For everyone above the Mason-Dixon Line (and even some below), are you sick of people complaining about winter yet? No? Good.
I’m ready for spring.
To stay sane in this maniacally frigid whitewashed landscape, I’ve done a ton of fantasizing about this spring’s garden. If only the weather would cooperate… I could finally get some action. A guy can only take so much furniture arranging, curtain hanging, and painting. While I enjoy helping the Wife make our new homestead a little more beautiful (and covering up way too many walls of pink), I’d much rather be making progress outside.
I feel cooped up. Tense. Ready to pop.
Thankfully, it’s almost time to sow some seed.
But every guy knows you can’t just jump right in to something like that with only hope and good luck. It takes preparation. You have to tidy up first, set the mood lighting, make sure your rack is sturdy, maybe even pull out the chains.
I don’t know, whatever you’re into. I’m not here to judge.
Here’s the homemade Seed Starter and Grow Light Rack I built.
Want to see how easy it is to assemble one for yourself?
Not only is it fun to watch seedlings sprout indoors… it extends your growing season, meaning more organic vegetables to eat, while saving you tons of money over buying established plants for your garden, let alone buying the produce at a grocery store.
Luckily, I was able to save one of the biggest costs of this project by re-purposing a metal storage unit from our garage. After a quick dusting, we moved it to the corner of our guest room. My future little babies need warmth and there is none of that in an outbuilding in February.
Next, I attached under each shelf the
cheapest finest 48″ light ballast my local hardware store has to offer.
There are two important considerations when purchasing your grow lights. First, make sure they are the correct size bulbs for your ballast. In my case, that is T8. Second, only use full spectrum natural light bulbs, as they most closely mimic the natural sunlight your seedlings need. There are plenty of expensive bulbs marketed specifically as grow lights, but here’s a tip for ya: this cheaper option from the hardware store is the exact same thing. Check out that link and seek out those buzzwords in light bulb descriptions.
Insert appropriate grow lights and position them a few inches above where your spring spawn will germinate.
Place containers under the grow lights. I chose to use several of these small tupperware bins instead of one large container. That allows me to easily keep our vegetables separate and organized, and carry them out to the garden in smaller batches when they’re ready to transplant into the outside beds. Also, six of them fit perfectly on one shelf. Also… they were on clearance.
Add a power strip and timer so your lights can be on 14ish hours a day and you’re good to go.
Cost Breakdown for this Project:
- $0 – Storage Rack (Re-purposed)
- $0 – Power Strip (Re-purposed)
- $0 – Light Timer (Re-purposed)
- $27 – 3 Light Ballasts
- $24 – 6 Full Spectrum Grow Lights
- $18 – 18 Tupperware Bins
$69 – TOTAL
Very soon we’ll take the next step in the process and I’ll share how I made the soil cubes that will protect our little Midwestern love children as they develop.