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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:22 am 
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Location: New York
If you had the space, time, and money........ How would you set up your seed starting area? I want to build a better area for my in-door veggie seedlings. Right now, I'm using some 4' bulbs on a counter top. I'm looking for ideas and warnings, (what NOT to do).

I'm in the basement, temps range from 45, now in the dead of winter, to 75 degrees in the summer months.

I may even run a water line to the station.

What would you do if you could?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:14 am 
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Location: NH zone 4/5
I might first set up a census. Mmm something like actually setting out flat(S) for the known stuff you plant on a table someplace. I would note how many of those start out better with a warmer environment (like) peppers, tomato, eggplant.

If I hadta guess you filled up the lighted space under four foot floro lights.

Your build is going to be how you warm those cells that need it, plus how to not warm the ones that don't--like lettuce, onion, flowers.

One of the fixes for this (that used to be on here) was to build a whole separate box to warm the tender plants.

Lastly a hardening off space IN sunlight.

If this was mine to build I'd look at a heat mat and a cold frame out of doors.

Tools I might splurge on would be a GOOD watering can with a GOOD rose on it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:46 am 
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Location: Sunol, CA (9B)
It helps things keep warm if you enclose the lights/pots in a box of some sort. Mine is plywood, which conveniently comes in 4' widths for 4' lights. You can drill some holes in the top and bottom for ventillation, during winter you put something on top of the holes to retain heat, during summer you open them and the heat will rise out.

I've never had a vegetable that didn't like a nice warm place around 80'F for germination, even onions, ect will pop up quickly.

I have a greenhouse, which is great for hardening off, but poor for starting seeds in the spring. It gets to 80'F or more every day, which is great, but at night the temps drop to within a few degrees of the nighttime low, into the upper 30's in the spring, which causes warm season seedlings to emerge slowly and damp off. I tried starting all my veggies in the GH last year and ended up with a small number of sickly starts. (cool season veggies did very well though)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:34 am 
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Location: New York
Hi Tom and promethean_spark,

You've both touched on many of the things I've been thinking about. I've built a large Cold Frame. (see topic "My New Addition") So I'm good there.

I'm also toying with an idea about building a "Hoop Greenhouse". Approx. 4x8', 4-5' high.

The ceiling in my basement is only 6'. I'm thinking of hanging 4ml plastic curtians, enclosing the area. They can be pulled back to release heat, if needed. I don't think the over-all area will get "too hot", but you're right about it not being hot enough for some plants. I'm thinking heat mats under capillary trays, the water will assume the mat temperature. I may need to partition off a section with another curtian. (Maybe a small thermometer controled space heater?) Also, I saw on UTube, a woman had put gallon jugs of water in her GH, the water assumed the warmer temps and helped keep the temperatures warmer at night. (although, I would think they would assume the cooler temps too, but she said it works for her)

Ventillation! I've read somewhere about putting a small oscillating fan in the area. Moves the air around, and assimilates a 'breeze' over the plants. What do you think?

I'll be adding electric outlets, timers for the lights.

I'm thinking of running a water line with one of those coiled spray hoses. Only problem is I can't remove water, no drainage. But I'm thinking that there shouldn't be too much excess water.

I have to build the table. I'm thinking 2 shelves, the lower one will have shorter plants, the upper will have the taller ones. Lights over both individually. Lights will be suspended with chains, so they can be raised n lowered as needed.

Well, anyone have any ideas? This looks like a plan!!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Location: NH zone 4/5
Tenting to make a warmer micro-climate may be part of your plan. I found getting seedling warmth loving plants into a cold frame with a suplimental heat source (a kerosene lamp) was enough for my need.

The many-fold increase of sunlight made those tomato an peppers beef up better than a fan did under floro lights.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:05 pm 
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Location: Sunol, CA (9B)
I think an emergency blanket (the mylar kind) would make a better tent than 4mil plastic. It has good insulation properties and will reflect the light back to the plants as well. My propagator is lined with that using aluminum tape to hold it together.

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