From what I have read on other blogs we are all raring to go with seed sowing! Garden programmes advocate sowing seeds and leaving them on windowsills. Which may work up to a point but we have never found this really successful for bringing on seedlings. The seeds have germinated but then because the seedlings have had to hang around inside the house until temperatures in the greenhouse (especially at night) warm up they have grown weak and leggy. Quite a few years ago we bought a daylight bulb which helped for a while but the bulb lit up the whole spare bedroom with quite a bright light so when it eventually gave up we never replaced it.
Martyn was browsing garden websites recently to decide on a present that he would like for his birthday and he became fixed on an Indoor Grow Light Garden so we ordered one and it is now unpacked in a spare bedroom almost ready for action!
It isn't really set up properly yet but you'll get the general idea. The hood houses a couple of fluorescent light tubes and is coated to reflect light back downwards into the tray to maximise the effect.
The hood is adjustable so that it can be used for seed trays or taller plants meaning that plants can grow on under the tray until they can be moved into a cold frame or greenhouse to harden off. The kit came with four small plant troughs which can be used for larger plants but you can also place seed trays or pots inside the tray.
We also bought the optional extra self watering tray. This sits on the base of the unit and has a water reservoir into which is dipped capillary matting. The matting draws water up to the base on which the plants sit as it is needed. I guess this could also be used for watering house plants when you go on holiday.
We have tried to start seeds such as tomato and peppers, which benefit from an early start, in the past with little success so have wasted the seed and had to resow later - as mentioned above they have germinated but then struggled to grow into strong seedlings. These seeds will be ideal candidates for starting off using this kit. We will also maybe start off some early salad leaves and may even manage to grow some salad leaves through winter. I'll keep you up to date with how we get on.
Robin at Garden of Eden built her own germination table in her basement - if you click on the link you can see how she did this. We don't have the space to copy Robin - or the basement so had to go for a more compact version. If you want to read more information about the kit, we bought it from here. The website has some photos of it in action. I hope that we will have some similar photos to share shortly.
I know some of you have had more success than us using your windowsill as a garden space. Tanya at Allotments 4 You wrote a recent post about growing sprouting seeds - so what do you grow on your windowsill and how do you get over the problem of lack of light?