New Seed Starting Station

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Project by justjoel posted 03-13-2013 08:47 PM 1577 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So the wife says to me, one day a couple months ago, “why don’t you turn the shed into your workshop?” Well, since we rent and the shed is about 7×7, this wasn’t feasible (and she was just trying to kick me out of the space I sometimes let her car sleep overnight anyways).

But it got to thinking that there was space in there for me to build a new seed starting station. So I did.

The structure itself only cost about $8-$10 to build, mostly for the fence boards I ripped in to slats for the shelving. The sides are from an old futon frame that a friend was going to throw away (about 4 years ago). The back wall was bare studs, so I covered it with just a large piece of cardboard left over from a non-gardening, theater set-piece project I made last month. The non-wall side is covered with foam-core poster board from the $1 Store, that I’m going to let my daughter decorate. I’ll probably build her a little shelf for her gardening tools, with one above for some of my own.

The top is just a slab of drywall that I don’t know where I got or how long I’ve had, but I painted it to seal it, and then made it pretty and motivational.

The electrical component was where the real cost came in, but still was only about $45, mostly to get semi-dedicated, consistent power to the shed (rather than having an extension cord strung across the lawn). The fixtures were from the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store ($1 each). The flashing material that I used to make the reflectors blew off a friend’s large, barn/shed thing (same, remodeler/contractor friend that gave me two windows for a new cold frame!). The 60w fluorescent bulbs were on some special sale for 4 for $1!

As we are still getting well below freezing most nights, and the shed is not insulated and has only two finished walls, I set up a night heat source on its own timer, and made a little diffuser to keep it from going straight up the center of the unit.

I’ve got my earlier starts in there, though they will soon be transferred to one of the cold frames. I also planted 6 kinds of tomatoes, 4 peppers, and two eggplants (the nightshades). My garage station is filled with flower starts, none of which are up yet.

As I said, the shed is only 7×7, and it is half-filled with other shtuff, so it was hard to get back far enough to get a good picture of the whole contraption.

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

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1063 posts in 2069 days
hardiness zone 7a

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9 comments so far

View daltxguy's profile


882 posts in 1786 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 03-13-2013 11:13 PM

You need a Tardis shed, to expand the space inside.
Lots of great ideas, Joel and lots of creativity, as always!

-- Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. - Thoreau

View MsDebbieP's profile


14684 posts in 2689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-14-2013 12:49 PM

look at you!! Mr. GreenThumb and Macgyver rolled into one.
Fantastic job.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Tim's profile


16 posts in 620 days
hardiness zone 6a

posted 03-14-2013 05:40 PM

That’s awesome. I’ve seen the chain trick to move grow lights up as the plants grow, but your heater idea and the overall execution is pretty slick. You’ll get great starts there.

View justjoel's profile


1063 posts in 2069 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 03-14-2013 09:45 PM

Thanks, all-ya’ll. Yeah, on my other station I’ve got built-in slides for the light thing, with only three settings, so it isn’t as adjustable – I like the chain thing better. And this new box is heating up to nearly 80f during the day (it has been unseasonably warm here too), so I’m going to have to watch the watering closely, but it should be good for most of the plants for now.

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

View Greenthumb's profile


2290 posts in 2509 days

posted 03-15-2013 01:17 AM

You have the disease of “GTD” (green thumb disease). An insatiable desire to produce life sustaining good eats with all the joys that go with it : ))

I like it

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

View justjoel's profile


1063 posts in 2069 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 03-15-2013 06:40 AM

Yeah, I got GTD bad…

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

View jroot's profile


5081 posts in 2319 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-15-2013 12:43 PM

Great ideas here, as usual Joel. I really like it.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View Iris43's profile


3808 posts in 2318 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-17-2013 02:20 PM

Joel, you never stop thinking, do you? :D

I love your seed-starting station. Very well executed, and proves, one does not need an ellaborate set-up to get involved with growing your own veggies and flowers. (Of course, having your creativity and energy helps) :D

Well done!

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View justjoel's profile


1063 posts in 2069 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 03-17-2013 09:47 PM

Ah, the tomatoes, let’s see…

A Grappoli D’Inverno (Italian Heirloom that I grew last year, and hung in my shed to continue ripening until after Christmas)

Costoluto Genovese (Another Italian Heirloom that I didn’t have luck with the starts last year, but I believe that was my fault)

Beams Yellow Pear (from Seed Savers Exchange – grew a yellow pear last year, a start from friend, so didn’t know the source, but we loved them)

Amish Paste (as I’m going to can this year, also from SSE)

Black Cherry (so too, from SSE – for eating fresh and maybe drying) &

Solar Flair (from Wild Boar Farms through Baker Creek Seeds) I saw some of there items at the Heirloom Expo, and they were beautiful. Wanted some of their Blue Berry Blend tomatoes, but the seeds went crazy fast online.

Solar Flair

About Wild Boar Farms.
Wild Boar Farms offers some of the most outrageous tomatoes available on the planet.

Great genetics, great climate and a decade of living and breathing tomatoes are what make us special.

Located 40 miles North-East of Berkeley bordering Napa County to the East is the Suisun Valley which is located in Solano County. I could not imagine a better tomato climate, a perfect combination of the Central Valley heat mixed with some cooling at night from the bay breeze. Deep aluvial soils high in minerals adds the final touch to these amazing tomatoes.

The goal at Wild Boar Farms is to create the most amazing tomato varieties there are.

Using heirloom genetics and mutations as a foundation, I Have been fortunate to discover and then improve on some very remarkable tomatoes.

The main focus is on bi-color and striped varieties with extreme flavor and facinating looks. It’s a hard business but appreciative customers drive me on.

Thanks for visiting our website.
-Bradley Gates

-- "We are stardust. We are golden. And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." Joni Mitchell

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