AO Gardener Series: Tending to Seedlings Under Lights

The team here at AO is excited to share that we’ll be featuring some new contributors here on the GROW blog, all geared to get you inspired to grow. With the season right around the corner, we wanted to offer a resource for anyone out there who wants to go green, whether you’ve never handled a spade to being a well-versed professional, we want to share the experiences of voices from all levels of green-thumbery!

Just as the days get longer and I find myself coming in at 8pm, it’s also the season to tend to plant babies indoors if you have seedlings going under lights.  

Ideally your lighting system should have a timer set for 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness when it is truly dark outside.  

Monitor the seedlings to make sure they aren’t too far from the lights that they are leggy and weak and reaching for light, but also watch that they don’t show signs of burning from being too close.  If they are leggy or your aren’t sure what the immature plant is meant to look like, a safe bet is to dig them deeper into the soil than normal so you decrease the length of the main stem.  The right distance for the strength of your lights may be something like 6” away from the top of your new seedlings. 

When our seedlings were first seeded, I let them germinate with a dome overtop. While they germinate the domes get condensation building up and will need to be wiped out – or even better set aside and replaced with a dry dome.  I always found wiping them out to be time consuming and I felt like I was just pushing the water droplets around so letting the wet one air dry to the side always means there is a dry lid ready and saves much time.

When true leaves appear or you know instinctually your plants are underway, than you can remove the lids entirely.  Also, you really don’t want your plants to grow tall enough to touch the lid and without close inspection this happens fast.  If they touch the lid and start growing with a bend in them, you may be compensating for this bend the plants entire life.

I keep it simple and offer straight water until the lids come off.  This year I am offering my seedlings that are underway a squirt of Agrarian Organics ‘Plant Grow’ as a liquid nutrient system is really easy to use for working inside and a squirt bottle makes it easy to apply directly to the soil.  When it comes time to pot up the seedlings to bigger pots (as they get root bound) than I will mix in other non-liquid nutrients and organic matter, as they will start having specific needs.  

Lastly, have a fan on low blowing air around your seedlings so they grow strong and can handle being bumped, transplanted and windy days.  The stronger the stems means less staking for you – and in looking ahead – as you reap what you sow you always do want to look for quality efficiencies when growing a bounty of food!

 

 

OH HI!  I’M SONJA – AN OVER THE MOON INFATUATED FOOD GROWER IN BEAUTIFUL SQUAMISH BC WHICH LIES IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. I LOVE TO GET DIRTY OUTSIDE WITH FUNKY TUNES AND JUST FALL INTO THE MOVING MEDITATION / AMAZING WORKOUT - ALSO KNOWN AS VEGETABLE GARDENING.

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