How To Set Up an LED Grow Light Station

In collaboration with Nelson Garden.

För att komma till inlägget på svenska, klicka här: Fixa en odlingshylla med LED-växtbelysning

A few months ago, we randomly started daydreaming of having a whole shelf dedicated to our seedlings in the spring. The past three years have witnessed an escalating growing ambition with more and more pots – but not an equal increase in grow lights or space for the pots to go. In other words, it’s been a rather chaotic scene come mid-April, with more or less the whole floor in one of the unoccupied bedrooms upstairs covered by tiny plants, all trying their best to get some light from the one fluorescent light fixture we used to have.

But we don’t like it messy. And we especially don’t like it messy when it means time waste and a headache. Instead, we like it organized. Organized, neat, systemized. Easy and efficient. And so the plant shelf idea came to mind.

And because we can’t do anything half heartedly, this led to us reorganizing and structuring our combined guesthouse/warm storage, because this is where we could see the plant shelf fitting the best. Said and done. Few things beat the satisfaction of clearing space and creating more air, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

With the space all tidied up, only the plant shelf remained – and that’s what we’d like to share with you all here. Together with Nelson Garden, we have the pleasure of presenting a shelf and a system that’s going to make our vegetable growing a breeze – and also allow for even more early season harvests as well as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, celeriac and leeks thriving all the way from the winter sowing to final planting.

Shelving System

We are using a a portion of our IKEA HEJNE shelving unit, which is 78 cm wide, 50 cm deep and 171 cm high. Any shelving unit with around those dimensions will work – just make sure the shelves are adjustable.

Lighting

3x LED Grow Light No.1 60cm 15W with adapter
6x LED Grow Light No.2 60 cm 15W
(1x LED No.1 and 2x LED No.2 per shelf)

Support and Accessories

3x Adjustable hanger for the LED lights
6x Screw Hook 25 mm (use to attach the hanger to the shelving unit)
1x Plug-in outlet timer (24H)
1x Power strip (3-outlet, for all grow lights to be plugged into)

We’ve attached the screw hooks underneath the shelf above and hung the hangers with the lights attached to them from them. The hangers make for easy height adjustment as the plants grow. On the shelves, we have trays with watering mats and pots on top. The watering mats fill dual purposes – they make sure the plants get just the right amount of water and also reduce the number of times we have to go tend to the whole station. A visit a day is just fine.

As plants grow and get replanted, small pots will turn bigger, new seeds will be sowed, trays will rotate around and eventually, this whole shelf will be jam packed with everything from tiny seedlings to sturdy tomatoes. It’ll probably peak in early May, and thin out slowly thereafter, as weather allows for permanent transfer outside.

For best result, place your lights about 10 cm above the plants and keep them on for about 14-16 hrs per day. We have ours go on at 6:30am and turn off at 9:30pm (15 hrs) with the help of a timer. Right now, we have tomatoes, leek, bell peppers, chili peppers, celery root and eggplant growing, and will add pak choi, kale and parsley in the next few days.

We’re very excited about this setup, and love how it’s so organized and easy to manage. Seed starting and caring for these plants for months will both feel hassle free from now on. Hooray!

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