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Old 03-15-17, 11:36 AM   #1
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Default seedling shelf

I just finished a shelf for starting seedlings indoors. It's got room for a heating mat at the bottom. Three shelves above that have six T8 flourescent tubes each. I used lumber yard spruce so it's light weight and the bolted construction means I can disassemble it.



The lights are adjustable in height and are plugged into switched receptacles controlled by a timer. A second timer controls a switched receptacle for a fan. A GFI receptacle provides downstream protection for all the wiring.

With the lights raised up there's about 18" of useable height in each shelf space.



If that's not enough for taller plants a light section can be removed, a shelf removed, and the available height doubled.



Rope and friction hitches are used for light adjustment and removal.





Spring is coming!

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Old 03-15-17, 12:10 PM   #2
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Nice setup!
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Old 03-16-17, 01:28 PM   #3
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Impressive! I am curious though, why do you need so much space for seedlings?
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Old 03-16-17, 02:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natethebrown View Post
I am curious though, why do you need so much space for seedlings?
Yeah, good question. Truth is we probably don't. I started building this as a valentine's gift for the best wife in the world but it took longer than I thought to put together so... it's waaay late. But the gift aspect meant there was no consultation on the design/size. And I'm the less smart one when it comes to plants so I just winged the design. The heating mat we had and the 4' tubes are a common (inexpensive) size so that defined the footprint. I figured there was no sense wasting vertical real estate so built it as tall as I could and still be able to tip it from flat to upright in our lowest ceiling room.

Besides, along this gardening adventure I've learned that anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Initially we thought a couple of raised beds would suffice. Now we've got four and are planning a fifth. Our fenced area is fully twice what we had staked out to start and it's starting to feel pinched. We're also members of the local seed savers club and seed amassing program so plants are grown and selected for various ends. With our increased capacity to produce strong, healthy, locally adapted seedlings more can be sold into the community the profits helping the club meet it's charitable, community goals.

And it's fun! The cabbage grew today! No, really... they did!
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Old 03-17-17, 07:15 AM   #5
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Have you thought about using your setup to try to do some indoor veggie growing, say Deep Water Culture (DWC) grown lettuce?
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Old 03-17-17, 03:40 PM   #6
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Have you thought about... Deep Water Culture (DWC) grown lettuce?
DWC hadn't occurred to me. I'll read up on it. I've been learning a bit about micro-greens and thought I might try that in the winter months.
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Old 03-17-17, 11:01 PM   #7
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Here's an example of a typical small scale DWC rig:
8 Site Hydroponic DWC System Kit with Nutrients - Hydroponic Systems - Hydroponics

If you have any imagination, you can visualize how to build the rig yourself. I've built a lot of good units out of all kinds of containers that were headed for the landfill. These things are about as low-maintenance as can be. I encourage you to try the method out. If you have anything resembling a green thumb, it is easier than growing in soil.

Here's another compact design that is awesome for starting seeds and rooting cuttings:

These little units can be built to house miracle growable seed pods for a transplantable, organic container. DIY seed pods can be fashioned out of locally sourced materials. Once some healthy roots poke out, the clock starts ticking before the container explodes. Be aware that most "potting mix/seed starter mix" media holds too much moisture and must be cut with perlite or other bulking agent.
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Old 03-18-17, 09:44 PM   #8
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I, personally, plan on trying out the Kratky Method a bit this summer.
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Old 03-19-17, 01:19 PM   #9
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Thanks guys. Just what I need, another project! Fascinating stuff. I'll be having a go at it once I figure out what type of system I want to try.
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Old 03-19-17, 08:25 PM   #10
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I dunno about that Kratky method. Pretty much all of the DWC systems I have set up outdoors have tried to grow mosquitoes or frogs. Feeder goldfish work better than the bt dunks to keep the larvae and eggs gone. I would be Leary about not messing with the water and/or nutrition after the initial fillup also. Maybe for fast indoor crops it would be good.

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