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Light up your seedlings for garden success

If you've ever started seeds indoors, you've likely had a disaster or two. Long, leggy seedlings that can't stand up is a big one. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams has tips on lighting that can help your plants stay strong and healthy.

Seedlings under lights indoors
Viv's seedlings are off to a good start under the lights
Viv Williams
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Starting seedlings indoors is a great and inexpensive way to jump start your garden. Watching seeds sprout can be super exciting, but very frustrating if they start to fail.

You need to supply the right amount of light to keep them healthy. If you don't, seedlings will reach and stretch to try to find some. The result is long, leggy plants that can't stand up on their own.

Once seedlings have little leaves, they need light. The University of Minnesota Extension website has tips on how to light them.

  • A combination of cool white light and natural light works well.
  • You can use official "grow" lights, fluorescent lights or LEDs.
  • Hang lights 2 to 4 inches above the seedlings, and move lights up as the plant grows.
  • Keep lights on 12 to 16 hours. Seedlings do need some darkness, so don't keep the lights on 24/7.
  • Installing timers may be helpful.

The right light will help your seedlings get ready for a successful season in the garden.

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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MORE HEALTH FUSION:
After Hurricane Ian destroyed her home, a Minnesota woman looks beyond tragedy to find gratitude and compassion for others. Where does one find such resilience? In this "Health Fusion" column, Viv Williams finds there's more to it than just an individual's inner strength.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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