Sweet Pea’s Side Dish: How to Build a Grow Light Shelving System for Seeds
In case you missed my last Sweet Pea’s Side Dish, I talked all about Starting a Vegetable Garden From Seed. Today’s post is part two of growing seeds indoors! I wanted to share with you my Grow Light Shelving System for Seeds and how I made my own unit for a fraction of what it costs to buy a ready-made unit.
Are you ready to get started!
What You’ll Need For One Shelf Of Lighting:
- One 48″ wide shelf unit
- Six Fluorescent Plant lights
- Three Fluorescent Shop Light
- One Digital Lighting Timer
- One Surge protector
- Six S Hooks
- Six 12 inch pieces of chain
*As you can see in the pictures below, I have two shelves of lighting.
Step 1: Assemble the Shelf
Assemble your shelf, or if you already have one, install it where you want to grow your seedlings. It’s best to set up your shelving system away from cold drafts, excess heat and heavy foot traffic. My shelf is in the unfinished part of the basement. I like setting it up here because I don’t have to worry about spilled water or dirt on my carpets or wood floors. If you would prefer, lay plastic sheeting on the floor underneath the shelves to prevent problems with spilled water, soil and/or fertilizer.
Step 2: Assemble and Hang the Lights
I use three 48″ fluorescent shop lights with two bulbs in each unit for each shelf of lighting. Make sure that you pick a style that suspends from chains. Insert the Fluorescent Plant lights into each fixture. Using the S-hooks and chains, attach the shop lights to the shelf above. Adjust the chains so they’re about 1 to 2 inches above your plants. You don’t have to turn on the lights until sprouts appear. Once the sprouts appear, remove the clear plastic covering from the seed trays. Turn on the lights, and adjust their height so they’re 1 to 2 inches above the top of the sprouts. Raise the lights as needed to keep that amount of space between the lights and the tops of plants. Remove the seedlings from the shelving unit once you can no longer raise the lights high enough to prevent scorching the leaves.
Step 3: Program Your Timer
After the seedlings have sprouted, the Fluorescent Plant lights should be on for about 16 to 18 hours per day. Program your timer according to its instructions. I have mine timer set to keep the lights on from 5 AM to 9 PM, 7 days a week.
Step 4: Plug in the Lights
I position my shelves with all the electrical cords aimed toward the nearest electrical outlet. Plug your lights into the surge protector. Plug the surge protector into the timer. Plug the timer into an electrical outlet.
Step 5: Watch Your Seedlings Grow!
It’s that simple and doesn’t have to be as expensive as those ready-made indoor growing units! Growing plants from seedlings should be fun. Every late winter/spring I look forward to starting a summer garden. I can already taste those home grown tomatoes!
How do you start your seeds indoors? Do you have a grow light for your seedlings?
One Year Ago: Little Sweet Pea’s Birth Story
Two Years Ago: Snickery Squares
Three Years Ago: Cowboy Cookies
Electrical plug Image courtesy of jiggoja/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Seedlings Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net