Grow-op Set-up

Guest post by Amy Urquhart

There have been some whispers in the Forums about starting seeds already. Some of the members of You Grow Girl live in areas where it’s already the season for growing. Here in Southern Ontario, though, we’re still experiencing snow and wind chill warnings. I’ve started to think about what I want to grow in my basement “grow-op” this year.

My set-up basically consists of a large work table and a pair of regular fluorescent shop-lights, suspended on a chain to allow for adjusting, depending on the height of the seedlings. The light is plugged into a standard timer, which I can adjust depending on how many hours of light I want to provide. I also have an oscillating fan that I run when the plants get a bit larger to simulate “wind”. I set this up in our laundry room every year, and so far I have had really good success while incurring minimal costs.

I love getting up in the morning and heading down to the basement to see what’s growing, watering where necessary, and just admiring the bits of green.

Amy's Basement Grow-op

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11 thoughts on “Grow-op Set-up

  1. so regular fluorescent shop-lights is enough? one doesn’t have to buy special grow lights? that would be so much easier!

  2. Seedlings need strong light but they don’t require the same spectrum as mature, flowering plants. A good cheap set-up includes 1 cool white and 1 warm white bulb. 40 watts each is enough. This will keep them going until it’s time to get them outside.

  3. I’m jealous because I don’t have a basement. But I’m wondering how warm yours is, or what the ideal temp range for seedlings is (while I look to my garage with a thoughtful gaze).

  4. Wow that looks great thanks for taking a picture of it, I love growing plants and seedlings indoors. I found with my experience that when light intensity is low, plants really have to stretch for it, and dim light causes foliage and spindly branches that are further apart on the stem. Looks like from the picture that you are using high wattage lights, you have placed the light closer to your plants, and that you are using a reflective hood as well, way to go, keep it up! Thanks for letting give me 2 cents worth.

  5. how do you know how long to leave the lights on for? is there a good e-resource for creating a fun basement set up?

    unfortunately i don’t really turn the heat on in my house b/c i’m cheap so my basement may be too cold…

  6. The lights need to be on 12-16 hours a day. If your grow space isn’t warm enough try getting a heating mat. They cost $30 but are worth the purchase and can be used beyond seed-starting.

    I’ve written a how-to article that will be going up on the site soon but I’ve been holding it in queue because it is not quite seed-starting season yet.

  7. I haven’t grown anything since I was 10, but I put a work light in my laundry room to move seeds to after they sprout on a household heating pad in my bathroom. I have two 40 watt “daylight deluxe.” Is there an advantage to one cool and one warm that I’m missing out on? Also, how warm should the room be? I just turned the heat on, but it fluxuates a lot because the drier turns the small room into a sauna. Any advice is appreciated! So far, this set up seems to suit my little darlings.

  8. If you are looking for light fixtures and you are at least a bit handy, visit a Habitat Restore for light fixtures. I picked up some nearly new 4 tube for like 20 and 25 dollars less bulbs. Also a couple of 2 light strips for 10 each. Watch out for the kind of bulbs you need as newer fixtures need a T8 type bulb. These are thinner in diameter and put out great light. Also should be more economical.


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