DIY Grow Light System for Seedlings

DIY Seedling Grow Lights My Urban Oven

As you all know, I am pretty obsessed with my garden plans lately.  If you follow me on IG, you will have noticed my IG Story has been full of my gardening adventures lately.

In years past, I have visited our local farmers market to pick out my vegetable plants.  There is this sweet older lady, that I go back to every year to buy my plants. She always answers all my gardening questions, and makes the best suggestions about plant placement and growing. Last year, she had a very limited selection of plants, and told me it was her last year at the market. She was getting older, and couldn’t continue all the work it took to be at the farmers market. Knowing that she would not be there this year, I decided I wanted to grow my own plants for this year.

2017 Seeds from Seed Warehouse

If you have ever went to the store to buy seeds, you know that the amount of seeds per packets far exceed the amount of plants needed for a small home garden.  One of the biggest reason I had rarely started my own plants from seed in the past, was just that too many seeds.  After deciding on all the types of plants I wanted to have in my garden this year, I ended up with 28 different varieties.  So on top of packs with lots of seeds I also was looking at lots of different packets of seeds.

Instead of cutting back in anyway, because that is just not how my brain thinks, I decided that I was going to try my luck at growing all of these varieties, and then host a plant sale!  That seems logical right??

The Hubby looked at me like I was a crazy person when I shared the idea. But when I told him the proceeds would go to funding my garden bed plans, he seemed much more on board.   My mother also has been telling me she has a ton of perennials she wants to split this season, so I told her she could add them to my sale. We might as well make this a nice big sale!

All this baring that I can successfully grow some plants!  So in my typical fashion, I started researching. Way too much researching. I think my garden pinterest board is the biggest one I have now!

I decided to order my seeds from an online supplier in hopes of getting good quality seeds and cheaper prices.  The selection was big on their website, and they came really quickly.  After seeing all the different packets, I knew The Hubby might have been right. I am a crazy person!

Green House

I had planned on buying a four shelf organizer, but when The Hubby and I went to the store, we found the perfect green house, for a much cheaper price.  This green house had the wide shelves I needed to attached lights. The shelves may not hold too much weight, the material is very basic, but with my seedling starter trays, they don’t need to hold too much weight. I did use zip ties I already had at home to secure the shelves to their braces. The shelf is nice and sturdy now!  I am saving the cover for when I move the plants outside in May right before planting in the ground.

DIY Seedling Indoor Green House

To ensure the best growth for my seedlings, I knew they were going to needs lots of light. In my research I had found that special “grow lights” were super expensive and not a route I wanted to go down.  I had read that many people found great success with using  ordinary “Shop Lights”. This was a much better solution for someone on a budget.  I was actually able to find an even cheaper option by searching craigslist and Facebook Market. I found someone near me selling shop lights for $5 per light, including the bulbs. I quickly scooped up 4 of his lights. At that price, you couldn’t even buy the bulbs at the store.  Even better was the fact that the couple who sold me the lights told me they had used them for exactly the same purpose I planned to, growing seedlings!  They said they had great success using the lights, and even gave me some pointers.

I love meeting friendly people 🙂

I was able to use the chains on the lights to connect them to the shelves above.  I then connected each light to a power strip so I could easily shut the lights off after 12-14 hours of nice light per day.  After a few days go going down to turn my lights on and off, I decided to dig out one of our Christmas light timers.  The timer works like a charm! I am able to pop down to check on my seedlings each morning to make sure they are watered, and then the timer worries about shutting the lights off at night.

Burpee Seed Starting Mix

I spent one whole Sunday in March putting up my self, attaching and wiring up the lights, and of course planting all of my seedlings. Since it has been almost 3 weeks since I planted my seedlings, I know my setup is working out perfect.  Many of my plants have taken off, and others are just finally peaking through the soil. I will share an update with you tomorrow of what my seedlings look like now.  If you are following along on Instagram Stories, you may have already got a sneak peak at the progress.

You might be interested in the budget it took for this project. Here is the break down:

  • Green House= $20
  • Shop Lights= $20 ($5 each)
  • 28 different seed varieties= $64
  • 4 bags of Organic Seed Starter Dirt= $14 ($3.50  each)
  • Labeling Stakes= $2
  • Seed Trays= $40
  • Total Project: $160

My garden is sprouting, is yours? Do you have any questions about getting your garden started? Leave a comment below, I LOVE chatting about gardening 🙂


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About Rachel

Country girl turned urbanite. Finding ways to mess up my kitchen, keep my country roots and explore all that city living offers!