Seed starting is covered by so many experts that I’m not even going there. But, I do have an interesting tip to share.
Last fall, my daughter, granddaughter and I attended a garden club meeting where David O’Connor, or Dr. Tomato from the Veggie Clinic as he is known, was the presenter. He is so passionate about his seedlings and plants that he had us all on the edge of our seats until they literally came in and said the library was closing, and he needed to wrap it up.
One of his main issues was how the lumens or light output escapes into the room from the hanging lights that we all use to start seedlings. To combat this loss of light, he built a light box with silver backed insulation to reflect the light back onto the plants rather than disperse into the room. This really started me thinking because every year I rotate trays and move my lights in an all-out effort to keep the maximum amount of light on the new seedlings.
The one downside to this suggestion was that I’d have to store these boxes or pieces of insulation from year to year. I thought about the large, folding reflective silver screen we use in the window of our car when camping; but after telling my daughter about this idea, she came up with using the silver emergency heat blankets they give to her husband after he runs a marathon.
We bought four blankets for a total cost of $12. They are clipped around the shelving unit, and the light is successfully contained inside rather than straying into the room. An added bonus is that the temperature inside the draped shelving unit is several degrees higher than the temperature in the rest of the room. So far, we have reached a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 11 degrees increase inside the blankets.
When we have all our seedlings successfully planted outside, we can fold the blankets into their original small 4″x5″ package, and they can be stored just about anywhere ready for next year.
Every once in a while you have a Yankee gardening ‘aha’ moment, and this is definitely one of those times – $12 worth of silver emergency blankets has increased the light and temperature dramatically for our seedlings.
The grandkids are so excited they keep looking inside to see how many more seeds have sprouted.
If you try it, let me know how it works for you.
Thank you Dr. Tomato for your direction.
Grow seeds grow!
Update: 2013 Seedlings