photo courtesy of amenic181 at

photo courtesy of amenic181 at

Sourcing clean food at an economical price is a concern for many of us  these days. The easiest way to do this is to grow your own garden. This can be done in pots or in the ground. There is no need to do raised beds, gardening can be done right in the ground if the soil is fed properly with vegetable clippings from the kitchen buried right into the ground, turned under the soil. Direct composting like this saves time and money.

Starting your own vegetables in the spring can be done by planting a seed or vegetable starter in the ground. Using a vegetable starter gives you a jump on the season, allowing for a larger crop as well as possibly getting a cabbage crop before the cabbage worms are alive. One starter tray costs roughly $4. Planting your own starter set-up will recover your investment within the second year. 

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Hanging regular shop lights, like these, in the basement, crawl space or spare room give your vegetable starters the impression of the sunlight. Some people choose to put their starter plants in front of a window. Unfortunately this practice often leads to leggy starters as they grow too fast trying to reach the sunlight. Leggy plants don’t generally survive the transplanting process. Hanging your shop lights on chains allows you to drop the lights to right above the starters, giving them ample light to develop a solid root structure instead of shooting up high to reach the light. 

When installing the bulbs be sure if you are using LED bulbs to have the label towards to fixture unlike the two bulbs on the right. Insert the bulbs like the bulbs pictured on the left.


Each bulb has a black line inside the bulb that gets hung against the fixture. Sometimes the black line is difficult to see. It extends off the line in the label on the bulb and goes the length of the bulb. Both LED bulbs and fluorescent bulbs work for starters to grow.


We used LED lights to save on electricity. Be sure the bulbs are 5,000 K which emits a “crystal white glow” that most resembles sunlight. This light comes with the bulbs and fixture together, ready to hang.

Some people like to use heat lamps for their starters. All of these options are fine choices according to your preferences and needs. The LED bulbs will cost more upfront but will save money in the long-run on electricity costs.


Fill old recycled starter trays with organic dirt, pressed firm into their containers. Label each starter container after burying the seeds under the soil at the desired depth. Good starter options for spring planting are cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, Brussel Sprouts, artichokes, eggplant and various peppers. Choosing heirloom seeds is wise as these seeds are non-GMO and have been planted and harvested for years. Your seeds could be the great, great, grandchildren of Thomas Jefferson’s plants.


Using heirloom seeds allows  you to leave one plant left to seed so you have seeds to plant the crop for the next year. When you use heirloom seeds you only need to buy the seeds once. Then every year thereafter your seeds for the next year came from the last year’s crop.




Spray the seed trays with water and continue spraying them with water every day.


Hang the lights so they are just about an inch over the starter trays.


When the light is close to the tray the plants don’t reach for the “sun” but instead establish solid roots for hearty plants.


Soon the seeds will sprout, like these spinach plants.



As the starters grow slowly move the lights higher by linking the chain up one link each time on the hooks from which they hang. This keeps the plants growing slow and steady. When the starters get a few inches high put a gentle breeze on them with a small fan. This will make the plants stronger so they can endure the harsh environment outdoors when the time comes.

Our lights and vegetable starters are hanging in the crawl space, my favorite place in the house. I adore the anticipation of the young plants.


*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.





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