Starting seedlings under grow lights
Let us talk about grow lights . If you’re going to grow a Mittleider garden, or any garden for that matter, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not using them. But why use them you ask? Because starting your own seedlings gives you several distinct advantages. As a result of growing your seedlings indoors you get a jump on your growing season. Due to having 4-6 week old seedlings ready to plant as soon as the outdoor temperature is right your growing season will be longer. Starting seeds in the ground outdoors once it is warm enough versus transplanting healthy seedlings as soon as its time to begin gardening.
Another big advantage of starting seedlings is that the gardener can discard any weak seedlings. You can also start enough seeds to cover any seeds that fail to germinate. As a result you will have no empty spaces in your gardens row. And a full row looks fantastic. Not to mention, a full row of plants puts more food on your table and in your pantry.
Our grow light and heating mat setup
We setup our second grow light in the basement to start seedlings under. If you look under the seedling flats you will see the black seedling heat mats. The grow lights are each the Agrobrite T5, 4 foot long, 6 tube light fixtures.
The grow lights are each suspended with their own pair of Apollo Horticulture GLRP18 grow light hangers. After using these hangers I can honestly say I’ll never have another grow light setup that doesn’t include them. They make lifting and lowering the lights for watering or general access the seedlings an absolute breeze.
The seedling heat mats
These heat mats are important because they keep the soil and seed temperatures warm enough for germination to occur. It is especially relevant that if the correct temperature isn’t maintained the seedlings will die or seeds fail to germinate.
Our seedling heat mats are both Hydrofarm MT1009 48 X 20 inch mats that are controlled with a the MTPRTC, digital ETL certified thermostat designed for seedling germination. This thermostat is digital and very easy to use and setup. The digital timer to control the lights was more difficult to setup as compared to the thermostat.
Everything is connected to the surge protector and the lights controlled by an inexpensive digital timer/controller. The lights are on for 18 hours daily and the the heat mats are set to keep the seedling trays at 80 degrees.
For a better look at our system check out this YouTube video: