As noted, many avid vegetable gardeners get a jump on the season by planting seeds indoors, under lights. The healthy seedling can be transplanted to the garden bed when the weather warms up. Fluorescent lights are generally quite adequate for seedlings, but some experienced indoor-light people supplement fluorescents with two 25-watt incandescent bulbs to provide the far-red light energy that is necessary for the germination of light-sensitive seeds.
You can also sprout seeds with fluorescent lights. Simply place the seed trays (or peat pots, etc.) 3 or 4 inches below the tubes. Keep the lights on until the seedlings emerge. Then move the tubes so that they are 6 to 9 inches away from the plants. Give them 10 to 14 hours of light a day, sufficient water and nutrients, and you'll soon have a topnotch collection of seedlings.
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