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High Mowing Organic Seeds
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Seed Starting Workstation - by Megen Hall, High Mowing Organic Seeds Sales Associate

As you flip through your seed catalog and fantasize about your summer garden, you may want to consider that the time for starting seeds is right around the corner.  While it may be convenient to purchase a ready-made seed starting workstation, you can easily DIY for a fraction of the cost.  Depending on the size of your garden or how many seeds you wish to start, you can tweak the following plan to suit your individual needs. 

Let’s begin with the list of supplies that you will need to get started.  Some of the following items may already be available to you in your home, while others may need to be purchased.   
  • You will definitely need at least one fluorescent light fixture with chains, fluorescent bulbs, and two screw eyes per fixture.
  • If you plan to build the proposed structure to hang your lights from, you will need a couple of 2” x 4” wooden boards (you actually need 12 board feet for the following plan),
  • a saw,
  • some nails and/or screws and
  • a hammer and/or screw gun.
  • Other items that you may need are a power strip, extension cord, timer, and seedling heat mat.
When choosing a place in your home to set up your seed starting station, find a spot where the temperatures stay between 65 and 75 degrees F.  It is also handy to set up near an electrical outlet, but you can use an extension cord with a power strip if this is not possible.  Seedlings need approximately 12 hours of light per day, so setting up a timer for you lights is ideal, but you can also turn them on and off manually if you choose.  A seedling heat mat is also advised for certain crop types, such as tomatoes and peppers, to keep the soil a few degrees warmer for seed germination requirements.

If you do not already have a place to hang your fluorescent light fixture, you can begin by building a simple structure from which you will hang your lights.  Get your tool belt ready for a handyman’s (or woman’s) adventure.  I am inclined to warn you that I am no building pro, but this structure is super easy to build!  Begin by cutting your boards into the following dimensions:
  • two 2’ lengths for your base,
  • two 18” lengths for your upright posts, and
  • one 5’ length for your cross bar. 
Next, screw or nail your upright posts to your base from the bottom, using 2 nails/screws per joint.  Then, screw or nail your cross bar to your posts from the top.  If you wish to build a structure that will hold two light fixtures, you can adapt the plan to include two upright posts on either side with two cross bars.  If you are handier or more adventurous than I am and you would like an even larger unit, you could also build a multi layered shelf system or purchase a shelving kit to set up with. 

After you’ve built your structure (or have chosen a place in your home to hang your lights), screw the eye screws to your cross bars, hang your fluorescent light fixture, and plug in your lights (and optional timer and seed mat) to be sure they are in working order, and voila, you are ready to grow!  Use the chains to adjust the height of the lights so they sit within a couple inches of your flats so that your seedlings get enough light and don't grow leggy.  You can raise the lights as they grow. Finally, check out High Mowing’s very own seed starting video for lots of great tips and advice for starting your own seeds indoors.  Have fun and grow good things!

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