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starting in a hoop house vs indoor grow lights

 
Posts: 70
Location: New Jersey
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I live in NJ(zone 7). I want to start peppers and tomatoes early but I do not have grow lights at the moment. I was wonder if anyone(particularly in zone 7) has had success starting peps and toms in seed trays under a small hoop house that, for example, would fit over top of my raised garden bed(4' x 10'). And, if so when did you start them relative to last frost?
 
author
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Hi Adam,
I start my tomatoes and peppers in the house, on a heat mat with light, in front of some windows. Once they have germinated completely, but before they get their first true leaf, I move them to my unheated greenhouse. Too long indoors, even with lights, and they get soft and leggy. Trying to germinate them in the greenhouse is just too cool, especially for the peppers. What I have developed is the best of both.

My dates look like this-
April 1 sow seeds in flats indoors
April 15 move flats to greenhouse
May 1 transplant from flats to small pots
May 25 transplant to outdoor garden (more like June 1 for the peppers)

Hope that helps, good luck!
 
Posts: 57
Location: aguanga, california
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Tomatoes will do bad with humidity, so if you use the heat mat make sure to keep the trays uncovered or they won't do well.
 
Posts: 3370
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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A flourescent shop light fixture plus one warm bulb and one cool bulb (NOT the $special$ grow bulbs) will work fine for a couple trays of starts. A timer is nice but not absolutely needed.

 
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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cat urban chicken
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I germinate indoors.. but I don't use grow-lights (too expensive), I use regular fluorescent lights- one 'warm white' and one 'cool white'- (about $3 each).

Currently the indoor plants, under lights, are beating the unheated greenhouse plants in growth!
 
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