooks
- grow bulbs
- starter soil
- heat mat
Rather than spend a fortune on your indoor growing setup, there are ways to repurpose easy-to-find items to start your plants indoors. First, decide what you’d like to grow this summer and consult your local garden center to learn when it’s safe to plant outdoors and what kind of plants grow best in your climate. When you’re ready, swap out the flourescent lights in your shop light for grow lights which are available at garden centers and home improvement stores. These bulbs are specifically designed for growing plants, as a regular bulb won’t cut it. Use your chain to suspend the light from the ceiling with the eye hooks and allow for some extra slack so you can move the light up and away from the plants as your seedlings grow.
Basements are great locations for this setup, but any out-of-the-way area will do. Set a timer to ensure that your seedlings get the proper amount of light per day and remember to keep a consistent watering schedule. Overwatering is just as bad as underwatering, so make sure you read all the information on your seed packets to understand what your plants need to thrive.
Seedlings thrive in warmth so a heat mat is an efficient way to ensure consistent temperatures for your growing plants. These waterproof heat mats are specifically made for starting plants indoors and are to be placed underneath your tray of seedlings. When you’re ready, plant your seeds in starter soil. This soil is nutrient rich and blended specifically for indoor growing. You can use cardboard egg cartons, dixie cups, or any small vessel to get your plants started. Keep in mind that as they grow you may need to transfer them to a larger container. When the risk of frost is over and your soil is warm, you can then transfer your seedlings into the ground in your backyard or into containers of the proper size.