DIY Grow Light PDQ

We don’t have a lot of space at Casa Cairn, so we have to make a lot of stuff do double duty. And why not? Most of our stuff is really used very infrequently. I’ll bet it’s pretty much the same at your house.

Today we’ll take a two bulb florescent light from the garage and press it into it’s twice a year role as a grow light. Note that you don’t have to buy special –and expensive– grow bulbs, but your light should have two florescent bulbs, one in the Daylight or Cool spectrum (toward blue around 6,000 K) and one in the Warm end of the spectrum (toward red, around 2,500 K). Many door growers are using red and blue LED lamps, but those are expensive (although cheaper to run than fluorescents) for a home project.

Here’s your materials list:

  • 16 ft of 2″ x 2″ lumber. The longest piece needs to be about 4’6″ long (about 3 inches longer than your fluorescent fixture). The uprights need to be equal length, around 3 foot long or so. The feet should be at least 1 foot long. As I note in the video, the controlling issue for the uprights is usually your ceiling fan.
  • 4 – plywood triangles, about 8″ on each side. Cut up some scrap.
  • 2 – screw in hooks to hold the light
  • A fist full of wood screws, about 1″ long.
  • 2 – cleats or some way to secure the light and keep it from crashing down on your seedlings
  • 1 – 24-hr timer. You light should be on for 18 hours off for 6 hours. If plants don’t get rest, they can’t generate the hormones and enzymes they need to grow.
  • a length of line so that you can raise and lower the light. Note: the closer you put your light to the plants, the less “leggy” they will grow.

This video was edited, including voiceover, on my iPad. Not quite as smooth a job editing as I’d like, but power was out for much of the project.

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  1. Tonia Moxley says

    Nice design, Rick. Thanks for the suggestion. It’s so much cheaper to grow from seed.

  2. says

    Thanks. cheap is good, really. And reusable. When the season is over I unscrew it, bundle it and prop it up against the wall in the garage. The light goes back to being a worklight.

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