Make a Cheap Grow Lamp from Stuff You Already Have

Do you want to try starting your own seedlings, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on equipment or time setting it up? You can easily make a small grow lamp setup. All it takes is some pieces of equipment that you probably have around the house.

What Are Going to Need?

Your going to need two things and one optional piece of equipment to get started.

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Grow Lamp Setup Made From Things Around The House

Grow Lamp Setup Made From Things Around The House

Fluorescent Light Source

A cool white regular fluorescent bulb is all that is necessary. For this small setup a 60 – 75 Watt equivalent Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and cheap $10 – 12 desk lamp will do.

 

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Seedling Fan

Seedling Fan

 

A light breeze will help strengthen the stems of the plants. About 15 minutes an hour is sufficient. Any desk fan turned to the lower setting fits the bill. I hacked an old CPU fan, its what I had. If you think the fan is too strong then move it further away from the seedlings.

Outlet Timer (optional)
If you’re like me, you will forget to turn on the grow light one morning or off in the evening. Also, who wants to turn that fan on and off? Not I. That’s why outlet timers make it so all you have to do is water those seedlings ever other day and watch those little suckers grow.

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Outlet Timer For The Lamp And Fan

Outlet Timer For The Lamp And Fan

How to Set it Up

Grow Light Settings

  • The light source should be about 2 – 6 inches from the seedlings. As the seedlings grow just move the light up. Hard bound books are great for this (for me its slim line PC equipment).
  • The seedlings will need 12 – 16 hours of light.
  • More intense the light the better, just keep in mind the max safe wattage of the desk lamp you’re using.

Fan Setup

  • 15 minutes of steady breeze per hour. This is where an outlet timer is best.
  • Space the fan far enough away to create a breezy condition, not a hurricane

 

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Seedling Fan Timer Settings

Seedling Fan Timer Settings

Tips

  • This setup is perfect for the Jiffy 16 medium peat pot seedling starter (shown in the photos)
  • Rotate the seedling tray a ¼ turn each day.
    • It is going to be hard to provide direct overhead lighting. Changing the angle of the light source by rotating the tray will keep the plants from growing in one direction.
    • Similar to the light, the plants closest to the fan will absorb more of the breeze than the ones farther away. The rotation will even this out a bit.
  • Check the water at least every other day. The wind will increase the evaporation causing the plants and seed starting medium to dry out.

 

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16 Seedlings

16 Seedlings

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