Starting your seeds indoors is a great way to get a head start on gardening. If you live in an area with a short growing season, it’s practically a necessity. Seed starting kits such the Park’s Complete Grow Light and Seed Starter
system are especially handy for newbie gardeners such as myself. Are they required? No, of course not. I have seen many articles explaining the different ways to start seeds with items you may already have laying around. However, purchasing a complete kit can help save time and stress. There is already so much planning and research involved with creating a garden, I really appreciated having one less thing on my plate. I also had two other reasons for buying the kit-
1) my two cats find greenery quite enticing and delicious. I needed something solid enough to prevent them from getting at the seedlings
2) The daylight in Maine is really too short this time of year. I’m sure it is possible to tuck a few starts in the windowsill and let nature takes its course, but I preferred having a grow light that allowed me to give the seedlings maximum exposure.
There are many reasons to start your garden from seeds-
- It’s considerably cheaper. A packet of 200 Roma tomato seeds is only $3.95! Not only is that much less expensive than purchasing transplants, but that one packet will last you many years.
- You can maintain the most control over your food supply, knowing exactly what goes on with your plants from the very beginning. Those transplants from Home Depot may look fine, but over-watering or under-watering at any time can stunt a plant’s growth for the rest of its life.
- Unless you have access to a well-stocked nursery, starting from seeds allows you to get interesting and diverse varieties that are not typically available as transplants.
- If you have children (or not), it can be a fun learning experience! It’s truly amazing to watch a tiny ordinary seed transform into a giant pumpkin or leaves of spinach.
I did a lot of research before buying this particular system. I looked at the cost of buying everything individually versus as a complete kit, and checked the price at practically every retailer, from Amazon to Gardener’s Supply to Walmart. Overall, I am pleased with my final decision to buy the Park’s Complete Grow Light and Seed Starter Kit
, but I do have a few disappointments.
My first major issue is that the grow light is made by Hydrofarm, a detail which is not mentioned in the product description. I purposefully hoped to avoid this brand as it had many negative reviews on various websites and seemed to be targeted towards hobby gardeners; I wanted something high quality that would last many years. Upon inspection, this unit is better than I expected from Hydrofarm, but does have some issues. As you can see in the picture below, the chain that suspends the light from the stand is attached with just an S hook, which could easily fall into the light’s housing, unable to be retrieved. We solved this by putting a piece of tape over the holes, but at $134, this really shouldn’t be necessary. Also, the stand itself is thin and collapses very easily, so it is very difficult to move the unit once it is assembled.
The plastic humidity dome is nice and sturdy, unlike many others which are described as thin and flimsy. I really like how tall it is and that the vent seems solid and secure. The tray also seems strong and durable.
The waterproof marker and label sticks were a nice addition- again, it was good having everything included in one simple kit. Knowing me, I would have been in the middle of planting the seeds before I realized I had nothing to mark them!
|Set-up in our bathroom, as it’s the only place the cords could reach an outlet
The cords for the grow light and the heating mat are very short. I wished the product description included their lengths as that can be a deciding factor for some.
The Jiffy peat disks were not as tall as I was expecting, but have performed well enough. It was a little tedious pulling back the netting on each disk, though not a huge deal. They held water extraordinarily well; I only needed to add more water once in four weeks!
|The Jiffy peat disks as they hydrated over a half an hour
The Park’s Complete Grow Light and Seed Starter Kit was a pretty solid purchase that I expect to last many years. I wish the product description included more details, though, which is why I am writing such an extensive review. Hopefully, I can help others in their decision by providing additional information. This kit retails for $134, but I had a discount code that brought the price down to $126 including shipping, and I feel that this price is acceptable. If you are a new gardener who already feels overwhelmed, or if you simply have too much going on, I recommend this kit.
I purchased the Park’s Complete Grow Light and Seed Starter Kit with my own money and have no affiliation with the company. All opinions are my own.