Starting seeds can be a difficult process for some. Certain seeds are sure to cause more problems than others (like Parsley, for me). Recently, I acquired the APS pods. These pods are the Advanced Propagation System from Gardener’s Supply Company. This system allows me to fill water in the bottom section and have that water wicked up to the bottom of the pods via a large, flat piece of felt. The water is distributed evenly and all I have to do is make sure that the reservoir remains full. Another aid in germinating seeds is a heat mat. This heat mat puts out 85 degrees to the base of the APS pods so that the soil stays very warm. This has enabled me to germinate seeds in half the time that the seed packets say is normal.
Once they have germinated, I remove the plastic covers and move the pods to the shelf below the grow lights. It is important to keep the seedlings as close to the lights as possible so that the max amount of UV light can be received by the plants. At a distance of 18 inches, almost no UV rays can be detected. The closer the plants are to the lights, the better, but make sure that the leaves never touch the lights. I keep my plants approximately one to two inches below the lights. In order to keep them at this distance despite growth, I have built a plat form that can be lowered via a pulley system.
If you would like to see this system and my current set up, check out the video.