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I am starting my veg. seeds at work. We cannot use grow lights. An suggestions on how I can keep them from becoming long and spinly? Thanks.

Thanks for your question Al, How unfortunate that you can’t use grow lights. The reason seedling get long and spindly is that they are not getting enough light and are reaching for more. The ONLY windows that have any chance of providing anywhere near enough light are south windows. Even then, with days as short as they still are. your seedlings will reach for the light. But, lets get back to basics….it is a month too early to start most of your seeds. Planting season for tomatoes and other tender seedlings is the middle of May…three months (12 weeks) from now. The earliest seeds that need to get started like leeks and impatiens need to get started indoors 10 weeks before planting. Tomatoes and peppers should be started 6 to 8 weeks before mid May so that means the middle of March…about a month from right now. All this information is on the back of the seed pack. There is no real advantage to starting your seed a month too early since they will be the stretchy, leggy seedlings you’re trying to avoid. By waiting another month (in the case of tomatoes and peppers) you’ll have longer days and the seedlings won’t get as leggy. Spring won’t come any earlier just because you start your seed too early 😉 Get a calendar and designate the week of 5/15 -5/21 as “PLANTING WEEK” . Then mark the week before that WEEK 1 (one week before planting) and keep going back labeling each week with the next higher number. You should end up with the week of March 20 – 26 as WEEK 8. Sometime between WEEK 8 and WEEK 6 is when you should start your tomatoes and peppers depending on the variety. This information is on the seed pack. You can read all the other seed pack and make notes on your new “Seed Starting Calendar” that you’ve created so you’ll know when to start what. Remember, starting your seeds too early doesn’t gain you a thing. I’d also suggest a small fan to move the air around your seedlings once they sprout…it can help strengthen the stems. Be patient and you’ll have better plants for May…now you just have to convince the person with the south-facing window to let you set up shop there 😉

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