How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

How I Made an Indoor Growing Rack

This weekend in preparation for getting our starts going we put together a grow box. A grow box in its basic form is a controlled environment for starting (and growing) plants.

There’s quite a few different way to make one, including a real box that’s dedicated, or a temporary setup on a shelf somewhere.

The solution we chose was a bit different. I didn’t want to make a box that’s sole purpose is growing plants, so we went with a design that could be used for growing, but then repurposed later on.

The basic foundation for our grow box is a six shelf wire rack that we got from Costco. We have several of them, and this one wasn’t being fully used, so a bit of rearranging later and it was ready to go. These shelves are four feet wide, so will fit growing trays perfectly.

The shelving unit looks something like this:

To set it up, we have only four of the shelves installed, with lots of space in between each of them. We’ll be using three shelves for growing, and the fourth shelf is a place to suspend lights from.

Now there’s two main things that we need to provide … light and heat.

I picked up several double tube flourescent light fixtures at a local house that was being demolished, and those will provide the lighting. Initially regular bulbs will be fine to get things started, but I’ll need to provide some full spectrum light to get things past the seedling stage.

All of the fixtures are wired up to a timer that I can use to control the light exposure. Since they rack is a wire rack, I suspended the fixtures from a chain using standard S hooks. This way I can easily change the height of the fixtures above the plants as needed.

Heat will be provided primarily from heating mats, but I’ve also got a way to pipe in warm air if needed. This will be a bit tricky since I won’t have a real thermostat to help regulate things.

Now I said “pipe in” but I’m using a wire rack … to retain heat and provide a bit of a greenhouse effect, I’ve wrapped the whole thing in 7 mil plastic that will help keep the heat and humidity in.

I’ll keep you posted how this goes…

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8 Responses to How I Made an Indoor Growing Rack

  1. I received a tip a month ago regarding heating mats. This person used a heated mat for pets. I went to Petsmart and was able to purchase 2 extra large heated mats for $29 each. I’m on my second batch of seedlings and it has worked very well.

    You may want to get an extra if you have pets. I had to forfeit one of the mats to the cats because I couldn’t keep them from trying to get on top of the mat with the seedlings on it. Let’s just say some cabbage and broccoli got a little squashed.

  2. You can also use tiewraps to attach non-LED Christmas or other holiday light strings to the framework. Just make sure that you keep the ends away from moisture.

      • A good amount of the energy that an incandescent bulb uses is let off in heat, so this is for bottom warming. Light is best provided by either natural sources, like putting your rack next to the window, or full-spectrum fluorescents.