Norman A. Plate
Seeds of summer vegetables, including tomatoes and peppers, need warm soil to germinate and light to grow. The compact seed-starting system pictured here satisfies both needs.
When it was time to start tomato seeds early last spring, I used the Green Thumb Grow Light System ($90). Consisting of two 4-foot-long fluorescent lights mounted on a stand, it accommodates two flats of 2-inch cells--100 seedlings--at a time. Under the flats, I put two heating mats ($23 each) that are preset to keep the soil 15° to 20° above room temperature. I sowed seeds in pairs to ensure that I'd get at least one viable seedling per cell.
This system delivered the best results I've had with tomatoes--from seedling to harvest, I didn't lose a single plant.
To find out where to buy the Grow Light System and heating mats, contact Hydrofarm at (800) 634-9990 or www.hydrofarm.com. Free catalog.