You Bet Your Garden

Starting your own plants from seed: Are you up to the challenge?


Listen to the full show:

February 16, 2013 — Starting your own plants from seed is not for the timid. Mike McGrath discusses how to water without being reckless and why sunny windowsills can be horticultural horror shows! Plus organic answers to all your growing questions.


Question of the Week

Dear Mike: I enjoy your show, but please stop giving outdated advice to your listeners—specifically your habit of always using the term “40 watt” when you refer to fluorescent tubes used for seed starting. You are correct to recommend regular shop lights instead of those lavender ‘grow lights’, but the technology has changed over the years, and your old style “T-12” 40-watt lamps have largely been replaced by 32-watt “T-8” fluorescents (which have almost the same brightness, but much better color rendering properties). Get the answer »
Photo by Flickr user Katy




  • Joseph Scanlan

    This time of year I like to start my tomato plants from seed. No matter what what I do I always have a problem with “damping off”. What can I do besides usint herbacides to prevent this problem?

    • Sarah Kaizar

      Hi Joseph — Mike McGrath reviewed your question and offers this advice: “Ha! Herbicides would kill your poor starts! Make sure your containers drain well, keep them moist but not soggy and keep a half inch layer of plain peat moss on top of your mix–and use a mix, not outside soil!”



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