PVC Grow Light Stand You Can Make
For many gardeners, it’s near time to start seedlings for the next growing season. Most of that will be done indoors. Even with a good south facing window, our seedlings can get scrawny and leggy. So having an indoor light source available can make a huge difference in the quality of early starters. If you’re wondering about what lights to use, we’ve linked an article on grow lights in the footnotes at the end of this page to assist in your selection.https://gardensall.com/7-best-grow-lights-for-avid-gardeners/
Meanwhile, for you DIYers, here’s a helpful video on how to make your own, simple frame that’s easy to assemble and disassemble for storage. It allows for two T-8 double light fixtures (4ft) which should light 8 square feet worth of growing space. Use regular T-8’s or the plant growth type. We like the simplicity, modest cost, and practicality of this DIY light stand, and made our own as well, which you can see further below.
If you have more interest in a ready made “seed-to-harvest” indoor system, and if you have some wiggle room in your budget for a fantastic composting plant tower for growing up to 50 microgreens and herbs in just 4 sq. ft. indoors or out, you may also enjoy this article.
But, if you’re the DIYer, you may want to see the smaller, under-desk grow light using PVC pipe next.
Our Own Project on a Smaller Scale
The GardensAll crew had a special situation with an unoccupied desk in our office and thought the knee space might work out as a cubby for a scaled-down grow light system as shown in the how-to video.
Practically all dimensions were cut in half, and we left key joints unglued just like the bigger model. We dry fit every piece to make sure of our measurements and then carefully did the gluing, starting with the shorter pieces.
A couple of T5 21 inch ft fluorescent fixtures were found with grow bulbs included. We removed the shades, and then the bulb so we could access the mounting slots. We did some modifications with the attachment using small eye bolts in the slots, and then 3/4 inch snap rings to clip on both ends of the hanging chains.
Finding an old wire storage basket was a bonus that served to elevate the starter trays and allow the entire unit to slide in and out of the knee space area. You might not need to include this feature, but if so, practically any sort of sturdy grid or flat piece of material cut to size would suffice.
And this is how the finished project looks.
More light bulbs would’ve been better because the first batch of seedlings got fairly leggy. To add more light, a reflective windshield sunscreen was tented over the structure. We just used what we had on hand, but you can get the horticulture Mylar “fabric” in roles as well. This helped but I would still opt for four lights instead of two.
And so we grow. Now, as we are able to put our seedling flats outside for the day we are using the stand as an incubator resting above a floor vent. The temps hovers around 77-82 degrees so it should get some action going soon with our tomato seeds. (We removed the hanging lights).
So yeah! We’re quite pleased with the “Mini-Me” version of the guys PVC set up and will likely add a couple more T5’s to boost the light intensity. If anyone else has tried this or a similar project please do let us know!
And here’s that link for the article on best grow lights, and if you want to see our latest indoor greenhouse, that our seedlings are loving, check this out..
G. Coleman Alderson is an entrepreneur, land manager, investor, gardener, and author of the novel, Mountain Whispers: Days Without Sun. Coleman holds an MS from Penn State where his thesis centered on horticulture, park planning, design, and maintenance. He’s a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and a licensed building contractor for 27 years. “But nothing surpasses my 40 years of lessons from the field and garden. And in the garden, as in life, it’s always interesting because those lessons never end!” Coleman Alderson