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Stacked Grow Light Tables

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Project by luv2learn2 posted 03-22-2012 09:22 AM 3326 views 2 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here in Northern Idaho (90 miles south of the Canadian border) our gardening season is short. So my wife, who loves to garden, wanted to get a head start on the season by starting her plants inside. I built these stacked, and mobile, light tables to take advantage of the limited space we have in our garage/shop.

I bought the 2’x4’ fixtures for $8.00 each from the local Habitat for Humanity store. The light table units are nothing more than 2×4 construction. I rabbited insets in the table top frames to accommodate a piece of 3/8” particle board. Each light fixture has a 12” vertical adjustment to accommodate the plants as they grow.

I did change the ballast on the fixtures to power T8 daylight bulbs rather than the original T12s. Both would work but the T*s are more energy efficient. All the fixtures are on a timer.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to have fancy grow light bulbs to be successful. These daylight bulbs work great. In the first photo you will notice two of the fixtures are on and adjusted down to almost touching the table top. My wife started geranium seeds two days ago and they are now starting to sprout. Oh, and it has been snowing outside for the last two days :).

These are nothing fancy, just a practical, inexpensive way to solve a need :)

-- If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy ~ Red Green



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luv2learn2

12 posts in 1975 days
hardiness zone 5

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stacked light tables

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26 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-22-2012 12:21 PM

this is WONDERFUL—to have the crank lift for the lighting, really smart!.

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

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3319 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 03-22-2012 01:55 PM

I love the crack idea. That would make life SOOOOO much easier.

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

View luv2learn2's profile

luv2learn2

12 posts in 1975 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 03-22-2012 03:22 PM

Thanks for the kind words. The crank lift is a life saver. We have friends that have grow lights but they are suspended from chains. If they want to adjust them they have to unhook one end at a time then manually adjust them up or down. NO FUN!!

-- If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy ~ Red Green

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-22-2012 05:20 PM

I can imagine—they must be so envious of your design!

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

View justjoel's profile

justjoel

1063 posts in 3069 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 03-22-2012 08:52 PM

Wow, can you build me just one of these units. Very nice indeed.

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

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 2951 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-22-2012 10:05 PM

What a clever solution! I want one of these too! I have been using table tops next to windows, turning seedlings regularly and putting them out on warm days because the commercial stacked grow lights are quite expensive. I am wondering if I can inspire my wonderful woodworking husband to duplicate your creation. : )

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View Cindy's profile

Cindy

346 posts in 2400 days
hardiness zone 6

posted 03-23-2012 07:20 AM

How fantastic! You could sell the plans easily, I’m sure – I’d be on your list! : ) I’m sure your wife is thrilled!

-- ~ Cindy, Virginia Appalachians, UDSA Hardiness Zone 6 ~

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-23-2012 10:08 AM

I was at our local nursery today and they had this set-up available—just another option, although you’d want 2 people for this system.

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

View luv2learn2's profile

luv2learn2

12 posts in 1975 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 03-23-2012 11:16 AM

Hi Debbie, yes there are several manufacturers of these stacked light systems out there and for someone who wants to get up and running quickly that certainly would be the way to go. Being a lumberjock, however, I have an aversion to buying anything that I think I can build :). Usually what happens to me is, I will buy something, get it home, and then say, this thing would be better if it only had this feature or that feature. Then I say to myself, self, build it with the features you want and stop complaining :). Check out my motto :)

-- If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy ~ Red Green

View justjoel's profile

justjoel

1063 posts in 3069 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 03-23-2012 12:32 PM

I so hear ya… (thought it was my own voice, though). :-)

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-23-2012 01:28 PM

haha

your version is the best!!

and as for Red Green, repeat after me, “I am a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess.”

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

View Braz de Souza Junior's profile

Braz de Souza Junior

25 posts in 2280 days

posted 03-23-2012 06:24 PM

magnificent, here in Brazil, especially where I live and that the minimum temperature of 15 Celsius (° C) (59 F) not have to invent, and of course some types of flowers that bloom beautifully charms us not here, more congratulations for the project

-- brazjuca Guarapari BRASIL

View luv2learn2's profile

luv2learn2

12 posts in 1975 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 03-23-2012 08:46 PM

Debbie, my wife laughs every time the guys at Possum lodge say “The Man’s Prayer”

Braz de Souza Junior, thanks. The flowers in our part of the world really need to come from hardy stock in order to survive. Our night time temperatures, even in the summer, are 50 F to 58 F. on average. The flowers you have in Brazil would need a coat to survive here :).

-- If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy ~ Red Green

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3689 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 03-24-2012 02:46 AM

(I laugh every time as well. It’s the best part of his show.)

Isn’t it fascinating the extreme differences of climates on this planet.

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

View baller's profile

baller

5 posts in 2074 days

posted 03-30-2012 06:32 PM

love the ingenuity, but for simple lightweight shop lights, imo that is overkill….hangers that go up and down with a simple tug, are less than $5 a piece…but then again they are made in Chinyuck, so more power to you!

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3318 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-20-2012 08:47 AM

What a beautiful set-up. I would love seed-starting with this shelving to work with.

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

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3469 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-21-2012 07:49 AM

Love your seed starting grow light tables.A couple of these would sure get a lot of use at my house.I only have one three tier stand and I find I never have enough room for all my seedlings once I pot them up into 3” pots.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View luv2learn2's profile

luv2learn2

12 posts in 1975 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 04-22-2012 02:25 PM

Iris 43,

These light tables have enabled us to be successful gardeners. As the picture shows, they are filling up with plants just waiting for the weather to get warm enough. Our safe date to plant outside is usually Mother’s Day except last year we had to wait until after the 1st of June.

Bon,
My wife also runs out of room even with these six tables when she transplants to 3” pots.

Under lights: tomato plants, egg plants, green peppers,pablano peppers, merigolds, snapdragons, geraniums.

-- If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy ~ Red Green

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3319 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-22-2012 03:11 PM

I know what you mean, Luv2learn2. I am wondering where in the world I am going to find space for all my seedlings now that they have to be transplanted to larger pots.

You operation looks wonderful.

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

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3318 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 04-24-2012 06:31 AM

It’s obvious your little seedlings appreciate the shelves and lights. It is so much fun to plant the seeds and watch them grow. The real work begins when it’s time to plant them outside. You are going to have a BIG job! LOL

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

View luv2learn2's profile

luv2learn2

12 posts in 1975 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 04-24-2012 08:28 AM

Iris43,

My wife is going to have a BIG job :). We have a deal at our house, I build, she plants, and we both enjoy the results of our labors :) Two years ago it became obvious that she needed more room for her vegetable garden so, I built her a 50ft. by 50ft. enclosed garden area. I had to put a 6ft. fence around it to keep the deer out. I also made all her planting spaces in the new garden raised beds. Prior to that she used three of our ten rock bordered raised beds for her vegetables. In fact she still uses them for planting vegetables in addition to the new garden.

-- If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy ~ Red Green

View sharad's profile

sharad

1671 posts in 2906 days
hardiness zone 11

posted 04-26-2012 08:21 AM

Wonderful setup using your wood working skills. An LJ and GD is a good combination.

Sharad

-- Bagwan-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View sharad's profile

sharad

1671 posts in 2906 days
hardiness zone 11

posted 04-26-2012 10:18 PM

I mean LJ and GT make a good combination. Sorry for the error.

Sharad

-- Bagwan-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View Cameron Robertson's profile

Cameron Robertson

10 posts in 1599 days

posted 04-21-2013 08:56 PM

My mate was also able to construct these portable garden beds to grow his plants during the winter season in Australia. Being in the storage business, we both looked for portable garden storage, and garden sheds for his usage. It was not laborious as these portable items are easy to set up and do. We are glad to have these done by ourselves. If not only for the very cold weather, we could have done more.

-- Cameron John Robertson - http://supercheapselfstorage.com.au/facilities/sydney/northern-beaches/

View TokenGimp's profile

TokenGimp

3 posts in 1734 days
hardiness zone 4b

posted 04-22-2013 01:25 PM

Very nice.

It sure beats the way I’ve been balancing my lights in the window sill on top of my seed markers! Great deal on the lights too.

Have you seen the information about plants just needing only Red & Blue bulbs? I’m curious if it’s worth the money? LED last longer and I don’t have to worry about breaking the mercury. I tend to break stuff a lot :-)
http://voices.yahoo.com/do-plants-grow-better-blue-lights-4161977.html

Thanks for posting.

View luv2learn's profile

luv2learn

1 post in 1579 days

posted 04-22-2013 04:24 PM

TokenGimp, we have been using T8 daylight bulbs in these light tables for three years now and have had great success growing our plants from seed. We do use a timer for the lights. I don’t see any need spending a lot of money on specialty light bulbs.

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