Sunday, March 21, 2010

Building a Seed Germination Rack

Well its been some time since I last blogged, but Spring is here (kind of) so its gardening time. Since the last time I blogged I have won a gardening grant for my classroom from Welch's and the National Gardening Association. I also built a seed germination rack last Saturday.

The seed rack was my solution to what has been for the last two years is a makeshift paint can/ shop light system. I wanted to update the system and make it possible to start more seedlings without taking up the entire floor of the guest bedroom.

I found a couple of prototypes from green roof growers and tiny farm blog and then adapted them to meet my needs and design aesthetics.

Drill (assorted drill bits and tools)
wood screws
3/8" carriage bolts washers and nuts
(6) 2x4's 8 foot long
3 sheets of plywood 2' x 4'
Cross braces
6 shop lights
12 plant lights
Jack chain
and S hooks

1. start by cutting 4 6 foot long 2x4's

2. take the 2 foot 2x4's and lay them on the ground with two of your 6 foot boards like so:

3. Repeat step two

4. add the four foot boards by first measuring out where you want the shelves and mark it. I made my shelves at 24" and 48".
5. Lay the four foot sections and clamp them like so

Then drill the holes for the four carriage bolts

6. Count sink each hole with a 1/2" counter sink (Note: counter sink the 6 foot board and the four foot board should go inside the rectangle. In picture it is opposite because I don't always do things the easy way the first time around)

7. Attach all four foot 2x4's to the inside of the rectangle.

8. screw on the plywood sheets to each level including one to be a top

Optional Steps if you want to keep pets out of the plants especially cats

9.. Place rack on side and then roll out 30" by 84" screen onto side. It is good to have a second person to help with this step, so the screen stays taut. Use a staple gun to attach the screen to the side of the rack. Then do the other side in the same fashion.

10. Attach the cross braces to give the rack more support. Four sided objects tend to shift from side to side. Cross braces stop this shifting motion by creating a more sound shape the triangle.

11 (Optional Screen step) Attack a front screen that is 48" x 84" to the top plywood sheet with the staple gun and then attach adhesive Velcro to posts and the screen to have a secure fit.

12. Install shop lights with eye hooks (I spaced them out at about 10" and 13" onto the plywood sheets and also the 2 foot 2x4 for the top rack only), Then use the jack chain and the s hooks to affix the shop lights

After you have installed all six lights to the three shelves you are basically done with construction. However I do have some helpful tips and suggestions.

Suggestion/tip: Pre-drill all holes it will make putting screws and eye hooks in much easier.

Suggestion/tip: If it is going in the basement (like mine) then purchase heating mats for the seed trays or germination may never actually begin.

Suggestion/tip: When doing this kind of project take your time never get in too much a hurry that you don't think two steps ahead of where you are at.


  1. Congratulations on your grant!

  2. Thank you. There will be more on the grant in the coming weeks.