Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Seed Starting Setup

Bucolic Bushwick Seed Starting Setup
Eggplants, peppers and tomatoes were started last weekend. The cucumbers and melons will come in April. My target planting date is mid May. I know that seems a bit late, but I prefer to wait for nighttime temperatures to warm up before I put plants on the roof.

I started every Atris pepper seed in the packet (10), but I only intend to use 3 or 4 on the rooftop so there will be several to give away in a few weeks. I started extra Sun Gold cherry tomato seeds to give away too. I'll let you know when everything is ready.

As you can see from the photo I bought a grow light. Actually, I was shopping for desk light when I noticed I could buy a grow light for the same price so I figured why not. Plus, since I now have a grow light I can reclaim the desk light I was using in my indoor gardening experiment. I no longer need to buy a desk light!

The seed tray sits in a south facing window over a seedling heat mat. I placed a towel at the bottom of the window to block drafts. Both the heat mat and the grow light on are on timers. The light is on for 16 hours a day and the heat mat is on for 12 hours a day, from 8pm to 8am. The windowsill is warm enough during the day to not require an extra heat source.

Bucolic Bushwick Seed Starting Setup
The grow light completes my seed starting setup.  While I'm happy that I bought the heat mat and grow light hindsight tells me I could live without the seed tray & dome. A clear plastic tote or an aluminum baking pan with a clear plastic lid would work just as well and can be bought for much cheaper.

Now I will only need to buy seed starting mix in the future.  For seed starting I prefer Jiffy peat pellets, the mesh casing really let roots breathe, I've never had a problem with damping off while using them. Also, since they're self contained they are much easier and tidier to work with than a loose mix. Unfortunately, I can no longer find them locally, so unless I can find them online for a decent price I'm going to be stuck with loose seed starting mix next year.

Last weekend I also direct sowed some root vegetables on the roof. Hopefully they won't get blown away. If it's a sunny day going out on the roof is ok, but it's still too chilly to stay for an extended period of time.  I look forward to the day that I can comfortably sit out there with a cup of tea and watch the city move around me.

2-Foot T5 Grow Light System: $45.66

Running Total: $96.55

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  1. I've been using paper tubes with potting soil and/or starter mix. My tomatoes are coming up now.
    I like to shove the paper tube into the bag of mix. The soil stays in the tube and I don't have a mess!

  2. Hi Frank, thanks for the suggestion. Actually I started hoarding paper tubes after I saw your post about them. I've also been hoarding yogurt cups and egg cartons so I'll have a bunch of options next year.

  3. Seems you have started so many things. Whereas I could plant only potato and tomato. These 2 things I need very much. I was planning for Brinjel but due to worms & insects probs I dropped.

    Btw how can you maintain all those from your daliy routine?


  4. Hi Helen, I have a small garden, so I only started a few seeds of every type, they can all fit on one windowsill. I check the seedlings twice a day, once before work and once before sleep.

  5. I've been hinting to my husband that I want a grow light system for my birthday this month. Crossing my fingers! Your system is fantastic, I have a heat mat also and it's amazing.

  6. I started holding on to document pipes after I saw your publish about them. I've also been holding on to natural glasses and egg packages so I'll have a lot of alternatives next year.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!