A seed starting station is essential to give your seedlings the best start indoors and it’s simple to build your own. This project is 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. Learn more of her expert tips for starting seeds.
To complete the station, you will need:
How to Build a PVC Seed Starting Station:
- Cut one 10-foot PVC pipe into the following lengths using a hack saw or PVC cutter: (4) 5-inch lengths, (2) 24-inch lengths, (1) 52-inch length.
- Cut the second 10-foot PVC pipe into the following lengths: (2) 7.5-inch lengths, (2) 24-inch lengths, (1) 52-inch length. You’ll have a little bit left over.
- Place one end-cap on a 5-inch section of PVC pipe. Insert the other end into a PVC tee. Repeat three times.
- Insert one 7.5-inch PVC pipe into other ends of the tee, joining the 5-inch sections. Repeat.
- Insert one 24-inch length into a PVC tee top. Repeat three times.
- Attach an elbow to each end of the 52-inch pipe, with the bend facing downward.
- Join the two 24-inch 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-inch pipe to attach chains for the lights.
- Hang the lights 1 inch 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).