Seed Starting Indoors Under Grow Lights 101

Seed Starting Indoors Under Grow Lights 101

Learning how to start seeds is one of the areas of gardening I get the most questions about…and for good reason! It’s a complicated process where many things can go wrong.

In this video, we’ll go through my current method for seed starting indoors under grow lights, including discussion of seed starting, the best trays, how to avoid leggy seedlings, and placing your lights the correct distance away from your plants.


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  1. Shannon Philpott on September 9, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Good day. I live in zone 11 and get about 13 hours of sunlight. Do you think it would be just as fast to grow my peppers and tomatoes outside as under grow lights. The low is 64 and the high is about 71. What do you suggest? I am looking for speed to get the seedlings up.

  2. Epic Gardening on September 9, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Pre-order my book, Field Guide to Urban Gardening and get a free pack of organic, heirloom seeds:

  3. George Zultanky on September 9, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Are you kidding me? Ain’t gonna do that! Seed starting is a whole lot easier than that. Come on, man.

  4. Takwita One on September 9, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    I just purchased a Jiffy LED Grow Light.
    The set up is 12 inches. High.
    My seedlings have just broken soil, some just and some are one inch.
    How far away from the light should the seedlings be?
    1900 lumens, 14W 6500K
    136 lumens per watt.
    Thanks so much your help.

  5. Cathy holmes on September 9, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    Is watering necessary while they are un-germinated?

  6. Shanna Lawless on September 9, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    Where do you buy your seeds?

  7. Christina Katzenstein on September 9, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    Tree seed starting?

  8. Phoenix Sky on September 9, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    How long will a seed pkg last?

  9. Jillian Twomey on September 9, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    how long do seeds last for? Particularly vegetable seeds

  10. Rob Holloway on September 9, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    Excellent. Can you talk about temperature during germination?

  11. Mona Adams on September 9, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    You skipped over the worm castings and just mentioned vaguely the extra micros or whatever is listed there. I don’t think you were fair but I’m sure it because you are doing the video for other one. I’m just a home gardener at home. I would definitely look up the Espoma because of the way you did that.

  12. Runaway Lady on September 9, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    Excellent!! So helpful, thank you!

  13. Sean smith on September 9, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    You should call this channel the pretentious gardener.

  14. Jennifer Gerry on September 9, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    Any suggestions for a good seed starter mix that doesn’t use peat? Its really poorly harvested

  15. Carolyn Clay on September 9, 2021 at 11:11 pm


  16. T C on September 9, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Your germinating tray looked great but your link goes to a tray without that wetting mat that wicks water up. Where can I find the exact tray shown in video. Thanks

  17. Shane Riera on September 9, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Awesome video!

  18. Linda Payton on September 9, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    I was looking for the actual seed starter kit. The one you have linked is different.

  19. Mrs. Grey on September 9, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    I don’t have a dome for my trays. I tried to cover the trays with plastic, but see a lot of condensation and afraid my seeds will rot before they germinate. I removed plastic for now. Is covering of trays with humidity dome nessesary? What are the alternatives?

  20. KIM NGUYEN on September 9, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    What color light is used for germination of seeds? LED red, right? Thanks.

  21. Sawta on September 9, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Maybe someone can answer these questions for me:

    1) So, if I don’t use a grow light, I’m pretty much guaranteed to have leggy, or stunted seed growth, right?

    2) What is the downside of having leggy seedlings?

    3) Assuming leggy seedlings are very bad, can that be avoided to any degree by using the sort of oscillating fan that the presenter talked about?

  22. Gaïa’s Realm on September 9, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    Very helpful video, thank you.

  23. Carmelina Rosinski on September 9, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Weedborn has very useful CBD products with all the supplements I need.

  24. Monirul Huq on September 9, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Hello Sir. Where do you get the nice an sturdy seedling inserts?

  25. Terri Ingerick on September 9, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    I only bottom water my seedlings but I still get green Alfaro and fungus gnats on the seedlings that take longer to germinate and grow, then I lose them to stem rot. Any suggestions? I’ve tried a commercial seed starting mix, a homemade medium of 1/3 peat moss or coconut coir, 1/3 perlite and 1/3 vermiculite, and Park Seed plugs. It still happens 😬

  26. Levi Walton on September 9, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Do you leve the light on 24hrs. a day until the seeds sprout?

  27. Tight Tackle on September 9, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Thanks dude, how often should you water your seeds?

  28. John Norris on September 9, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    I find I get a better germination on all seeds by pre overnight soaking in water.. The smaller seeds are harder/more -time consuming this way.

  29. Andrew Cox on September 9, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Inverse square applies to point light sources. The reflectors integrated into some LEDs and also behind them straighten-out a lot of the light beams and make things not quite so bad. Thanks for the info in the vid: good watch.

  30. gointothedogs2 on September 9, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Can you explain what you do with your open seed packs. All my seeds seem to leak out or fall out of packages. So i put in tiny box versions of your system thats for tackle or beads. But then i have to put tiny labels and store empty seed packs or create or look up specifics when planting. Im still trying to figure out the best and simplest way for me to take care, plan and not have to keep searching for info every spring and scramble. I have some cognitive issues which makes trying to do such diverse germinating and plantings…i end up getting overwhelmed and starting ahead of schedule but then becomming behind because of physical and time constraints. Im determined…just havent found whats best to make it work well without doing so much retracing and rewriting. I know its part of it but the more i can address my issues with each phase i think i will find that system that lets me spend more time actually doing the work going forward and it becoming more stardard plan and organized specific system i can use for everything in one spot but it being easy to follow. Im needing to do the physical part but find im spending too much time needing to create something to follow in the current time im doing it to realize just what i need to be focusing on. I feel im at a loss as past brain fog and long term chrinic issues inpair my past ability to store and use my past memory and experience to sprint forward. I have a feeling im going to figure out a better plan but im starting to feel that ugh moment when i look at what needs to be done and start to feel defeated…for a moment or two! So all those in the same boat, id love to hear what resources are the most helpful and is tbere youtubers who address gardeners who are dealing with challenges that they are facing and have learned tips that make them successful.

  31. Carolyn Clay on September 9, 2021 at 11:29 pm


  32. Sunshine Lee on September 9, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Excellent video!! But I do have a question about the planter box. I use the regular planter boxes without the sponge mat. At what point do I remove the covers??

  33. Becky Hsing on September 9, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Kevin, how do you properly store the left over seeds? do you find that box stores them well and you can still have viable seeds the next season from the already opened packages?

  34. sapper72783 on September 9, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    I may be jumping to conclusions but you don’t have kids do you

  35. Meaghan Valade on September 9, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Kevin, great video! i just started my seedlings a week ago, tomatoes and peppers, using a heat mat and humidifying dome. I removed the tomatoes since most germinated, but the peppers are still under the dome and on the heat mat. A question i have is when do you remove the humidifying dome, after the first seeds have germinated or until most have germinated? i worry about fungus and mold but i don’t want to kill them off and have to start over. Thanks

  36. MichelleDuenez on September 9, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    I just stumbled across your channel. Thank you so much for all of the information on gardening. I am extremely new to the world of gardening but want to help my family become self-sufficient. My question is am I able to put my ceilings outside during the daytime when it’s sunny if I do not have a grow light to help them germinate?

  37. Joe Gabriel on September 9, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    I notice a lot of growers mixing their own soil. Can you recommend a good premix product ? Or is manual mixing the only way . I’m a rookie grower


  38. nin ja on September 9, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    are you concerned with plastic exposure ?
    id gladly pay more for metal or biodegradable options

  39. Tommy Cristaldi on September 9, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    When do you take the clear plastic lid off?
    Half of my seedlings sprouted but others haven’t yet. Like my broccoli, butternut squash, cherry tomatoes are up. The herbs like basil, cilantro, thyme, beefsteaks are still not out of the soil.

  40. Plant Guru Gangsta on September 9, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    Anyone have a different recommendation for a seedling grow light for less 💵? poor.

  41. Paul Carrier on September 9, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    wow, I did all the things wrong haha

  42. Lindsay Nichols on September 9, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    How many hours for the seeds a day

  43. Luke Wright on September 9, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Why are my seedlings long and spindley

  44. Dario Durà Armadans on September 9, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Hey man! Thanks for your videos! Been watching you for a bit already!

    One question, seen many ppl keeping the seed trays in darkness until they start germinating, what you recommend?

  45. Little Country Kitchen on September 9, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    Thanks Kevin! I did 12 hours for lights, is that too much?

  46. DylanT. on September 9, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you! Very informative

  47. Othman Ramli on September 9, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Have a Nice system i hope to do that nearly ..i have a big love about nature and agriculture..hope you the most succes

  48. Kate Vigue on September 9, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    Hi! When do you need to put the lights on? Right away or after you can see green coming up? And, how long do you use the heat mats, if you’re using them? Do you keep them on the heat mat after they’ve sprouted, or remove the mats at that time?

  49. Le Bu on September 9, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    I wanna know the name of the plant behind you with the tiny kind of round-ish leaves. 💚

  50. chompachangas on September 9, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    I didn’t even think of sterilization. I’ve already got stuff started in a hotbox. I keep it very humid and warm. I’m using one of those purple grow lights and it seems to be inhibiting any mold growth. Currently, I am sprouting lavender, hyssop, white sage, catnip, and echinacea.

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