Best Light for Seedlings
We recently had a question from a customer on what kind of lights we're using to start seeds.
It may not be the lack of Light!
Seedlings don't need super intense light!
In fact, we bought a super bright 100W LED light last year (shown above) but it was so bright it burned up our seedlings when we put them under it! They looked great until we put them under the light – then they slowly started turning purple and brown and stopped growing. We pointed the light away but the damage was done. If we had suspended it much farther away from the seedlings it may have worked, but it was just too close and too bright. We THOUGHT that brighter light was better, but alas, this is NOT the case.
So you don't have to spend a fortune, you can use old cheap shop lights (4 ft. garage T-8 flourescent light fixtures) and they will still work great for starting seeds!
If you're using basic fluorescent lights, it is good to keep the lights close. We like to start them out at 2 to 4 inches above the top of the soil and as the seedlings grow taller, we move the lights up to keep them about 4-6" away from the seedlings.
We have a couple of old fluorescent light Aerogardens that work great for starting pepper seeds (see photo above and at the top of this post), we use a seedling starter tray with 50 pods and it works great to start 50 different pepper plants! The only downside is that they need to be transplanted pretty soon after they start getting their real leaves as the seedling tray sponges are quite narrow so the roots start to get stuck if you leave them in too long.
Seedlings transplant very well from an Aerogarden as well, even directly into the garden (after hardening seedlings off first, of course.) Now Aerogardens are using LEDs, which we've also seen do quite well. They are expensive, though, so if you're on a budget check out Craigslist to find used Aerogardens for a much more affordable price!
Learn how to Start Pepper Seeds in your Aerogarden
On a budget? Check out this cheapest way to start seeds:
If you're on a super tight budget, you don't even need lights at all! Check out our Winter Sowing method tips for more info on recycling jugs to serve as mini-greenhouses that you can start seeds for in the winter and early spring months OUTSIDE! Check out our cool weather veggie seeds which work great for winter sowing, even in the heart of winter!
Learn more about How to Grow Peppers »