Tomatoes Gone Wild!
My peppers and tomatoes have outgrown my light set-up! They were on a shelf but grew so high the plants were running into my lights. I've had to fashion something new:
This is my second year starting from seed, and I have to say my results improved tenfold over last year. These are my plants at 60 days:
Last year, I didn't have the light set-up. Instead, I was trying to move them out in the morning, in at night. A pain for sure, and I never got the good growth I'm getting this year. Another change I made over last year was to get rid of the Jiffy pots. I know lots of people here like them, but they didn't work for me at all. I had a tough time potting up when trying to plant "a pot in a pot". It was much nicer this year simply slipping the tomatoes from their yogurt cups, shaking off the excess dirt and burying them in the Soho cups. And they responded by taking off like bandits! Last year, potting up with a Jiffy in a Jiffy, the plants just sat there in their bigger container not really doing much. Though I confess, I wasn't using the lights last year either, so that could also share the blame.
I also discovered that the shop lights put out enough heat to keep these puppies warm and toasty during the day, thereby eliminating my need for heat mats. I've got them on a timer and by 8 p.m. the lights go off allowing the veggies to cool down in my unheated shed, only to warm up again the next day. I really think that warm/cool cycle has improved the performance. It should also make hardening off an easier process, since the environment is pretty close to what they'll get outside when I plant out next month.
I'm definitely happier this year than I was last. Though I didn't end up using many of the veggies I'd started from seed last year, it was completely worth the effort anyway. I think the only way you learn is to just dig in and give it a try. Evaluate what worked and what didn't. Keep reading these threads and learning from all the great experience here, then revise your plan for next year if the need be.
Can't wait for May when I can get these puppies in the ground.
Here is a link that might be useful: my blog