Saturday, November 6, 2010

From Christmas Lights to New Germinating Table!

It all  started at 5:30 AM this morning. I was thinking about how to use Christmas lights in the cold frame to add heat. So, I started to do a little research on lights, lumens, etc. Then I thought that I better go down in the basement to see what lights "The Italian" had in his Christmas container. I had totally forgotten that he had several rolls of brand new tube lights! Haha, I knew I could do something with these! So, after a little more research on the internet I came acrross this. It was the perfect idea for a new germinating table. I had been using an old fold-up metal table with a space heater underneath it and hanging shop lights above. The space heater really uses a lot of electricity. However, I did not want to spend the money on those heat mats. They are really expensive.

After searching high and low, inside and outside....I even went over to the house next door (I own it) and looked to see what I could find over there. I found everything I needed to make a better and more economical germinating table. I had decided that I want to make two separate sections. Each section would be 2' x 4'.

First, I took a piece of plywood, 2' x 4' and laid it on two saw horses. Then I cut and placed insulating foam board that we had left over from building the powder room, on top of it.

It's kind of hard to take a picture and look like I'm cutting the board at the same time. Especially with my butterflied boo boo thumb.

I then tacked down the insulating boards where they came together with a couple of panel nails, to hold them in place.

Next, I cut six, 1- 1 1/2 inch strips of insulating board from the damage boards we had. I tacked down two of the wider strips on each side. Then I tacked the clips that came with the tube lights in 5 rows, spacing them approximately 5" apart. I had turned the lights on while I was working on the clips to make the tubes easier to work with.

The lights were then put into the clips. By this time, my finger was bleeding a bit and the battery on the camera went dead. So, I didn't get pictures of this process.

Then, the four remaining strips of insulating board was tacked down between each row.

Here you can see the clips and stips of damaged board placed in between.

The lights in place....this took some time!

I had planned to use an old piece of paneling for the top. After looking around and thinking that I didn't want to go outside in the cold shed to cut the plywood on the table saw....I saw some storm windows that we don't use!
The temperature on the glass with the lights on was 80 degrees after about an hour.

"The Italian" told me not to wash the windows....because they are just going to get dirty anyway!

Side View

So, there's my new, free, more economical germinating table in my basement!!
I will make the second half early next year.


  1. Holy cow! That's fairly simple, and positively brilliant! Now all I need is to make one, and then commandeer a portion of the garage as mine!

  2. What an awesome DIY project. I love that it's free and love that you made it out of things in your house. I'm all about recycling! We just recently made compost bins out of free pallets.

  3. That's really cool! I'm planning on doing something similar in my longest propagation system. Great tutorial!

  4. We used something similar last year. Instead of the window, we put the seedling flats in a plastic storage box and set that right in the lights. It worked great, as I suspect will yours.
    I love clever solutions like this!

  5. Lori, I think that you better rope off YOUR section of the garage and give notice!

    Mimi, Thanks, I think pallets make the best compost bins!

    Thanks EG, It's not quite as warm as using the space heater...but, I'm sure it will cost a lot less to use.

    Ali, I didn't want to sit the trays right on the lights in case of water leakage. I use those cheap plastic trays. "The Italian" doesn't like it when I use the baking sheets. I need to find something better to use.

  6. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  7. What a clever idea, thanks for sharing.

  8. I love this idea!! I am definitely marking it for later use!!

  9. MojVrt, Mac & Deb - Thanks & Your Welcome...It seems to working well so far!

  10. A great looking project. You little seedlings will just love you for it!


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