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More Light Please!

Tomatoes reaching for light and peppers just germinating in the center.

Did you plant a few seeds inside over the last several weeks?  Do they look like my tomatoes that I made the mistake of planting alongside some peppers that took over a week longer to germinate?  Are they a little ‘leggy’?  If you answered yes to this last question then you and I need to provide our young friends with a little more light!  ‘What?’ you say, ‘I put them in my south facing window.  What more can I do?’  The answer is supplementary light.

Plants need more broad spectrum light than our northern latitudes can provide at this time of year.  For more details about light needs of your plants check out my post about lighting for seedlings that I wrote a couple of years ago.

So, what can you do to provide more light for you seedlings now that they are up and reaching for the sun.  You can buy something, make something or make what you have work…

Photo credit: Harris Seed Co

Buy Something:
This is the most expensive but also most likely the least time consuming option.  You can check out any number of on-line seed/nursery companies for light stands that range from a simple on the counter stand to a multi-layered, adjustable light stand.  I’ll leave you to search those options out yourself since I have no experience with these.

Make Something:
This can be as expensive or in-expensive as you choose.  I took this option when I began my adventure in starting my own seeds.  I ended up spending about $45 on my 4 layer, 3 light stand about 4 years ago.  You can get more information on how I made my stand in my post on lighting for seedlings.  My stand has grown over the years, but the basic structure and working are still the same today.

I have also seen and pinned several ideas on Pinterest that would be worth checking out, like this counter top stand made from PVC pipe or this one from wood.

Make It Work:
I have a very good friend who decided to make what she has work and that for her was as simple as her under the cabinet lighting in the kitchen.  She places her seedlings on a shelf so that they are just a few inches under her standard florescent kitchen cabinet lights, turns the lights on and leaves them on.  I have watched her do this with success for several years and it works very well for her.

Whatever you choose to do, the key is placing the light about 2 inches above the seedlings and giving them the number of hours broad spectrum light they need.  Do that and your plants will be healthier and stronger when you are ready to move them outside into their summer homes.

I’d love to hear what you do to provide your seedlings with the light they need to stay strong and healthy.  If you make your own stand come back & let us know how it has turned out.

Happy Indoor Gardening. 🙂