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If you’re like me, you’re already itching to get summer crops growing even though the threat of frost is looming for another two months.  Indoor germination is a great idea, but only if you follow the rules.  Don’t and you will end up with weak starters that won’t survive the transplant to outdoors.  And for those not ready to build  a cold frame or a hot bed greenhouse, a simple set-up indoors will provide a more economical option to purchasing transplants.

photo credit www.gardeners.com

photo credit www.gardeners.com

When setting up a growing station, commercially purchased set-ups are always available, but it’s easier and cheaper to just purchase a two-bulb fluorescent lighting fixture, hooks and chains, hanging the lamp from a ceiling joist and making sure that the chains are long enough to adjust as the height of the plant changes.  Another option is to build a 2×4 or PVC pipe frame to hang the light fixture from.

Fluorescent grow bulbs are available (two 40 watt bulbs per fixture).  In a pinch, one cool white and one warm white bulb, both 40 watt, can be used.  But if you are like me, not only wanting to save money but also to actively be kinder to Mother Earth, LED grow bulbs are available for an eco-friendly option starting at around $50.  Remember that LED costs are higher upfront, but the savings in electricity and lifespan are unbeatable.

Plant seeds according to instructions, keeping the bulbs approximately 6-12 inches above plant height and soon spring will arrive and you’ll be ready to transplant those summer crops!