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Welcome to our Grow Lights Setup! This setup is the result of a couple of years of trial and error, but I am now confident that this is all you need to start your seedlings from scratch every spring. We’ll cover materials like seedling trays, as well as more expensive items such as grow lights. So let’s dive in:
- Seedling trays. There’s an art to choosing the best size for seedling trays, so that it holds the perfect amount of water and gives the roots enough room to grow. These germination plugs are perfect when coupled with 1020 bottom trays.
- Nursery pots. When it’s time to transplant seedlings to bigger pots, you’ll need nursery pots. I recommend getting 2.5 inch nursery pots, ideally square so you can fit them in the 1020 trays.
- Humidity domes. Some seeds won’t germinate unless the environment is really moist and they have access to light without drying out. You’ll only need one or two humidity domes for the germination phase.
- Seed starting mix. You can create your own seed starting mix, as long as you have the right ingredients and use the right ratios. Or you can save yourself the trouble and use a high quality, organic seed starter.
- Indoor watering can. This might be a silly tool to have – after all, you can just use a bottle – but a watering can nozzle is ideal for accessing those seedling trays for bottom watering.
Grow lights are a high-ticket item, and I suggest you invest in professional, full-spectrum hydroponic lights that are energy-efficient and don’t put out too much heat. I bought 3 lights to fit my 3 shelves and this surface covers all my indoor gardening needs.
- Mars Hydro TSL 2000. I chose these particular grow lights from Mars Hydro for their shape and how they perfectly fit my shelving unit. You can choose a different size to meet your own needs.
Let me tell you, these lights did not disappoint! They’re so strong, but their intensity is adjustable, suitable for the seedling, flowering and fruiting stage of a plant. You can even grow a tomato plant from start to finish with the help of these lights. If anything, you should be worried that seedlings grow too fast, so don’t start your seeds too soon!
Indoor Growing Setup:
- Heavy duty shelving unit. Why not go vertical when growing plants indoors and save some space? Most of us don’t have an entire room to dedicate to indoor growing. So here’s a heavy duty shelving unit similar to what I use – it needs to be sturdy, and ideally have a wire rack so you can secure the lights to it. I use a 4-shelf unit.
- Seedling heat mat. Not all seeds are made the same, some need heat to germinate, others like it a little colder. To fix this difference, you can use one seedling heat mat for starting your heat loving plants, while you start your cool weather crops on the bottom of the shelf with no heat mat underneath.
- Oscillating fan. If you’re not careful, you can get mold on your seedling’s growing medium, or even worse – on your walls. Always use an oscillating fan to get rid of excess moisture. As a bonus, your seedlings’ stems will be sturdier from the wind-like effect.
- Space Heater. If you’re planning to grow your seedlings in a room that gets cold – like a basement – make use of a space heater during those early spring months, when nights can get really cold.
- Plug-in timer. You’ll need to run your grow lights 12 to 16 hours per day, so a plug-in timer is the best way to automate this. As for heat mats, I like to leave them running 24/7.
- Thermometer. Lastly, this may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll need a digital thermometer to keep track of the temperature underneath your grow lights, and maybe another one that monitors the room temperature away from your setup. Choose a digital thermometer that has a humidity meter too – it will come in handy.
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Have a great gardening season!