The next problem I encountered was that seedlings grow, but the lights were difficult to adjust in height, without having to take the whole thing apart whenever the plants grew too close to the lights. So I set the light at the maximum height of the shelf and brought the seed flats up to meet them with an array of different plastic tubs , stacks of egg cartons etc.
|Lights at a fixed height|
When the plants got too close to the bulbs I would adjust the stacks of tubs and egg cartons to allow more room for the plants to grow. This was an adequate system and has worked for many years, although it is not that attractive.
|A configuration of shoe box sized plastic boxes and egg cartons used to adjust the height to varying degrees|
|The Agromax light pulley|
|My lights are now adjustable in small increments. without having to remove everything and juggle shoe boxes and egg cartons!|
|Pull up to raise the lights|
|To lower, hold the cord, push the button and slowly lower to desired height, then release button and tug gently to set in place.|
|The complete set up|
|The new hangers at their lowest position to provide closeup light for seeds that have just sprouted.|
|Top view of the seedlings under lights.|
|Newly emerging Tatsoi Bokchoy and Perpetual Spinach|
Here is a list of things you will need to set up your own seed starting light stand:
One adjustable wire shelf unit, (I have recently found one at Walmart for about $40, it is slightly smaller than mine but would probably still be OK, I got my shelves at Sam's years ago for about $75, I think the price has probably come down since they are not a "new item" anymore.
Two low profile shop lights per shelf (Lowe's Home Improvement Store and Home Depot both have them).
One regular daylight florescent tube and one "Sunshine" tube per shop light, (also available at Lowe's< I am not sure about Home Depot since I bought mine at Lowe's).
Four Agromax Adjustable light pulleys per shelf (One on each end of the two lights) **available at
HTG Supply or www.htgsupply.com
To attach: Count four shelf wires in from the side edge of each light, clip D Clip over the fourth wire. Attach other D clip to the S hook hanger that comes with the light, making sure that the D clip with the knotted end closest to the pulley is attached to the shelf and that the adjustable end with the length of cord is attached to the light.. Adjust the light to desired height. See close up view in photo titled "Agromax Light Pulley".
6-8 inch lengths of chain, 12 2" pieces of plastic tubing to keep chain from slipping or damaging shelf paint.
To attach: Slip the chain through the tubing, count four shelf wires in from the side edge for each light and place the tubing to span from the 3rd to the 4th wire,( look at close up photo captioned "Light at a fixed height"). Take loose ends and place them over the s hook hanger that comes with the light. Do this on both ends, for both lights on each shelf.
You will also need Plastic shoe boxes , eggs cartons, recycled plastic lettuce containers (I ask people who buy lettuce from Sam's if they will save their empties for me) or whatever you have on hand that is water proof and can be used to raise the seed flats up to the lights.
Solid bottomed seed flats and growing cells I get mine from a local Feed and Seed for about $1 per tray and $1 for 36 seed cells. Sometimes I can find them at Lowe's but the price is higher unless I catch them at the end of the season on sale. I reuse the solid bottom seed flat trays over and over, and if the seed cells are still in good shape when I pop the seedlings out I wash them in a grapefruit seed oil solution to kill any fungus that might be lurking around and reuse them as well. I have never had a problem with fungus or disease from reuseing cells, but that is your call.
When I water the seed flats I take them out of from under the lights and use a plastic cement mixing tub (Lowe's for about $5), to set them in to water. This way I don't get water raining down on my lights. I raise the light to mist them once or twice a day, but I don't move them for that, I just raise the light to avoid getting cold water on the florescent tubes.
Seed starting mix I mix my own using equal parts of fine peat moss, and our home made compost and 1/2 same quantity of organic cow poo. You can also add perelite or vermiculite to the mix, but I don't usually find it necessary. I don't like the store bought seed starting mix, since it has wood chips in it that make the soil impervious to watering and are prone to mold. Also most of the Home Improvement store varieties these days have Miracle Grow or other chemicals in them , so I won't use them.
I hope that this information will equip you to set up your own indoor growing system. If you already have one of your own design, I would love for you to comment and tell me about yours! Please feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions or comments. I always try to answer you comments. Also if you follow me and leave a blog address, I will come and check out your blog and let you know I came for a visit. Hope to see you around! Elle
Blog Hops that I have linked this post to:
Clever Chick Blog Hop #26
Hearthfelt Hope #2
Monday's Homestead Barn Hop#103
Busy Bee's 9th Thursday Blog Hop
Farm Girl Blog Fest #25