Affordable Seed Starting Setup
Okay. $908 for a four-shelf "plant growth cart"? Saw it on Amazon. Yes, it has the lights attached, it's conveniently on rollers, and it's ready to use. But $908?
After spending way too long searching for a seed starting setup that wouldn't completely break the bank, I decided that it was worth the time to put one together myself, and I'm really glad I did.
My Homemade Multi-Sowing Setup
Although my setup wasn't exactly cheap, it was much less than those ready-to-use ones. After spending right under $200, I have a seed starting setup that has more seed sowing room, has lasted years and it was pretty easy to put together.
Shelving perfect for a Seed Starting Setup
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I started with a large plastic shelf like the one above. It turned out to be the perfect size. It has four shelves holding three standard seed trays per shelf. That's room for 12 trays of seed sowing!
At Home Depot, you can pick these up for $40 to $55.
The lights I attached are basic, cheap - and I mean the cheapest -- shop lights I could find. I know some people have the opinion that you have to use Agrobrite or LED specialty grow lights to grow healthy seedlings indoors, but I very much disagree!
I have been growing seeds indoors for over 15 years and never had a problem with growing my seeds into healthy gardening plants. As long as you keep the lights very close to your seedlings, any shop light will work great.
Not to mention the fact that those specialty lights can cost from $50 apiece!
I attached three for each shelf, but there are wider lights you can buy which would fit two of them per shelf. I got them on sale for $9 apiece. So for all the lights it was about $120.
I've attached the lights with zip ties as pictured.
The only real disadvantage I see in my setup is that the lights are attached to the shelves and cannot easily be moved up and down as the seedlings grow taller.
And since it's paramount that seedlings stay within an inch of the lights, and since the lights don't move, I must move the trays up or down manually. I don't find that a big deal. Some people might.
I just use some big thick Styrofoam blocks under the trays to raise them to the lights. If you look closely above in the full setup picture, you can see them. You could use pieces of wood, extra trays upside down, you get the idea.
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So for under $200, I have plenty of space to grow indoors what I need for my upcoming planting seasons.
And if you're not familiar with the benefits of multi sowing your seeds, you're really missing out!
Looking at the above picture of one of my seed trays, it's easy to imagine just how many seedlings you can get in 12 trays under one seed-starting setup like mine.
Here's our article on the advantages of multi-sowing seeds. Multi Sow Your Seedings and Save Growing Space