I've been using my little homemade greenhouse for about a month, and I must say…holy cow, it's amazing. I used aluminum foil on the outside of the fish tank, a box with hardware cloth to set the soil block pots on to keep the seedlings close to the lights, and the regular aquarium hood outfitted with cheap compact fluorescent daylight bulbs. It's interesting to see how even though the eggplants and tomatoes all sprouted at different times, they all grew to the same height (distance from the light) and then leafed out. I really wished I still had my fluorescent T5 aquarium hoods from back in my freshwater aquarium days, but the cfl bulbs are doing quite well.
I started eggplants with the most success I've ever had and the tomatoes are short and bushy. Even direct sowing in the garden doesn't yield such excellent results!
I transplanted my eggplant and the four groups of zinnias outside to harden off in the shade two days ago. So far, so good.
You can see how the eggplant roots have really filled out nicely and seem to have been “air pruned” as the people that swear by soil blocking pots claim. I can definitely say transplanting them was a breeze.
The zinnias roots, not so much. They had three inch tap roots coming out of the bottoms of their pots. They didn't seem to mind growing into air at all. So, it may be related to the type of plants you grow. The tomatoes are “air pruned” and we shall see on my other types of plants how it works.
Sadly, I had a zero percent germination rate on my gifted pepper seeds. I know they spent about a week in the hot trunk of a car, and I'm not sure where they were stored before that, but my guess is the viability was destroyed on all the packets I was gifted. Oh well.
I tried my old corn seed next, but the corn didn't sprout either. So I've replanted with squashes, onions, and burgundy amaranth. The bunching onions and amaranth are already sprouting.
I'm loving this little seed starting chamber and would call it a giant success!