Homemade Light Table for Seedlings (from Feb 2011)

Posted on Feb 1, 2012 | Comments Off

Shelves + Lights = Seed Starting Machine!

Shelves + Lights = Seed Starting Machine!

[Encore post from 2/2011] On Sunday, February 13th the seed starting bug HIT me. I cleaned the clutter that had accumulated on the seed starting shelf I made last year (funky, but it works great!) and got going! First I wanted to add some protection since the shelf is now living in a semi-heated workshop space and had a roll of silver bubble wrap available. With the heat of the lights and the seed-starting mat, should be warm enough on cold nights. The silver bubble wrap (foil insulation from Lowe’s) also works to reflect the light, which is good.

With reflector-insulation and a plastic drape...

With reflector-insulation and a plastic drape...

Finished up with a drape of leftover yellow plastic tablecloth. The whole workshop kind of glows screaming lemon now, but Ada the farmdog has shown no ill effects from sharing her sleeping space with this contraption…

Starter trays

Starter trays

That tray on the right is hard to find but really handy. I think I got this one from Johnny’s.  It gives you about twenty narrow “furrows” to start seeds. Once they pop up, I transplant to individual cups. That was I can start a *lot* of varieties in a small space. I have only one small seed-starting mat (like a heating pad for plants) and this fits on top of it. The bottom heat makes things sprout really, really fast but once the cool-weather seedlings are up, they will grow happily with no additional heat other than the lights…

Heat-mat shown on lower shelf...

Heat-mat shown on lower shelf...

This pic shows how many trays I can get going on just two lit shelves. The seed-start tray will be on the heat mat (for a few days) then the seedlings will be spread out in individual cups in the regular trays. Each shelf has two sets of lights, so I can line up the trays side to side and get four on a shelf…

Kale at 72 hours!!

Kale at 72 hours!!

The heat mat makes a real difference. Check out the kale that poked up in 48hrs and was as above in 72hrs!

Closer to the lights...

Closer to the lights...

Once the seedlings start to pop up, I remove the mat and use a spare tray to put them all very close to the lights. This is another thing that makes a BIG difference: having the lights only a couple inches above the leaves. Your seedlings will be stocky and dark green this way, rather than pale and spindly. (This is why the lights are on chains to raise/lower when the seedlings are bigger.)

I’ll check back and show the results in a few days!

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers