“Mommy’s growing weed!”

That’s what my kids said when my new grow lights arrived several years ago. I don’t think I read the product description very carefully and was shocked at how large the set up was. It probably IS used for growing marijuana by some people… but not me. This anesthesiologist is staying away from that, even if I do live in California. So yeah, I have an enormous grow light set-up in the basement and it is awesome.

I *am* using my set-up to grow tons of plants from seed each spring! Here is your guide to buying all your stuff off the Internet so that you can go at it on the weekend. It’s very exciting and gratifying for me to start seeds indoors. In Colorado, you really can’t put anything outside until it’s a week or 2 past Mother’s Day, unless you want all your tender plants to die a frosty death in a late season hail storm. It ain’t pretty so don’t do it. You will be SO tempted when May rolls around and you’re sitting out on the patio with a drink, but take it from me, you will regret it. So get a headstart on things inside and plant them out after Mother’s Day. The following are what is working well for me, with some alternatives.

Lighting: If you have a south-facing big sunny window, great. If you don’t, then consider getting some grow lights. Young plants need 14 hours of sun a day or more! This is the ginormous one I bought while slightly tipsy (in retrospect I really should have suspected it was for growing weed). https://www.gardeners.com/buy/3-tier-high-intensity-grow-lights/8593944.html. You don’t have to buy a giant expensive one though, Gardeners has many smaller ones as well. I suggest getting this timer as well: https://www.gardeners.com/buy/power-strip-with-timer/38-972.html. I also have a couple of these around the house, which work great and have a built-in timer: https://amzn.to/3ddyr3g. This smaller one would be great for just a couple of pots of herbs or starter tomatoes.

Seed starting soil: Yes, you can buy soil from Amazon. This is how you can be a weekend gardener- buying ALL the things online during the week between cases in the OR, LOL. This is my go-to: https://amzn.to/3uDvE9c.

Seed starting bags or trays: I have a couple of these and they do work really well. https://amzn.to/3sddaLh. They have a water reservoir below that wicks water up into the cells from below, so you don’t have to disturb new seeds by watering from above. However, for plants that I want to grow even larger before transplanting, I have started using these awesome woven bags. https://amzn.to/3uXnN6P. They are biodegradable and absorbant, and only cost less than 3 cents each! They minimize transplant shock too, because you can just plop them into the ground when it’s warm enough outside. I plan on quickly snipping a hole in them when transplanting- to let the roots grow out and allow me to pull the bag out the soil more easily at the end of the season. Pro-tip- they stand up better if you turn them inside out before filling with soil.

Trays without holes: You’ll need something like this to hold all your seedling bags! https://amzn.to/3dcP6Uq. You can just pour water into the tray and let the bags absorb water from below, so the seeds don’t get damaged.

Liquid fertilizer: Use liquid fertilizer in your water for your young plants once a week. I like this one: https://amzn.to/3wIw2VM. I also like using Neptune’s fish emulsion, but only for outside cuz it smells like rotting fish! https://amzn.to/3ddALr0

Heating mat: This is the first year I tried using a heating mat to aid germination and it helped SO much. Everything sprouted so quickly! You can move the seedlings off the heating mat after germination, so there’s no need to buy a ton of mats. https://amzn.to/3g4Vr68.

Seeds! Buying seeds is probably the most fun part. It’s fun to just go to the garden store and browse. However if you are going to Internet-warrior this project, my favorite places to buy seeds are Floret, Burpees, and Johnny Seeds. Also, I bought these dahlia seeds from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2OJXxgE. (I’ll be doing a whole ‘nother post about dahlias in particular, stay tuned). Here’s what I planted and how I planned on when to start, working backwards from our last frost date in Colorado. I should mention, by the way, that I do predominantly a flower cutting garden with a few tomatoes and herbs, but this whole set up will work for veggies, too.

Hmmmm so that’s it for now, what did I miss? When you’ve got more interests than you do time, Internet shopping is the way to go!

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