Starting seeds indoors is a great way to get a head start on gardening for the spring (or anytime, for that matter). And it is the way I choose to start my garden each spring.
We do have cats in the home though, and I needed to find a safe way to do this.
We have no windowsills with sun exposure sufficient enough for sprouting, and to leave them out on a counter would (1) not provide enough light for them grow, and (2) not last long enough to reach a size to be transplanted into the outdoor garden. My cats would surely see to that!
So, what to do? I have an unfinished basement that is mostly used for storage. My son and I built several simple storage shelves to hold totes several years ago.
A few years back I decided that I needed a place to sprout seeds and be able to somewhat control the temp. So, I enclosed 1 of the shelves on a storage unit, putting 2 swing-down, hinged doors on the front, and encasing the back and sides with a thin mylar space blanket, for reflection. On the underside roof of that shelf I placed shop lights, angled so that every square inch of the shelf below was bathed in light.
So now, each year, the lights are turned on, the front doors closed, and seeds are started. The temp averages between 65 and 75 degrees with the doors closed. At least 20-30 degrees above the rest of the basement.
Once the seedlings are strong enough to be transplanted, I harden them outside and then plant them in the outdoor garden.
Visit Some of my Favorite Things page, for many of the items I used in this project.