For the past couple of years I’ve started all transplants inside our tiny greenhouse. We have always set the greenhouse up just outside the kitchen door so we could stretch an extension cord to the greenhouse to plug in the heat source and fans for air circulation. We’ve never experienced any problem raising our seedlings this way, however, this year I decided to try things a little differently. Rather than trip over the extension cord all spring, I set up a small germination area inside our house.
This germination area has worked great! I used “outside bright” fluorescent lighting and wire racks. Controlling moisture and temperature has been really easy. The tiny seedlings were poking their heads through the soil-less mix at record speed. Everything was going great. I had decided to let the plants develop two true sets of leaves and then move them to the tiny greenhouse. But then …
Before the sweet bell peppers developed their second set of leaves I began to notice the leaves turning dark. Within only a day or two it was obvious the young transplants were in trouble as some of their leaves began to turn black. I did a little research and learned that fluorescent lighting is good for germinating seed but once the first true set of leaves are on it’s time to move the plants to the sun. Apparently the leaves were turning black due to their lack of natural sunlight.
Without the sunlight the plants could not produce chlorophyll. The poor little things were starving under the artificial lights! I mixed a fresh batch of peat moss, perlite, and cottonseed meal (for nitrogen) then potted up each seedling into a bigger container. All the transplants were moved into the tiny greenhouse. Within only one week, these sweet bell pepper transplants have dropped those blackened leaves, grown double in size, and greened up beautifully. Whew!
So, to sum it all up … I will get my tiny seedlings out from under the artificial lighting asap.