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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Make a Grow Light Space

Lynn Coulter
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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 1 hour

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•    Portable work stand
◦    Skil saw
◦    Drill/Driver
◦    Phillips screwdriver bit
◦    Drill bit (see Step 3; bit should be slightly smaller than width of 10 x 2-1/2 screw shaft)
◦    3/8 inch drill bit

Step 1:  Take four of the five 2×2 – 8 ft. strips and cut 2 ft. off one end. Take the fifth of the five 2×2 – 8 ft. strips and cut it into four 2 ft. sections.

Step 2:  Take one 6 ft. section and measure 3 inches from the end and draw a line. Take a 2 ft. section, place perpendicular to the 6 ft. section at the 3 inch line and draw a line on the other side. Measure 18 inches from the second line and draw another line. Place a 2 ft. section at this line and repeat the process of a line on the other side and 18 more inches with another line. Repeat this process with the three other 6ft. sections. These will be where the shelf supports will go.

Step 3:  Take two 6 ft. sections and lay them parallel on a flat surface with the measuring lines facing upward. Take a 2 ft. section, place between the bottom 2 lines with the end flush with the outer edge of the 6 ft. section. Drill a 2.5 inch pilot hole with a drill bit just smaller than the width of the screw shaft. Take one 10 X 2-1/2 wood screw and attach the 2 ft. section to the 6 ft. section. Do the same thing on the other side. Now go to the top shelf lines and repeat the process with another 2 ft. section.

Step 4:  Take the other two 6 ft. sections and two 2 ft. sections and repeat Step 3.

Step 5:  Stand the two side sections on their sides parallel to each other with the shelf supports on the inside. Take one 2 ft. section and align with the middle shelf lines, flush with the outside edge, and drill a 2.5 inch pilot hole. Attach with a 10 X 2-1/2 wood screw. Do the same thing on the other side. Flip the cart over 180 degrees and repeat the process with another 2 ft. section.

Step 6:  Take your three Handy Panels and put them on a flat surface. Take one 2 ft. section, stand on end in the corner of the Handy Panel with the edges flush with the outer edges of the corner. Trace a line around the 2 ft. section. Repeat this process at every corner of all three panels. Now take the panels to a workbench and cut out the corners of all three panels with the saw of your choice. Our associate used a Skil saw. Make sure you cut just inside the line for a good fit. Another person to steady the panels would be helpful here.

Step 7:  Stand the cart upright making sure the shelf supports are at the bottom part of the cart. Take one newly cut panel and slide in at an angle between the bottom and second shelf and drop into place on the supports.  Screw into place with three evenly spaced 8 X 1-inch wood screws. Do the same for the other side. Repeat the process for the middle shelf and then the top shelf.

Step 8:  Lay the cart down on its side with the second shelf supports parallel to the floor. Take one 2 ft. section and align with the top of the vertical post making sure that it is flush with the top and outer edge of the post. Drill a pilot hole and screws into place with a 10X21/2 inch wood screw. Do the same for the other end. Repeat for the other side with the last 2 ft. section.

Step 9:  Leave the cart lying down. Take the 3/8 inch bit and drill a 1.75 inch hole in the middle of the bottom of one of the vertical posts. Push in the stem caster housing and hammer it into the wood. Next, push in the stem caster until it snaps into place. Repeat the process for the bottoms of the other three vertical posts. Stand up and test roll. Attach a small screw (half way in) to the middle of both top supports. These will be where you hang the chain for the grow light.

Step 10: Paint and stain to your liking. We used a colored wood stain for the vertical posts and a polyurethane for the shelves to protect from water.

Tip for using grow lights: Put your lights on a timer. Plants need a period of darkness, too, and a timer will help you regulate how long they’re exposed to the lights.

 It’s easy to get a jump on spring when you make a grow light space and start seeds indoors.  Multiple shelves give you room for several trays of seedlings, as well as pots of indoor plants like African violets, which may not get enough light if you live where the winter sun is weak. Add wheels to the bottom of the stand, and you’ve got a mobile cart you can move around as needed.


Gardeners who have lots of space are the envy of their green-thumb friends. They can keep their lights out of the  way in a basement, garage, or empty bedroom. But what if you’re an apartment-dweller, or your home is small? Look for nooks and crannies to use grow lights.

  • Attach a light underneath a side table or coffee table. Use a tray under the plants to catch drips or dirt.
  • Put grow lights in a spare closet.
  • If you leave the light on over your kitchen sink at night, consider changing it to a grow light, and keep plants on the windowsill or counter.
  • Switch the regular bulb in a lamp to a grow light bulb.

CAUTION: Before you switch to grow lights in any lamp or fixture that isn’t made especially for them, read the manufacturer’s directions to be sure the unit can handle them. Overheating can damage the lamp or fixture, burn your plants, and even start a fire. Be sure you have adequate clearance and ventilation around your lights.

  • When watering your plants around grow lights, be mindful that water and electricity are a deadly combination, and be safe.
  • Don’t keep your grow lights on all the time. Plants need a period of darkness.

Thanks to Home Depot Store Associate Ken Rice for building this mobile grow light stand. 

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