Sunday, February 10, 2013

How To: Affordable Grow Light Station


Per the groundhog we are going to have an early spring this year, and in order to get a jump start on my gardening I wanted to start seeds inside this year.  In previous years I started seeds in a portable green house but didn't always have success with the seeds starting due to the seeds molding and never sprouting.  Last week I went shopping for grow lights, and was amazed that the fixture itself was $150.00!  Discouraged I decided to try and make my own grow lights.  I came across a video on you tube (http://www.youtube.com/feed/UCptL6_qMImyW_yZwiMjQdpg) that outlined how to make a grow station at home for $30.00.  

In order to make the grow station you need the following supplies:

-  (1) T12 light fixture
- (2) fluorescent bulbs that fit a T12 fixture
- (1) 10 foot section of 1 inch PVC
- (2) 1" PVC elbows
- (2) 1" PVC T pieces

To complete the project you will need:

- A tape measure
- A hacksaw
- A marker

First cut your PVC in 7 sections.  You will need (1) 56" piece, (2) 14" pieces, and (4) 9" pieces.  Then put the pieces together like shown in the pictures and video.  Put the light bulbs in the light fixture and attach it to the PVC frame.  




I made a few changes to the project:

- Instead of using plain fluorescent light bulbs, I used actual grow bulbs.  The lumens were much higher in the grow bulbs than the fluorescent bulbs, so even thought they were a few dollars more I splurged for a few more lumens.

- I added more links to the chain that came with the fixture so that I could lower the light and make it closer to the growing medium so my seedlings would not become "leggy".

This light station is amazing and works like a charm!  It cost a bit more than $30.00.  The shop light was $9.00 more than his, and I spent and extra $10.00 on the grow bulbs, but even at $50.00 I was still well below the cost of buying a light station from the garden catalog and hydroponics store.  


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13 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this fabulous idea!! Does the video explain how to attach the chain & light to the fixture?

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    1. Yes it does. It is real simple! Your light will come with chains that you attach to it, normally for hanging from the ceiling, but in this case just wrap the chain around your PVC pipe and secure. (We actually secured ours with large safety pins, because that is what we had on hand.) If there is too much room between your plants and the light and the light is down as far as it goes, you can sit your veggie trays on books to raise them up towards the light. You want about 2 inches between the light and your dirt when you start off. Enjoy!

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  2. Hi Emily! Is it okay for me to reference your cool idea on my post today about starting seeds? I have a direct link to this post (I don't show the photo, just say your blog name with the link). If this isn't OK--let me know! tgm91757@gmail.com

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    1. Sure, I will email you! Thank you for asking!

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  3. Will you do anything for added heat? One year I used a heating pad under some towels to keep the tray of seeds warm, especially for peppers. I still want to get a grow light self unit set up... someday! :) Happy gardening to you!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I made a few changes the next day (which I will post tonight...) and one of them was a heat pad. It really does make a difference in gardening success! :)

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  4. Love this! We used a primitive version for many years that worked but took up space. We actually attached a small shop light to a long piece of wood and used books to raise and lower it. Another time we used a plant hook in the ceiling to hang a shop light and raised and lowered it via the chain. I'll be pinning this post for the future as this is such a nice set up...great post and thanks for sharing!

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  5. Clever! Thanks for sharing on the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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  6. What a great idea. Girl Power! Thank you for sharing this awesome find.

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  7. Cool idea! Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Here's the link for the next hop :)
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-homeacre-hop-7.html

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  8. This is totally great and fabulous! I love all your ideas! Thank you so much the the effort in posting this article!

    -DanTheGrowMan.com

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  9. Wow! Great tips! These are indeed so helpful. Thanks!

    -DanTheGrowMan.com

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  10. This is really cool, I'm glad we came across it. I've been hearing a lot about grow lights, but I have no idea why they are used and what there purpose is. I feel like I now understand a whole lot more about it now. Thanks again for sharing!

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