25 February 2008

Let there be light

This is one of two grow tables Meg and I built for last year's seed starting. The materials were pretty cheap (wow, imagine that). We raided the dollar-wood bin for the lumber and I lifted the milk crates from my then place of employment. The lights were the pricey parts of the project; I think they were about $10.00 a piece (two for each table). The dimensions are 18"D x 48"W x 36"H (sans crates).

Where we have the tables stationed in our house has almost as much impact on the seeds as the actual table's construction. They are snug against a white wall with a radiator running beneath them. The wall color and its close proximity help to intensify the brightness and uniformity of the light (I guess). The milk crates and spaces between the bottom boards allow a good deal of airflow from the radiator to the bottom of our heat hungry seedlings. The heat isn't so hot that it dries everything out; this is an old house, the heat sucks at best. However, there is just enough warmth to get things going.

The lights aren't on just yet. We read somewhere that we should wait for the first couple of sprouts to emerge before we turn on the tubes (regular fluorescent). Once the lights are on, we'll lower the chains so they sit about an inch or two above the sprouts and raise them a bit at a time as the plants get taller.


Anna---Flowergardengirl said...

That's so clever. I heard you need good air flow too or your plants will get leggy and crooked looking. Just a light breeze over them is suggested. You probably already know that but I haven't grown too many seeds. We look forward to seeing pics! I think you did a great job. When I get my new greenhouse built--using old windows, I'm going to make my shelves out of galvanized pipes. I'll screw them together and lay that opaque roofing material on top. How does that sound? You know, that roof material that is rippled and goes on metal buildings. It sounds cheap enough. We got to be resourceful.

Kelly said...

Anna, I think you're looking for corrugated roofing. We're hoping to build an extension on our shed and plan to use the same stuff.

It's good to hear that you're recycling materials for the greenhouse construction. Your plans sound solid. Please keep us posted.