Grit Blogs > Growing Possibilities

Get Growing with a Seed Starter

By Paul Gardener

Tags: seed starter, gardening,

Tonight I finally got around to bringing my newly designed and built seed starter down into the basement where I'll have it set up until I'm done getting starts going; probably until mid May at least. I'm going to just put up a bunch of pictures (since that's really the best way to explain it don't you think?) and explain myself as I go.

Seed starter ready for storage

The main requirement for this project, outside of the obvious functionality of the starter, was that I could disassemble and store it with relative ease in a minimum amount of space. Above is the framework of the starter minus the lights. The trays are roughly two feet wide by 4 feet long, and the long boards that make up the legs are just shy of six feet long. The leg boards are "L" shaped and nest inside each other.

Pieces ready for assembly

Here they are all laid out just before my wife and I assembled it. The process is simple, attach the bottom shelf loosely to all four legs and then move your way up. It's a two person job, but in a pinch a single person could do it.

Wingnut and carriage bolt

This is the set up that the whole shi-bang is held together with. It's a 2 1/2 inch long carriage bolt with a washer, lock washer and wing nut for easy hand assembly.

Seed starter from the top

This is a view from the top of one of the legs so that you can see how the legs and the shelves attach. Below is a picture of the shelf from the inside.

Seed starter shelf from the inside

I lined the bottoms of the two shelves that will hold plants with plastic sheeting because I didn't want to accidentally spill water over the sides and have it drip out the bottom onto either the flooring or the fluorescent lamps.

Seed starter light bulbs

And speaking of which, these are the brand/s of lamps that I am using. One gives a high number of lumens but is heavy on the red spectrum of light (kitchen and bath) while the other will fill the gaps in the blue spectrum.

Plants started and waiting

Mind you, they're not professional bulbs or anything, but hey...they do put out a good bit of light! I have two lamps per shelf for a total of four. Each shelf can hold 192 individual plants or 48 plastic four packs. Total I'll be able to have up to 384 plants started at one time. Woo hoo!!

Seed starter by Paul

And last but by no means it is; my starter. I only have one shelf loaded so far, but I'll be able to get my cabbages and broccoli started to supplement what I direct sow into the ground soon. The bottom shelf will have the later season stuff like tomatoes, peppers eggplants and such. Then I'll spread them out amongst the two shelves as they get bigger.

Spring is here!! I don't care what the weather man tells me. When I start seeds and I can turn my soil like I did today...spring’s here!! Time to get growing!

Hope all your seeds are sprouting well.


7/10/2009 5:18:09 PM

Paul, Ingenius idea you got there. What lighting schedule did you use? thanks. Pappy

razor family farms
4/24/2009 9:41:51 PM

Paul -- VERY nifty!!! I like the design of your high tech seed starting shelves. I needed these when I lived in Washington and the lack of sunlight made seed-starting really difficult! Blessings, Lacy NEWS @ Razor Family Farms ( blog)

paul gardener
4/2/2009 4:56:36 PM

Beth~ Thanks, I appreciate it, we do try our best to grow as much as we can (while still letting our kids have a yard to play in). I hope the trellis works as well for you as it has for me. Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions about it. My email is listed at the bottom of most posts and my personal blog address where I talk about a lot of this type of thing almost daily is listed below. I'd love to see your trellis in full growth this summer if you think of it! I wish you the very best with your garden this year. Paul~ ----

4/2/2009 3:08:09 PM

Paul, I thought the way you started your seeds was really interesting and spacesaving. I'm hoping to build your trellises this summer. I really think thath plan is cool, too. I also enjoyed the suburban potato and chick starting.I think it is really neat how living in the city you use all your available space.

paul gardener
3/11/2009 12:19:42 AM

Hank~ Thanks a lot, I'm happy with the design. The real proof will come with actually using it though. I'll let you know. Pam~ All the very best of luck to you! P~

pam mccracken
3/10/2009 9:54:05 PM

Paul This is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing,I plan to build one this weekend.Happy Spring!

hank will_1
3/10/2009 4:04:14 PM

Paul -- That is an awesome design. I especially like the way it comes apart for easy storage. I think you should patent the design and get IKEA to carry it ... or just use it as you do and enjoy life. :) Thanks so much for posting.