The Alpine Strawberries I seeded in a flat last week are emerging, so I moved them from the warm spot atop the fridge to the grow table. They are joined by my onion starts under fluorescent lights.
My grow table is a low budget model. The table is a 1950’s piece that once was my wife’s grandmother’s kitchen table. A large C clamp holds a 2×3 to it. This allows fairly easy disassembly when not in use. 2×3’s attached to clamped one form a frame which supports shelves that were originally part of a 1980’s entertainment center. Fluorescent shop lights hang from the shelves. Rails across the frame above the shelves can support lights if I need another layer of seedlings. I can fit six flats on each layer, but just have two now.
Two items worth including in a grow table are a timer and a fan. I have my timer set for 15 hours of light. Fluorescents do not provide the intensity or spectrum of sunlight, so I give more hours than the sun this time of year. Its kept my plants from getting the leggy look that occurs when plants get too little light. The fan provides air exchange for respiration and prevents damping off. Excessive moisture and lack of air movement contribute to damping off which is a collapse of young seedlings at the soil level. Prevention is key for damping off. Revival of a seedling that collapses of damping off doesn’t happen.
A simple grow table like this is only good for starting young plants. Flowering and fruiting plants require more expensive full spectrum lights. Since seeds are way cheaper than plants, this set up keeps costs down.