A seed starting station is essential to give your seedlings the best start indoors. You’ll need a basic, sturdy frame that can suspend grow lights that you can adjust to varying lengths.
This station was created by Julie Thompson-Adolf, author of “Starting & Saving Seeds: Grow the Perfect Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs and Flowers for Your Garden” (Cool Springs Press), using about $20 worth of PVC pipe and fittings. When complete, set it up on a table in an area with good airflow and temperature controls. You’ll need convenient access to water and electrical outlets, too.
Julie uses 4-foot long shop lights with two fluorescent bulbs in her seed starting station. Read more about starting seeds.
To complete the station, you will need:
How to Build a PVC Seed Starting Station:
- Cut one 10′ PVC pipe into the following lengths using a hack saw or PVC cutter: (4) 5″ lengths, (2) 24″ lengths, (1) 52″ length.
- Cut the second 10′ PVC pipe into the following lengths: (2) 7.5″ lengths, (2) 24″ lengths, (1) 52″ length. You’ll have a little bit left over.
- Place one end-cap on a 5″ section of PVC pipe. Insert the other end into a PVC tee. Repeat three times.
- Insert one 7.5″ PVC pipe into other ends of the tee, joining the 5″ sections. Repeat.
- Insert one 24″ length into a PVC tee top. Repeat three times.
- Attach an elbow to each end of the 52″ pipe, with the bend facing downward.
- Join the two 24″ length pipes into the open ends of the elbows. Repeat. The frame should stand alone without support. You may need to straighten the pipes or connectors slightly.
- Add zip ties a few inches from each end of the 52″ pipe to attach chains for the lights.
- Hang the lights 1″ above the plants. Adjust the chain to raise the lights as plants grow.
- Plug the lights into a power strip and plug the power strip into a timer.
- Set the timer so the plants receive 12 to 14 hours of light per day.
- Disassemble pipes and connectors for storage.
Photo and project taken with permission from “Starting & Saving Seeds: Grow the Perfect Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs and Flowers for Your Garden” by Julie Thompson-Adolf (Cool Springs Press).