Hi Jorge,
I started to germinate seeds between wet paper towels. I put them on a plate, covered them in plastic wrap and put the plate in a desk drawer.

I planted the first couple of seeds when one-inch white roots started to appear. I let the others continue to sprout and planted them as they showed white roots. I had forgotten about the rest of the seeds that were still germinating. When I lifted the paper towels, three seeds had roots about three inches long, and they had tiny leaves starting to grow where the seed shell was.

I immediately planted them with the little leaves sticking out. Are my plants going to survive? I’m using two 75-watt blue grow bulbs, five inches above plants, 24 hours a day. The first seeds that I planted sprouted, but they haven't grown since. The soil dries fast after watering and gets kind of crusty. Some kind of moss is growing in some of the containers too.
R.W. Internet

Dear R.W.,
Germinating seeds is not the problem. The preparation and growroom goods are stifling growth. Planning is paramount for successful indoor gardens. Prepared growers have everything they need before starting to grow. Yes, you did wait too long to plant the seeds, and growth could be stifled. The biggest problems you have are the soil and the lighting. The soil becomes crusty because it is full of clay. My guess is that you dug it up in the backyard -- rather than purchasing light, fluffy potting soil. Backyard soil is most often poorly suited for indoor cultivation in pots because it contains too much clay, it is too acidic or alkaline, and controlling moisture and fertilizers in it is very difficult. The crusty clay cap forms when the clay washes to the surface. This is similar to the way that fine particles in concrete come to the surface when it is poured. This cap is as hard as a rock and very difficult for seedlings to penetrate. Furthermore, the soil is difficult for roots to penetrate, and drainage is so poor that little air is held in the soil. Roots require oxygen to take in nutrients in the soil or those provided by fertilizers.

Outdoor soils are also full of insect eggs, fungus spores, bacteria and moss. Using the soil invites all of these maladies to befall your wonderful plants. Two 75-watt blue grow bulbs five inches above plants probably compound the crust on the soil by drying it out quickly. Change the lighting to compact fluorescents or a single high-intensity discharge lamp. Compact fluorescents are less expensive. You can buy a 65-watt compact fluorescent floodlight at Home Depot for about $30. Or you can buy a 175-watt, metal-halide lamp for less than $150. Each lamp is much more efficient than the blue incandescent grow bulbs. Efficiency is measured by the amount of lumens produced per watt of electricity used. For example, a 75-watt incandescent lamp yields about 17 lumens per watt, and a 175-watt metal halide produces 80LPW. After the initial investment of buying the lamp, you can use the same amount of electricity to produce 14,000 lumens with the metal halide and only 2,550 lumens (not enough to grow decent bud) with the incandescent grow bulbs.