Seed Starting Workstation
by Megen Hall, High Mowing Organic Seeds Sales Associate
flip through your seed catalog and fantasize about your summer garden,
you may want to consider that the time for starting seeds is right
around the corner. While it may be convenient to purchase a ready-made
seed starting workstation, you can easily DIY for a fraction of the
cost. Depending on the size of your garden or how many seeds you wish
to start, you can tweak the following plan to suit your individual
Let’s begin with the list of supplies that you will need to
get started. Some of the following items may already be available to
you in your home, while others may need to be purchased.
choosing a place in your home to set up your seed starting station,
find a spot where the temperatures stay between 65 and 75 degrees F. It
is also handy to set up near an electrical outlet, but you can use an
extension cord with a power strip if this is not possible. Seedlings
need approximately 12 hours of light per day, so setting up a timer for
you lights is ideal, but you can also turn them on and off manually if
you choose. A seedling heat mat is also advised for certain crop types,
such as tomatoes and peppers, to keep the soil a few degrees warmer for
seed germination requirements.
You will definitely need at least one fluorescent light fixture with chains, fluorescent bulbs, and two screw eyes per fixture.
If you plan to build the
proposed structure to hang your lights from, you will need a couple of
2” x 4” wooden boards (you actually need 12 board feet for the following
some nails and/or screws and
a hammer and/or screw gun.
Other items that you may need are a power strip, extension cord, timer, and seedling heat mat.
If you do not already have a place to hang your fluorescent
light fixture, you can begin by building a simple structure from which
you will hang your lights. Get your tool belt ready for a handyman’s
(or woman’s) adventure. I am inclined to warn you that I am no building
pro, but this structure is super easy to build! Begin by cutting your
boards into the following dimensions:
screw or nail your upright posts to your base from the bottom, using 2
nails/screws per joint. Then, screw or nail your cross bar to your
posts from the top. If you wish to build a structure that will hold two
light fixtures, you can adapt the plan to include two upright posts on
either side with two cross bars. If you are handier or more adventurous
than I am and you would like an even larger unit, you could also build a
multi layered shelf system or purchase a shelving kit to set up with.
two 2’ lengths for your base,
two 18” lengths for your upright posts, and
one 5’ length for your cross bar.
After you’ve built your structure (or have chosen a place in
your home to hang your lights), screw the eye screws to your cross bars,
hang your fluorescent light fixture, and plug in your lights (and
optional timer and seed mat) to be sure they are in working order, and
voila, you are ready to grow! Use the chains to adjust the height of
the lights so they sit within a couple inches of your flats so that your
seedlings get enough light and don't grow leggy. You can raise the
lights as they grow. Finally, check out High Mowing’s very own seed starting video for lots of great tips and advice for starting your own seeds indoors. Have fun and grow good things!