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Seed starting station..

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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  slimbolen99 on 3/25/2015, 1:30 pm

Yolos: Glad to hear it's working out for you!
I leave a small gap -- maybe an inch or so...not much. I'll have to go down and measure. The reflectors help dissipate some of the excess vertical light back down, so I don't really experience much drop-off of growth between the lights.
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New grow light stand

Post  CitizenKate on 2/21/2016, 12:22 pm

I decided my old 2-tube grow light stand was not providing quite as much light for my seedlings as they seemed to want, so this year I decided to make a new one that holds 4 tubes on each level.  This design is derived from this design I found online.

I needed a modified version to raise it up a little higher, to make it fit in our kitchen in the space where our dog eats.  Hardly anything got displaced by it.  The dog now has a roof over his head when he eats.  And the bonus - it will easily fit at least one more light fixture on each level, so this thing should be able to deliver a TON of light.

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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  CitizenKate on 2/21/2016, 12:44 pm

I have the plans for this in a PDF that I'm willing to share.  Is there a way to post it here?
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/21/2016, 2:41 pm

Nice, Kate!
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  yolos on 2/21/2016, 2:46 pm

Kate - if you can scan the plans in as a jpg file, you can then upload it the same way you upload pictures.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  CitizenKate on 2/21/2016, 11:05 pm

I tried converting it to images, but it loses a lot of clarity when I do that, and then the image hosting service reduces it even further.   Not very readable after all that.  Oh well.

I may just see if I can find somewhere to host it and post a link.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  sanderson on 2/22/2016, 2:41 am

Nice setup.

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Grow light stand for less than $10.00

Post  MrBooker on 1/22/2017, 1:26 pm

After researching threads on this forum and the internet, on grow light stands, I figured they couldn't be that hard to build. I bought the grow light for $30 and built the stand for less than $10 and it only took one beer to finish it..   What a Face    Glug, glug.

Also... I did not glue anything together. When I'm done with it, pull it apart and store it OR maybe grow greens during the winter

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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  jimmy cee on 1/22/2017, 2:36 pm

Could I suggest that you add 2 more lights for a total of three ? You won't regret it and it will be simple to adjust with tee's. Flood the area with light and you will be greatly rewarded.

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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  MrBooker on 1/22/2017, 2:53 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:Could I suggest that you add 2 more lights for a total of three ? You won't regret it and it will be simple to adjust with tee's. Flood the area with light and you will be greatly rewarded.

 I bought some of those light fixtures and bulbs yesterday and they didnt work. Things have a tendency not to work for me. The fixture I bought is led and guaranteed to work and I was amazed when it actually DID work. It is a bright white and has 3200 lumens. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  runsamok on 1/22/2017, 3:06 pm

That looks really nice and adjustable with the chain. Can you post the parts that you used to make it?
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  MrBooker on 1/22/2017, 3:21 pm

@runsamok wrote:That looks really nice and adjustable with the chain. Can you post the parts that you used to make it?
Parts: It took one 10 ft section  and half of another, 3/4 inch pvc pipe. Two 3/4 inch elbows and two 3/4 inch "T" joints and two 1/4 inch "J" bolts.  The chain and hooks came with the light fixture.  My light fixture is only 36 inches long.  If your interested in all the measurements, I can give them to you.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/22/2017, 4:24 pm

Nice!  I went to get some starter mix etc. and my Walmart doesn't have that thing going yesterday....sign:  COOL YOUR JETS,  lol!
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 1/22/2017, 6:55 pm

@MrBooker wrote:
@jimmy cee wrote:Could I suggest that you add 2 more lights for a total of three ? You won't regret it and it will be simple to adjust with tee's. Flood the area with light and you will be greatly rewarded.
 I bought some of those light fixtures and bulbs yesterday and they didnt work. Things have a tendency not to work for me. The fixture I bought is led and guaranteed to work and I was amazed when it actually DID work. It is a bright white and has 3200 lumens. Thanks for the advice.
MrBooker - If you're new to this sort of light fixture there's definitely a trick to seating the bulbs properly, and they won't work if you don't. I couldn't believe none of my fixtures worked when I got them -- and then managed to get all four bulbs working after trying several more times. (And even then, one shifted a month later and I had to re-seat it again.) The third double-bulb fixture I got still took me more than one try, even after my experience with the first two. If you got the lights and bulbs new, and haven't returned them yet, it might be worth giving them another go.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  MrBooker on 1/22/2017, 7:26 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
@MrBooker wrote:
@jimmy cee wrote:Could I suggest that you add 2 more lights for a total of three ? You won't regret it and it will be simple to adjust with tee's. Flood the area with light and you will be greatly rewarded.
 I bought some of those light fixtures and bulbs yesterday and they didnt work. Things have a tendency not to work for me. The fixture I bought is led and guaranteed to work and I was amazed when it actually DID work. It is a bright white and has 3200 lumens. Thanks for the advice.
MrBooker - If you're new to this sort of light fixture there's definitely a trick to seating the bulbs properly, and they won't work if you don't. I couldn't believe none of my fixtures worked when I got them -- and then managed to get all four bulbs working after trying several more times. (And even then, one shifted a month later and I had to re-seat it again.) The third double-bulb fixture I got still took me more than one try, even after my experience with the first two. If you got the lights and bulbs new, and haven't returned them yet, it might be worth giving them another go.
Well, how do I seat the bulbs properly? You say, "I't might worth trying".  WHAT might be worth trying?
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 1/22/2017, 7:38 pm

Sorry! Mine slide in and then need to be gently twisted -- how much is the trick. Not enough and they don't make contact properly, too far and they are again past the correct point. It might be worth taking the bulbs out and putting them back in again, and testing, with different degrees of turning each time. I realize I am making an assumption that all T8 fixtures work like this (with bulbs that to be turned slightly after going in)-- would others please chime in if I'm wrong about that?
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  yolos on 1/22/2017, 8:00 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:Sorry! Mine slide in and then need to be gently twisted -- how much is the trick. Not enough and they don't make contact properly, too far and they are again past the correct point. It might be worth taking the bulbs out and putting them back in again, and testing, with different degrees of turning each time. I realize I am making an assumption that all T8 fixtures work like this (with bulbs that to be turned slightly after going in)-- would others please chime in if I'm wrong about that?
I agree.  That is how mine also work.  Just a slight twist after they are put in.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 1/22/2017, 8:15 pm

Here's a video showing how to put a bulb in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh3a_p7C104
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  jimmy cee on 1/22/2017, 10:03 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:Sorry! Mine slide in and then need to be gently twisted -- how much is the trick. Not enough and they don't make contact properly, too far and they are again past the correct point. It might be worth taking the bulbs out and putting them back in again, and testing, with different degrees of turning each time. I realize I am making an assumption that all T8 fixtures work like this (with bulbs that to be turned slightly after going in)-- would others please chime in if I'm wrong about that?
Place a mark on the bulbs, a straight line at the very edge of one prong far enough out on the bulb to be able to see it after turned. When seated turn both sides carefully 90 degrees. Sensitive fingers can feel the prongs slipping into the socket. When you're finished that mark will be 90 degrees from where you inserted bulbs. Always use two hands to do this.one at each end.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  sanderson on 1/23/2017, 5:55 am

Mr. Booker,  Nice looking stand.  It's giving me ideas on how to reconfigure mine for the third and last time.  I will be using the existing 1/2" PVC and two 4-foot T8 lights with hoods per each 4 ft section.  Yes, I have a lot of starts for summer, including the flowers. Smile Thanks for posting the photo.

This is what I had 2 winters ago.  I guess I didn't take any photos last winter. I'll update in 3 weeks or so with the new design.

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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  MrBooker on 1/23/2017, 6:41 am

Thanks for all of the replies. I think maybe the fixture I bought was a "bring back" since it was the last one on the shelf at HD. I read the instructions on inserting the bulbs and it seemed simple enough. I went exactly according to instructions and when I turned the light on it was almost like a flash from a camera from only one bulb.

   I removed both bulbs and re-inserted them again. Same thing over and over. Just an instant flash from one bulb. I rotated each bulb slightly back and forth as easily as I could. Same thing, FLASH.

I have changed a lot of fluorescent bulbs in my time without a problem. I'm still leaning toward a bad fixture. I WILL try again this week. While we're on the subject, can someone please tell me what type of bulbs you suggest?  I know I should use T8. Thanks. MrBooker.
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 1/23/2017, 8:54 am

@MrBooker wrote:Thanks for all of the replies. I think maybe the fixture I bought was a "bring back" since it was the last one on the shelf at HD. I read the instructions on inserting the bulbs and it seemed simple enough. I went exactly according to instructions and when I turned the light on it was almost like a flash from a camera from only one bulb.

   I removed both bulbs and re-inserted them again. Same thing over and over. Just an instant flash from one bulb. I rotated each bulb slightly back and forth as easily as I could. Same thing, FLASH.

I have changed a lot of fluorescent bulbs in my time without a problem. I'm still leaning toward a bad fixture. I WILL try again this week. While we're on the subject, can someone please tell me what type of bulbs you suggest?  I know I should use T8. Thanks. MrBooker.
If you got some light out, and have changed many bulbs in your time, then my advice isn't as applicable. Your initial description sounded just like my initial experience - bought them and they didn't work - but I was coming from never having done it before. (Though I really do feel like my fixtures weren't exact quarter-turn aligned for the contacts... and/but that could be a quality issue with the less expensive fixtures I got.)

This site mentions a bad ballast can cause a flash: http://www.bestfish.com/articles/troublefluorescent.php
With the knowledge that you got some light out, and with implosions mentioned on that site pale , I'm retracting my suggestion of trying it again. 

When I bought bulbs I think I just clicked the 'grow' box on the order form, so I don't have the knowledge to suggest a particular type. But I think this thread gives some good information and discussion on bulb types:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t17170-light-bulb-type
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  Ginger Blue on 2/2/2017, 5:36 am

Great thread, with lots of useful info!

I really like the simplicity (and low cost) of Mr. Booker's light set up; I'd like to duplicate it, but I also need shelves and don't have much space to work with.

Has anyone tried these Stack-N-Grow stations from Gardener's Supply? Do do you think they provide sufficient lighting?

http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/stack-n-grow-video/8709.html

Also, this may seem silly, but I'm concerned about the use of full spectrum light indoors - specifically if it causes premature or uneven fading in paint, carpet, curtains, etc, in living areas. Has anyone had a problem with this? I thought of draping the growing station with mylar while the lights are on, but don't know if this might suffocate or overheat the seedlings.

Thoughts?
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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  sanderson on 2/3/2017, 4:25 am

GB, It looks like the height of the lights can be adjusted, so they should be fine.

Good question on the lighting and fading of materials. They are in use but a few weeks a few hours each day so I would think the fading would be minimal if any. If you have any concern of fading, cover the material you want to protect instead of covering the unit. ??

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Re: Seed starting station..

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 2/5/2017, 5:58 pm

Here's my seed starting setup. I got the shelf on Craigslist for less than half new. I splurged on the lights, which are 4ft, whereas the shelves are 3ft. The plants at the front and back edges tend to get a little leggy, so I rotate. I mostly use discarded fridge drawers that I got off curbs as plant trays. I love the 4-pack cell pots for starting lettuce, and the 9-cell ones for beets, but the ones I have are very flimsy. My onion/leek seedlings are in genuine 128-cell-trays that I bought new - after making sure they'd fit with the trays/dome lids I got off a curb. (Twice a year people put things out for bulk pickup, and I - and many others in town - go 'shopping'. It's also known as Riff Raff week. Others are usually looking for scrap metal and salvageable furniture. I'm looking for discarded but usable planters, pots, stakes, fencing and other garden stuff!) Later in the year the oscillating fan will reappear, so that the teenage seedlings can get exercise. (If you're thinking "Wait, how do you use..." I don't. It's the guest bathroom; there's a shower/tub in the master bath, too.)


Here's a closeup of the rope lighting I use in lieu of a heating mat.


A heating mat (without thermostat) costs about the same as a rope light, but I already had gotten the ropelight free somewhere (ok, yes, it was another curb-rescue.) I've been told that the purple glow seeping under the bathroom door makes things look very illicit. There is cardboard so the metal shelf doesn't just conduct all the heat away. It seems to get things to about 85*F, and did a good job of sprouting my tomatoes, etc., and curing my sweet potatoes. But without a thermostat I have to keep an eye on things with an extra meat thermometer (where do you think I got that from?)
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