Friday, April 27, 2012

Tomato Seedlings and a DIY Grow Light

Now I've done it.  My little tomato seeds have all sprouted, so I am committed to caring for them for the next several weeks until they're ready to go out into the world our back yard. 

As recommended, I put two seeds in each cell, and almost all of them came up.  When the first true leaves form, I'll use a nail scissors to cut away the weaker of the two.

I made a trip to Lowe's last weekend and came home with a small  (25") shop light and two flourescent bulbs. 

I thought we would just mount it onto something and rest the tray of seedlings underneath, but it turned out to be more of a DIY project than I bargained for.  Maybe I am naive, but I assumed the light I bought would come with a plug.  It turns out that this thing had to be wired in, and it did not come with any instructions.  But Matt made us both proud.  He cut the end off an extension cord and stripped the wire casing back, and attached the appropriate wire ends to the right places.  Voilà- a shop light with a plug. 

You'll note that this shelving unit (an old wine display from a store that we picked up on the street on trash day) could accomodate another light and tray of seedlings, should I be successful at this endeavor and want to do even more next year. 

The self-watering tray has been great.  I haven't had to fill it up since I started the seeds a week ago. I check the level once a day by sticking my finger in the side, and then also touching the capillary mat to make sure it is still damp.  I've got the seedlings propped up on boards so that they are about 2 inches away from the light, and I'll remove boards as they grow.  The lights are on a timer for 14 hours a day. 

When it comes time to trim away the second seedlings, I'll also fertilize them. And, the last thing I'll do is add a fan, on low, per the grow-better-tomatoes-from-seed instructions on  The slight wind makes them stronger. 

I'm looking forward to doing some outdoor planting this weekend, but I'm sorry to say that it's also time to wash windows again.  Do you have anything good planned?  I hope you have a great weekend!

1 comment:

Tortla Dot said...

My, you are industrious! Weekend has been good. Friday: dinner at Dockside - perfect weather and fun music. Yesterday: shopping - returned with a pair of sorely needed sandals and escaped a visit to Sam's on Taste Day without buying a membership or any other single thing,
Today is laundry and stuff plus whacking back the hail damaged bougainvillea and tibouchinas. They loos so pitiful now that a severe cutback can only be good.
Keep up the tomato pets!