Friday, February 24, 2012

DIY Grow Light for Seed Starting

It's easy. I promise! Total cost: $60. Tools used: 1 hack saw & 1 drill with a 1/4" bit. Read on.....

Rather than be at the mercy of planting vegetable plants that growers choose to mass-produce, start your own seeds now for spring planting. After weeks of perusing seed catalogs, I decided that this is the year I'm going to start my own seeds for the tomato and pepper plants I want to plant. The only thing that's prevented me from being successful with this in the past is inadequate light in my house. No matter what anybody does, the light from a window alone results in leggy seedlings as they reach for the sun. A grow light stand that is adjustable is the only answer, but to buy one meant $150 or so added to my gardening budget, and that would pay for 2 raised beds, which I would much rather have.

I found the instructions for this DIY grow light stand HERE. It is made of inexpensive PVC pipe, is light weight enough for me to carry with one hand, and will be easy to store in the off-season. I made a couple adjustments to the specs. I made the sides 24 inches tall out of just the 1 1/4" pipe and then I made the light adjustable by adding longer chains and S hooks. I purchased 2 pieces of 1 1/4" x 10' pipe and had the fellow at Home Depot cut the lengths "half in two," as some folks here in the South say. I did that just so they'd fit in my Subaru for the trip home. It took me less than one hour from unloading my car to settling my new grow light stand in a spare bedroom. I had no idea it would be such a painless project!

I'll lower the light to the seedlings once they sprout, and then raise the light as the plants grow until their size and the weather permit me moving them outside to harden off before planting in my garden. I'm starting seeds for Amish Paste Tomatoes, Cherry Stuffer Sweet Peppers, Quadrato d'Asti Rosso Peppers, and Poblano Peppers. I would add pimiento peppers to that, but I couldn't find any source for seeds. 

I hope this inspires you to make your own grow light stand. Let me know if you do. :-)

Happy Gardening!

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