Shedding a Little Light on Things

So, the hubs created my grow light set up last night! I’m so very excited to have it in place! Just another step toward Spring!

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Unfortunately the man isn’t much on putting together a tutorial for others. He gets too involved in figuring out how he’s going to do it to remember to take photos so that the rest of us will know how so all I have is after photos. I think we can figure it out together though.

First let me address the WHY of the situation. Why do we need grow lights for our seedlings if we have windows? Two reasons:

  1. In the winter months there are not enough hours of natural light for our young plants to grow in. They need 14 TO 16 hours of light per day to get going.
  2. The light coming in a window is too week and too far away. This will cause your seedlings to bolt and reach for the light, causing weak, spindly seedlings that will not mature into healthy plants. They need the light to be close and direct to grow thick and strong. Grow lights can be placed an inch or two above the seedlings to encourage strong growth.

We started by going to Menard’s and purchasing a couple of $15 shop lights. Then we picked up some fluorescent COOL blue light bulbs. You want as much blue light in the bulb as you can get. Depending on your needs you can buy the lights in 48″ lengths, like we did, or you can buy them in 24″ lengths.

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Next he built a frame using scrap lumber he had in the basement. We first had to determine how far apart the two lights had to be in order to cover the flats we were using. Once we had that measurement, he attached the lights to a couple of bars of wood at each end to keep them in place.

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He attached hooks to attach the chain to the lights and the frame.

We determined approximately how tall the plants would be before we took the lights off of them. We included the depth of the containers in this figure and he built 2 triangular end pieces that he attached to “feet” for a total of 18.5″ of height for the frame.

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He also created a brace to go the length of the stand from the bottom of one upright to the bottom of the other along the back for added stability.

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Along the top bar he drilled holes at either end to thread the chains though, so that the lights would be easily raised as the plants grow. The chain is held in place with a simple nail. Genius!

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Now the light stays right where it needs to be and will be easily adjusted as the plants grow.

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Finally he set up a timer. Unfortunately we did not study our timer as carefully as we should have before we bought it and it will only time for 8 hours max or dusk to dawn with an outdoor sensor. But it did come with a cool remote control! LOL!

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The timer will be returned and a proper timer will be purchased. This way I can be assured my precious plants get the light they need.

Here’s another look at the finished project.

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It is true, you can buy actual grow lights and stands and they work just fine, but I find them to be a little pricey. Especially when a set up like this can do the job just as well for less.

So, gather your supplies and build yourself a grow light this weekend! It’s really not difficult and you will be so much happier with the outcome if you do.

Happy growing!

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