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Get the Right Light

Our test of seed-starting lights shows you which ones are worth your money and which aren’t

Fine Gardening – Issue 155

Serious gardeners love to get their seeds going in trays before spring for a number of reasons: to extend the growing season, to provide optimal germination conditions, to try unusual varieties, and to save money, among others. But to get those plants growing, you’ve got to have light—a lot of light—and while some gardeners have rooms with plenty of sun, most of us don’t. And even those who do often want longer days than what winter has to offer. So what are gardeners to do when they don’t have enough sunlight? They use artificial light. And there are a lot of lights to choose from: Incandescent, fluorescent, and LED (light-emitting diode) lights all vie for gardeners’ dollars. But which ones really deliver? We conducted a test to find out.

We tested seven different lights, six of which were intended for starting seeds and growing seedlings.…

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