Project: building light frames

Today begins the first major project of my urban farm. the growing season is so short (some years) that I must start seedlings indoors. I attended a class on starting seedlings indoors, and then found these plans for a light frame in Urban Farm magazine.

I’ve collected all of my materials and marked the PVC pipe. I’m not actually allowed to build it until I’ve done my pages for the day. A good incentive to get to work. 🙂





The first order of business was to get a better hacksaw, which cost all of $11 with extra blades.  This little guy couldn’t do the job.

The article in Urban Farm seemed to make this a very easy project, but I have to admit to some dismay when I was sawing away with my new hacksaw because it was very difficult to keep the cut straight, and I kept hearing my ex-husband’s voice in my head, telling me that I wasn’t doing it right.  (He wasn’t a mean guy, just a construction guy who thought my use of tools was hilarious).

Turned out I couldn’t saw them straight to save my life, but in the end, it didn’t matter at all anyway, because you stick the ends of the pipes into elbows and joints and things.  I was quite pleased with myself at the result.











The final stage was putting the shop lights together with one regular bulb and one grow light, then rigging a wire circlet around the pipes from which to hang the lights.

I also secured the pipes to the table in a very high-end way:

Yes, lots and lots of postage tape.  The table was just big enough, and I didn’t want to take a chance on kittens making a big mess of my hard work. I suspect this will be an interesting place for them.







Finally, I installed screwed the bulbs into the stoplights and hung them up.  The growlight bulb is a lot bigger in diameter than the other one, which freaked me out at first, but it doesn’t seem to matter in the slightest.  What I also learned: the white bulb is seriously loud (or maybe it isn’t quite installed right or needs to warm up? I don’t know the answer to that yet).  I might have to opt for two more grow lights.

Anyway, mostly completed:

Now to the planting!

Have you undertaken a scary little task you didn’t think you could do?  How did it turn out?

5 thoughts on “Project: building light frames

  1. I love it every time I do a “man’s” job successfully on my own. I’m getting quite good at plumbing, actually 🙂

    A friend helped me set up my grow-lights and told me this interesting fact. You don’t need a special grow-bulb at all; just combine 2 pairs of fluorescents, two each of cool and warm.

  2. Beki Adkins

    That is seriously exciting. My personal gardening style is to plant a gajillion bulbs in fall and scatter seeds willy-nilly from the beginning of spring through summer. I watch what happens, take what comes, and sometimes buy a new bush or three if I come across a new greenhouse. I love plants, really enjoy watching them come up and produce or flower, but I can’t stand the detail work of the planning. I’m too impatient yet, I think.

    I can’t wait to see what happens with your frame, though.

  3. Debbie

    I’m impressed! What seeds are you starting?

  4. Here in sunny Florida, starting plants indoors isn’t necessary–we have a loooong growing season. But this year marks my first attempt at a “real” garden. Cantalope, cucumbers, tomatoes and beans. I’m a nervous mother hen about the whole thing.

  5. Barbara Samuel

    Oh, that’s sweet, Leigh. Let us know how it goes.

    Deb, plumbing! I bow to you.

    Beki–that’s how I have done it many times and the results are sometimes beautiful.

    Debbi, I’m starting tomatoes,tomatillos, basil and thyme. Also some flowers of various sorts. The soil smells so good!

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