Starting your garden early is a must if you have a short growing season. So far, we have sprouted seeds and transplanted those seedlings. Now that the seedlings have pushed up from the soil, they are ready to be placed under a grow light. Grow lights used to sounds super high tech and scary to me. If that’s where you’re at, keep reading and soon you’ll see there is nothing to be afraid of!
Why Use Grow Lights?
Starting your garden indoors can be quite a guessing game. Using grow lights, you no longer have to worry about having enough direct sun through your windows, especially on cloudy days.
Some benefits of using grow lights are:
- Getting a head start on your summer garden
- Having healthy, strong stemmed plants. Plants that don’t receive enough sunlight have wispy stems that are likely to break, or eventually wither and die.
- Being able to time exactly how much light the seedlings are getting per day.
How to Make One
I had tossed around the idea of grow lights for quite awhile, but always thought it looked too complicated. I didn’t want to have to figure out how to hang the lights, what kinds of bulbs, to get, etc. Also, because it seemed somewhat high tech, I thought it would be rather expensive. My mother in law set me up with my first grow light and showed me this video which explains exactly what to buy and what the cost is: (around $40)
In the video he explains:
- the inexpensive tools to build the frame: PVC pipe (he gives exact measurements)
- how to assemble the frame
- which shop light to get (T12 basic shop light)
- which light bulbs to get (T12 48″ bulb. Buy which ever has the highest lumens. He used 2600)
What I Like
- Easy to Store. I love the different grow shelves that you can find online, but I only use this a couple months out of the year. This disassembles easily, so I can take it apart and store it year after year. Also, because this isn’t a huge shelf, I can keep it in an out of the way place. Ours fits nicely under the piano!
- Easy to Adjust. The chain on the shop light makes it very easy to keep your seedlings close to the light even as they grow. Simply raise and lower the shop light.
- Easy to Time. I personally didn’t buy a timer for mine. I just manually plug and unplug the light at the beginning and end of the day, but with a timer, you know exactly how much sun your plants are getting.
So, are you convinced? If you need one more thing to convince you, I have noticed a HUGE difference in the seedlings since I started using a grow light. I have many more survive, and the ones that do survive are WAY stronger than the weak little things I was growing before.
How do you set your grow lights up?