After my first successful backyard gardening experience, I was hooked. The idea that the plants grew at all was amazing to me, and I loved the fact that I could feed my family healthy food that I produced myself. So the following spring, I decided to get a jump on the process by researching options for starting the garden indoors. At the time, the kids and I were wrapping up a unit on seeds in our homeschool curriculum, and we discovered a way to start the plants indoors with a light hut. All you need is a small box, aluminum foil, a fluorescent bulb, and a light socket.
The light hut has a few advantages, mainly that it’s inexpensive and easy to make. But if not put together or monitored properly, it could potentially create a hazard. I have used this method successfully without any problems for a few years now, and if you want to learn more about a light hut and are willing to take that risk, you can get specific instructions here.
You can, of course, get some of the same results from other types of commercial products available at your local nursery or big box store. They are more expensive initially, but you can reuse them year after year. For comparison-shopping purposes, I’ve gathered a few options available at Amazon here:
- Jiffy Indoor Plant Start Greenhouse
- Planters Pride Cell Grower Start Kit with Dome
- Hydrofoam Hot House with Heat Mat
One primary disadvantage to a light hut is its size. In order to germinate, seeds need warmth, water, and air. The light hut will do that for you, since the inside of the box gets warm from the light reflecting off the foil. But when the seedlings emerge and grow, they do need light, and the light hut is pretty limited in size. It may not accommodate all your plants.
That’s why, if you plan to start several plants from seed, it may be time to invest in something bigger, which is what we’ve done this year. I ordered several heirloom seeds from a seed catalog company, and I want to give each plant all the opportunity it can get for a successful start. So we purchased a greenhouse (woo hoo!). We don’t have the space for a lot of grow lights, but the greenhouse we purchased is on the small side and will fit in our backyard just fine.
Since our backyard is currently covered in about six inches of snow, I haven’t put the greenhouse together yet, so stay tuned!
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