Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Build Your Own Seedling Rack

At the Sharing Farm in Terra Nova, we start a number of seedlings and now that we have access to a work room with electricity, we've decided to set up a seeding area. Karen H., our Greenhouse Social Club Coordinator built these seed racks with the help of her hubby.

Here are her instructions and pics:

Based on the grow racks at

Construction Material

2x4 4 pieces 5 ft
2x4 6 pieces 2 ft
2x3 6 pieces 4 ft
3 sheets 1/2 inch plywood, cut 2 ft x 4 ft
2 lengths of 5 ft 2 inch chain
3 dowels, 4 ft long
4 casters, 3 in diameter
6 flat headed nails (3 inch)
1 box screws (2 - 3 inch long) 3 T8 4 ft utility light fixtures

Other Supplies:

6 32W cool spectrum light bulbs
3 heat mats, 20 in x 48 in
1 power bar (with timer)
1 extension cord

Step 1: Lay the 2x4's on the ground, making 2 rectangles. Screw together (use 2 screws at each joint).

Step 2: You’ll need an extra pair of hands to put your frame together. First, mark the placement of the shelves. We chose to make the lowest shelf have the most growing space, the top shelf the least. Stand up the two end rectangles. Starting with the bottom shelf support, screw two of the 2x3 pieces onto the bottom of the frame. Then, add the middle and top shelf supports.

Step 3: Turn your grow rack upside down. Screw the last two pieces of 2x3’s to the bottom of the frame along side the other 2x3’s to provide a larger base for your casters. Attach the casters. Two of our casters have brakes, to avoid unnecessary runaway plants. You might just want to skip the whole wheel thing if you have a permanent home for your grow rack, but you should use the extra bracing.

Step 4: Turn your rack over. It’ll feel a bit flimsy until you put in your shelving. We chose ½ inch plywood. If you had your plywood cut at your local store, you may need to do some trimming. Don’t screw your plywood in place, you may want to grow really tall plants one day.

Install the chain at each end of the rack, using smaller screws. Your lights will hang on dowels which will hook on to these chains. Todd is hammering in 3 inch long nails to the ends of the dowels. The flat head of the nails will fit nicely onto the chains.

Step 5:
Attach your power bar to the top of the frame. We found a nifty power bar with built-in timer. Four of the plugs operate by switch (for the heat mats) and four operate on the timer (for the lights). Hang your lights. We chose 4 ft long utility lights with an 11 inch reflector, to get the most light for our buck. These are T8 units, running on 32 W cool spectrum bulbs. Place your heat mats on the shelves. Plug everything in and you’re ready to go!


  1. I had a light garden when I was in my apartment, I bought it from the Home Depot and it wasn't cheap. The one you've demonstration should shirly do the trick, and would be easier on the budget.

  2. this is a silly question, but if you have a moment, could you tell me how you program your powerbar? i can't believe i am resorting to this! i built my seed shelf, installed the same power bar and recycled in the instructions before setting the bar up. argh! frustration.