From the garden of Beth DiGioia
Build a Grow Station
Mid-month it’s going to be time to start growing spring vegetables. The advantage to growing plants from seed is that the varieties available are endless. Unfortunately, there are few windowsills that provide enough light to grow sturdy, healthy plants. A solution is to build a grow station.
Any shelf unit will work; choose the size that will accommodate the number of plants you plan to grow and fit within the space you have. Choose one made of wire so that you can hang lights without too much fuss. Attach the lights with “S” hooks and chains so that the lights can be lowered and raised as the seedlings grow.
When choosing fixtures and fluorescent bulbs, there are several options:
T-12 are the traditional bulbs and fit most fixtures. T-8 bulbs fit most specialized light fixtures for growing plants. Both T-12 and T-8 bulbs should be kept 2-3” from the tops of plants. T-5 are high efficiency bulbs that are so bright they do the work of two bulbs. Keep T-5 bulbs 5-6” from the tops of plants to avoid burning.
Attach the fixtures to a timer so that the lights can be on for 12-14 hours a day. This will keep your maintenance down to just making sure the seedlings stay moist.
For more information about gardening, visit our McKinney Gardens page