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It's that time of year when gardeners are looking ahead to spring and beginning to plan their summer gardens.  Those of us who like to start our plants early from seed are probably preparing our indoor greenhouses to do so.  If you are new to gardening or are hoping to start a garden this year, now is the time to purchase an indoor greenhouse kit.  In this article, we'll explain how to get it set up and prepared for growing your seedlings.

First you'll need to choose an appropriate location for your indoor greenhouse.  The best possible place would be in front of a sunny, south facing window or patio door.  You'll also need to consider the ambient room temperature and humidity.  The ideal levels will vary depending on the types of seeds you're growing, but generally speaking, most seeds will germinate best at temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent.

If you don't have the perfect place in your home that meets all these conditions, don't worry.  Most of us don't!  With a few pieces of equipment, it's easy to artificially create the right conditions.  To make up for a lack of sunlight, you'll need grow lights.  Grow lights are a special type of full spectrum light bulb that replicate natural sunlight.  The bulbs can be purchased at most hardware stores and will fit into standard fluorescent tube light fixtures.  To make up for chilly temperatures, you can also add a heat lamp to your indoor greenhouse.  Take care when positioning the heat lamp, making sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.  It's important not to place it near anything that could be flammable.  Lastly, if your home's air is rather dry, as is common in the winter, a simple humidifier will solve this problem.  Look for a humidifier with a humidity gauge on it, allowing you to set the unit to maintain a specific humidity level of your choosing.  The humidifier will then it will automatically turn on and shut off as needed to maintain that level.  Anytime you're using electronic devices, always remember to take caution with the cords.  You don't want to string a cord across a traffic path and inadvertently create a tripping hazard.

Once your indoor jungle gym greenhouse is set up in a good location, it's time to begin planting your seeds.  You'll probably want to begin by taking an inventory of supplies, and you may need to make a shopping trip to your local garden center to pick up anything that you don't have.  A bag of good seed-starting soil mixture is a must-have item, as are some small peat pots or other containers for planting.  One option is to purchase plastic trays from your garden center that feature small individual cells for starting seeds.  These plastic trays are usually economical enough that you can recycle them at the end of the year and buy new ones next year.  An even less expensive option is to wash and save yogurt containers, drill holes in the bottoms, and use those for planting seeds.  Last but not least, you'll also need to have a spray water bottle for keeping the soil moist.  You won't want to use a watering can in the beginning, because the flow of water will be strong enough to wash away the seeds and young seedlings.  A spray bottle will allow you to lightly mist the soil, keeping it moist without damaging the fragile young plants.

Growing plants from seed is an enjoyable and rewarding hobby.  Not only does it give you something fun to do inside during the last few months of winter, but it also saves a lot of money as opposed to buying young plants at the nursery in the spring.  If you've never tried indoor greenhouse gardening before, go out and buy a few supplies and get started today!

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