Lights for Seed Starting

Asked December 13, 2017, 2:42 PM EST

I would like to buy a 4-feet T8 fluorescent fixture from Home Depot and use it for seed starting in March (tomatoes, basil, etc) to transplant in my backyard garden. Will that work for growing seedlings? Should I be looking for a specific wattage or anything else like lumens or 4100K (I see that thrown around and am not sure what that means).Everytime I grow them by the window, they get real leggy so I want to try indoor lights. Also, how many lights would I need, especially if I have a lot of seedlings. I see some fixtures come in two-bulb strips and others come in 6. If I cover the sides of the shelf with aluminum foil so the light will bounce and reflect, would that mean I don't need as many lights? Or should I not line the sides with the foil so the plants can breathe? Or should I just line the top and one side with the foil? Thanks!

Howard County Maryland vegetables herbs plant care lights for seed starting

1 Response

Yes, growing by a window seldom gives you the robust seedlings you are looking for. Starting too early can also be a problem.
Take a look at this page, and the links within that will give the information that you need for your lighting, etc.:
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/starting-seeds-indoors

This vegetable planting calendar from our website should also be helpful:
http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/not_update...

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