It’s the Husband again. Coming to you live from a cold, blustery Midwestern landscape. Who else is ready for Spring? We’ve had at least four brief teases that promptly get buried under six inches of pounding snow.
To stay sane, I’ve done a ton of winter planning for our vegetable garden. If only the weather would cooperate so I can finally get some action. A guy can only take so much furniture arranging, curtain hanging, and painting. While I enjoy helping Joanna make our new home beautiful (and covering up way too many walls of pink), I’d much rather be lumberjacking and working on projects 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 our homemade Seed Starter and Grow Light Rack we built last week.
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 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 the garage.
Next, I attached under each shelf the cheapest 48″ light ballast my local Menard’s 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 thanks to a tip from my friend Patrick I learned this cheaper option from the local big box store is the exact same thing.
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 segregate our vegetables 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
Looks like that wining and dining is going to pay off.
Next time I’ll show how I made the soil cubes that will protect our little Midwestern love children as they develop.
Question(s) of the Day: Do you grow a vegetable garden? What’s your favorite thing in there?