It’s Seed Starting time again in Michigan!

It is finally here! IT IS time to get everything ready to start your #GardenSeeds indoors. Here are a few things you can do now in January.
1. Make sure you have a sturdy seed rack
2. Make sure your #lights are on a pully system that is easy to raise and lower.
3. Start assembling your seedling containers.
4. Get your catalogs out and order your #Organic #NonGMO #seeds.
5. Get or make a  good “soil-less” growing medium. EX: Jiffy Organic seed starting mix
As the season gets closer there will be more #OrganicGardeningPosts
This year, I am moving the seed-starting table to a larger area. I admit that my set-up has grown to be pretty large. I raised TONS of plants with my system, but if you are new at this, you probably only need to find space for one or two lights.
I use standard cheap light fixtures with regular 40-watt fluorescent light bulbs and have found that there are three keys to making regular bulbs work as well as the expensive ones.
1. You need to use new bulbs every season
2. You need to keep the lights very close to the plants.
3.You need to leave them on for a long time each day but not continuously. 16 to 18 hours of light per day is not too much but remember they do need some amount of “dark”. I turn mine on when I wake up each morning and off when I go to bed.

I like to hang my lights from a pully system. I move the light fixtures up a little at a time as the plants grow. If you don’t want to put hooks in the ceiling, you could build a wood frame (pictured here) to hang the light from our buy a light stand.

grow rack
Think about Warmth & Watering for seed germination

Most seeds need warmth, approximately 60 F, to germinate. If you are only going to raise a flat or two of #seedlings at a time, a great option is to use #SeedlingHeatMats. . Heat mats work really well because they provide constant and automatic heat to the flats of newly planted seeds.

I am able to keep the seeds warm by using the greenhouse trays with the clear plastic lids that form a mini-greenhouse. I would put those in the laundry room or furnace area, even on top of the hot water heater until they germinate.

Your young seedlings need plenty of water. To minimize over or under watering, I use trays that hold water under my containers of soil and seed. All of my containers have holes in the bottoms to allow water in and out. Peat pots work great for this, or you can make pots with recycled newspapers. I also like to use the plastic cell packs that have holes in the bottoms.

Last but not Least…Make sure to Harden Plants Off before putting them in the garden!
A few weeks before planting day, start setting #seedlings out on warmer days. Continue to give them more and more outside exposure unless the temperatures are supposed to drop to near or below freezing. Hopefully, a week or so before planting, they can be outside 24 hours a day for a week.

Garden on my friends! See you again when the season gets a bit closer.

2 thoughts on “It’s Seed Starting time again in Michigan!”

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