Every year, in late winter, I start my indoor transplant experiments. I used to start seeds in my basement, but determined that the ambient temperature wasn’t warm enough to support proper growth. So I challenged my husband, Nicolas, to build something we could use upstairs. The result can be found on the Grow It Eat It page about starting seeds indoors. Nicolas’ set up is photo #12, by the way. Nice job, eh?
Anyway, this year I started my seeds as usual, and all was going pretty well. But then I noticed that the peppers and tomatoes didn’t seem to be growing at all – and I know that peppers can be soooooooooo incredibly sloooooooooooow.
I postulated that the temperature still wasn’t warm enough, though I’d had success upstairs in the past. Because of the warmer winter, the heat wasn’t on in my house as much as in the past, resulting in slightly cooler indoor temperatures – about 71 degrees, I found. So here’s where the experiment came in. I thought that this might not be warm enough for my babies, so I set up an incandescent light (they’re still good for something, right?) to shine on the plants for heat. The temps went up to about 78 degrees. Note: be careful not to set the lamp too close else you can burn the plants – I know from experience!
I wish I’d had a photo of the plants before I put the lamp on them, but here they are after about a week of the heat treatment:
And then here they are as of today, about 2 weeks after that:
Wow, huh? My hypothesis about the temperature not being warm enough has been proven! I swear that for at least 3 weeks, before I added heat, these plants were stagnant. In fact, the tomato plants were near dead – stuck at about 2 inches high and with a sickly, yellowish color. I feared I’d have to go out and buy transplants this year. Instead, check out these before and after photos – taken two weeks apart:
I saved my babies! I’m confident that they’ll be good and strong when it’s time to put them outside in a few weeks. But not now, it’s still too cold outside!