My Grow-Op

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:

Image

Costco:
Chrome Steel Industrial Shelving (18”x48”x72”) for $100 CDN

Home Depot:
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!

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5 Responses to “My Grow-Op”


  1. […] four sets of shop lights and two different kinds of bulbs. You can see the set-up and the details here (self-link). Depending on how many seeds you want to start, you’ll probably only need one […]

  2. Diana Says:

    Very professional setup you have there!
    I have something…vaguely resembling yours, in the same way that a Pinto resembles a Maclaren F1 GTR 🙂 My shelving is cheap plastic, the lights are held up with string, and there is non-gardening junk parked on any free space.

    By the way, have you tried leaving the lights running 24 hours a day? I know, it seems unnatural, but I swear the seedlings love it. They tested 24-hour lighting in northern “Midnight sun” areas, and most seedlings seem to just soak it up.

    happy gardening!

  3. Kathy Says:

    Thanks Diana! I haven’t tried 24-hour lighting though it would be neat to do some testing on duration. I’m so bad at consistently turning on the lights. I’m actually in the market for a digital 24-hour timer and have only seen manual ones to date.


  4. […] space taken up by the flats. It’s the same make as the four-tier chrome shelf that I have as my grow-op. I brought it home and set it […]


  5. Looks great, Keep up the good work. Another thing you can do is add a Mylar back to you shelf. If you don’t know what that is look it up it great for growing plants. The big box stores that have camping also have Mylar blankets. The ones around me are 52″ x 82″ perfect for the back of your shelf. $2.89


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