Just because it’s winter in Iowa, doesn’t mean you can’t get your garden going. All it takes is some seeds, seeding & potting mix, some seed germinating plastic trays, heat mats, florescent lights/fixtures and common jack chain.
From our Master Gardener Mark Marshall: To get your seeds started, fill your germinating trays up with seedling potting mix about 80%. Next, drop your seeds and cover them with soil and water. Place your trays onto heating mats with your grow lights a few inches from the soil. As your plants grow, raise your lights and keep the plants from touching the bulbs. Water daily or every other day depending on the soil moisture and spray liquid calcium on the plants regularly. As your plants get bigger and the weather gets warmer, transplant into larger pots.
Seeding & Potting Mix: http://www.menards.com/main/lawn-garden/seeds-bulbs/4-quart-seed-and-potting-mix/p-1487951-c-10125.htm
Plastic Seed Germinating Trays: http://www.farmtek.com/farm
Heat Mats: http://www.sears.com/dirt-genius (Water daily if you’re using these)
Utility Shop Light Fixture: http://www.homedepot.com/Shoplight
Jack Chain: http://www.homedepot.com/Zinc-Plated-Jack-Chain (Make sure you measure and leave yourself enough slack to easily adjust up/down)
Liquid Calcium Spray: http://www.nutri-cal.com/products/nutri-cal-32oz-ready-to-use-bottle