In past growing seasons, I’ve raised my seedlings under a grow light. An advantage of this method is faster seedling growth. Looking back at a previous post, I was amazed at how big my seedlings got in just three weeks being raised indoors under a grow light.
But because the seedlings got so comfortable indoors, they had to be carefully hardened off to withstand the outdoors. And that’s something I don’t have time to do these days. It’d be convenient if I could just leave my plants outside the whole day starting from day one. Also, grow lights use extra electricity.
So this year, I’m trying something different. Instead of raising my seedling indoors under lights, I’m bringing them outside as soon as they sprout. That’s where my raised bed greenhouse comes in, as well as these humidity domes:
I’m counting on these protection methods (and the moderate San Diego climate) to keep my seedlings surviving outside. While my seedlings are growing MUCH slower than they did under a grow light (due to cold night time temperatures and winter sunlight hours), I no longer need to bring them back indoors every day. They’re growing less leggy and I’m saving electricity, too.
Another experiment that I’m trying is insulating my germination tray with a solar blanket. I have a heat mat, but it doesn’t seem to get warm enough to germinate pepper seeds (in my experience, at least). So I reasoned that wrapping the heat mat and germination tray in a solar blanket would warm the setup more, hopefully for peppers to germinate. Time will tell.
I started my second batch of seeds to get a head start on the summer growing season:
- Thai basil
- Orange bell peppers
- Thai chili peppers
- America spinach (germinating via the paper towel method)
- Isis Candy Cherry tomatoes (these are a peaceful crop, I assure you)