Gardening. It is a challenge in our climate. At 6100 feet, our gardening season is quite short, cold and windy. Even though we have approximately 100 frost free days, only about 30 days are likely to be above 55 degrees.
If they are to have any chance at reaching maturity, annuals, perennials and most vegetables must be planted in the garden as seedlings or transplants instead of direct seeding.
It is difficult to provide enough light when starting seeds indoors. Lighting is critically important to all plants, but little seedlings seem to be especially sensitive to the light conditions.
This is my grow light set up. There are commercially available indoor grow light stands, but they are quite expensive. This one is comparable in size and costs $489 plus shipping!
- A metal bookcase from Target with 3 shelves. They frequently go on sale for less than $20 and are quite sturdy.
- Fluorescent shop lights, 2 per shelf (total of 4 bulbs per shelf). They’re very inexpensive and available at home centers and department stores. They come with little chains and S-hooks to suspend them. Adjust the chains so the lights are just barely above the plants.
- A timer is nice (but not necessary) to turn the lights on and off for you. The lights should be on 12-16 hours per day.
- Labels or plant stakes (I use popsicle sticks) so you don’t forget what you planted and thus feel sorry for yourself on a whole new level…
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