March 30, 2007
I did a lot of research and weighed all my options before settling on my final purchase for my grow light set-up. I’d seen everything from cinderblock shelving to do-it-yourself with wood to the ultra-expensive dedicated grow lights in stores. I knew I didn’t want it to be in the basement as it’s a little drafty down there. I also wanted to be closer to the outdoors for when I started to harden off my plants. That left the living room which meant it had to look presentable.
When I first started looking at shelves I was really discouraged as most come in 36″ (3′) widths. Since the lesser expensive shop lights I was going to buy only came in 48″ (4′) length, that meant I had to find a 48″ (4′) shelf in a store or make it myself. Looking around, I saw a beautiful 48″ (4′) chrome set-up using a shelving unit from Lowes, which only has stores in the USA. Digging around some more, I found a similar shelf from Costco. I was on my way.
Here’s my set-up:
Chrome Steel Industrial Shelving (18”x48”x72”) for $100 CDN
Four 48″ Commercial Electric Shoplights with two-bulb fixtures at $17 each for $68 CDN
Two 48″ Phillips Cool White 40 watt T12 two-pack bulbs (4100 K) for $8 CDN
Two 48″ Phillips Daylight Deluxe 40 watt T12 two-pack bulbs (6500 K) for $12 CDN
This will give me two shelves with two shoplights and four lights on each shelf. The shoplights came with chains so it was very easy to hook them up to the shelf using the S-hooks. In the picture, I’ve only set up half the lights because I was too tired last night!
I’ve got a heating pad under the domed tray and I transfer the germinated seedlings up to the tray under the lights. It seems to work pretty well, though I need a rug to go under the shelf to catch all the little drops of water from removing the dome. I’m now thinking about installing a timer, a power bar, a small clip-on fan and a digital thermostat.
Initially I thought maybe I was going a bit overboard on my first year out, however, I feel pretty passionate about it and am really excited about experimenting with my little seedlings. Also a gift card for Home Depot from Christmas really helped!