Picture of Plant starter light box..grow your own
Starting your seedlings from seed can be frustrating.  Major complaints are that seedlings either do not sprout or they get very tall and spindly.  A light box can help with both problems.  

  • a wooden melon crate  or other box 22" x 13" x 13"
  • plywood 22" x 13" x 3/4"
  • a fluorescent ballast for two 15W tubes*
  • 4 bi-pin fluorescent lamp holders*
  • 2 15W fluorescent tubes
  • grounded extension cord
  • wire nuts
  • flathead screws 6 x 3/4"
  • white faced corrugated or white paper
  • 24 hour timer
  • Drill & bits
  • Screw driver
  • wire cutter
  • wire stripper
  • staple gun and staples

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Step 1: The box

Picture of The box
My wooden melon box has slats and wide gaps along both sides and the bottom.  Lay the box on its side.  The open top is now the open front of the light box and the former side is now the top.  Cut the corrugated to fit the back and the two ends of the box and staple it in place.  This is to reflect the light and to keep it inside the box where it will help the seedlings. 

Step 2: Preparing the plywood for the electricals

Picture of Preparing the plywood for the electricals
Place the plywood on top of the box and square it up.  Hold it securely and mark the gaps between the slats.  This is where you will attach the lampholders that hold the lamps.  The lampholders will extend the lamps inside the box.  

Remove the plywood and place it on your work table.  Draw a line across the middle of the plywood, at about 11".  Assemble a tube to two lampholders and center them between the lines you drew.   Also, center the tube and lampholders between the ends of the box.  Mark the lampholder slot locations.  Mark the tube and lampholders location for the second pair of lines you drew.  Set the tube and lampholders aside and start the screws at the four places you marked for mounting the lampholders.  Remove thelampholders from the tube.  Slip the lampholder unto the screw and just snug the screw to the lampholder.  Don't over tighten or you may crack the lampholder. 

gwylan2 years ago
If you use one warm white and one cool white fluorescent bulb instead of two of the same type, you'll get something closer to full spectrum light for your plants.