Seed Starting: DIY Grow Light Box

Make Your Own Grow Light Box For Seed StartingOne of the down sides of seed starting is often a lack of adequate light, which causes seedlings to grow weak and leggy as they stretch for whatever light they can find. But, if you can make your own grow light box, you can resolve this issue fairly easily with minimal expense.

In the video below, Gary Pilarchik of The Rusted Garden shows us how to convert a five gallon pail into a grow light box for your seed starting.

Make Your Own Grow Light Box For Seed Starting

Video Notes:

Today I want to show you how you can make your own grow light box\station out of a five gallon container. This design is more about a principle. You don’t have to get the exact container I use, but you do want a container about the same size shown and it will need to have a lid.

It is really important that you use CFL bulbs. The ones I have here are 23 watt bulbs. The light fixture I have here is rated for 150 watts, so it is set up to handle anything up to 150 watts, so a 23 watt bulb will work perfectly fine for this. And, because it is a 23 watt bulb, you shouldn’t run into heat issues.

The lumen value of this bulb is 1550. You want a lumen value, if you can find it, between 2,000 and 3,000. But, in these types of bulbs, it is hard to find that. So a 1550 will work. You just sit your light a little bit closer to your plants and that makes up the difference. Your bulb also has a kelvin value. You want a kelvin value between 5,000 and 6,500 as that is the type of kelvin value that represents daylight.

The five gallon bucket I have here is big enough to hold three – six cell seed starting trays, which is enough to start say six tomato plants, six pepper plants, some squash, zucchini, etc. Enough for most urban gardens. You don’t need to have a huge space to start a good amount of plants and that is going to save you money if you grow your own transplants.

The lamp extends down through the lid and is positioned initially directly above the seed starting trays. I use a clamp and some wooden shims to hold it at the level I want it at. To build it you cut a square hole in the lid to allow the lamp unit to be raised and lowered so that your growing transplants will remain about two inches below the light. The shims combined with the clamp allow me to easily adjust the height of the lamp.

Keep watching to learn more.

We have had very little natural light available this winter, even in a south facing window due to persisting overcast conditions. As a result, even established plants are showing signs of light deprivation. This does not make for ideal seed starting conditions if a grow light is not used.

Do you need supplemental lighting for your seed starting? What do you use as a grow light box?

Photo by Gary Pilarchik

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