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About this seed starting business...

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About this seed starting business...

Post  dizzygardener on 2/6/2011, 2:12 pm

Sooooo, I have a sunny unobstructed south-facing window. I'm thinking of starting my seedlings there. I have a couple of those seed starting trays with plastic "greenhouse" lids.

Will this be sufficient to start seeds?

I see a lot of you talking about grow lights and basements and timers, fans, thermometers, etc. I guess I don't understand why. My grandmother always started her seeds on the sun porch in trays. My MIL does the same: sun porch in trays. They always had/have beautiful lush gardens. Am I missing something here?



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Re: About this seed starting business...

Post  martha on 2/6/2011, 2:44 pm

Everybody says starting seeds in a windowsill isn't enough light. I have done it before, and found that it wasn't enough light. HOWEVER!!! Last year, I started my seeds in a window sill, expecting to use supplemental grow lights. I never used the lights, and I had a phenomenally successful year with my seeds! I had over 70 tomato plants - by the time I planted them outside their stems were probably bigger in diameter than a pencil.

So my take on it is, as long as you won't be heartbroken if it doesn't work - go for it!


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Re: About this seed starting business...

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/6/2011, 2:46 pm

I live in the Pacific NorthWest and we do not usually have enough sun from November thru April to start seedlings on a windowsill. In fact last year we had mostly rain, clouds and fog well into May and June.

Some people must start their seedlings in the basement because they don't have suitable space on their main floor, or the orientation of the house does not allow for enough sunny windowsills. I would love a sun porch like my sister has in FL.

Because most seedlings require 10 - 14 hours of light everyday, both of the situations above require supplemental light and sometimes warming mats for the seeds to germinate and thrive.

If you can start your seedlings on a sunny windowsill, and have them thrive, that is wonderful. Wish I could too.


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Re: About this seed starting business...

Post  Old Hippie on 2/6/2011, 3:33 pm

I am with you Furbalsmom. There is NO way I could start seeds on the windowsill and have them do well. We don't get nearly enough sunlight in the winter. It would be wonderful to have a sunporch, but even that would not be good enough here in the north. A grow light is the only way I can do it.


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Re: About this seed starting business...

Post  dizzygardener on 2/6/2011, 5:16 pm

Hmm, I see.

Well, looks like this year I'll be running a bit of an experiment! I'll report back on the progress.

I'm hoping things workout in my favor because I'd rather not get all the lights, etc. I've already got a lot of money into the garden prep since I have to construct all my beds and buy all the seeds/plants/sets this year.


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Re: About this seed starting business...

Post  LaFee on 2/6/2011, 5:29 pm

I'm farther north than all of you geographically, and I started my seeds last year on a shelf I freecycled laid across my old concrete laundry sink (original to the house ca. 1870). I have big (2-1/2' high and 5' wide) windows just behind that sink that face east, so that room gets whatever natural light exists for the day.

I had great luck with most of what I started on that sad little shelf, so this week will start seeds for this year -- tomatoes, basil, jalapenos, green peppers, etc., etc. off in paper-fibre egg cartons. The lettuce got a little leggy, but it recovered within a few days after I planted them in my box.

Do what works for you...whatever that may be.


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Re: About this seed starting business...

Post  quiltbea on 2/6/2011, 5:42 pm

I couldn't get enuf light to start seeds in my West facing windows. I have a basement apt and that's all I had available for sunlight.
I had to get a heat mat and shop lighting but wow, it worked wonders. I had enuf to give away plants to others and for our library's June plant sale.

If you have the sunlight, try it. It would save lots of $$$.
Good luck.


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Re: About this seed starting business...

Post  miinva on 2/6/2011, 7:49 pm

Not much to add, but I wanted to say that the fans are probably because moving the plants makes the stems stronger. Some people put fans on them and some people run their hands over them whenever they check on them. Anything that moves them can be beneficial, from what I've read. This is my first year starting seeds inside Smile


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Re: About this seed starting business...

Post  elliephant on 2/6/2011, 11:06 pm

I've got just about all the windowsills in my house filled with tomato and pepper seedlings right now. The first ones to sprout are a bit leggy because we had a few cloudy days right after they sprouted. But the rest aren't leggy at all. The ones that are happen to all be tomatoes, so I'll just bury that part anyway!


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Re: About this seed starting business...

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