Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let There be Light

After my (excessively) long and (overly) impassioned post extolling the virtues of fluorescent lights for seed starting, I only had one thing left to do: assemble my new lighting system.

Fortunately, this was not a difficult task. Though my failure at a simple mechanical assembly would have made for an interesting blog post, the truth is, it was easy enough for a five-year-old to do.

Right Ben?


Okay, two five-year-olds, then:

Show us your work, boys! 

(And yes, I know Ben has serious bedhead, but we’re keeping it real...)

After the legs were done-- which only required one screw and two washers each-- attaching the top bar was a simple matter of lowering the square shaped compartments in the top bar down onto the square shaped legs. Voila!

Now, notice the silver rings hanging down from the bar, because they’re going to come into play in a minute. But first I had to snap two metal clips onto the back of the fluorescent bar between the painted arrows like this:

Then I slipped those silver rings hanging from the top bar onto the metal-clip hooks like this:

And I was in business!

The light definitely came out a little cattywampus, but it was easy to straighten by fiddling with the middle lanyard and toggle at the top.

This feature is really the key to the whole contraption, since moving that toggle up and down the central cord is what lets you raise and lower the light. That's how I'll get the flourescent right down on top of my little seedlings once they poke through the soil, and then I can move it up as they grow.

Now, of course, I still needed to turn it on. All I had to do was insert this plug….

…into the socket on one end of the fluorescent rod:


(You could start humming the tune of “This Little Light of Mine” for full effect)

TA DA!!!!

There you have it, folks!  Is that exciting or what?!  I mean, who needs cable, right?

Now, although lighting up my carpet was pretty exciting, I had to immediately grab my seed tray so I could really start fantasizing…

Come on, now, your heart’s racing a little, right? 
Well wait till you see when I put the top on the right way:

Not doing it for you, huh?

Okay, well, my kids loved it.  But mainly because of that fun switch you can see on the cord in the picture. And also because the boxes that came with the kit made a GREAT HotWheels tunnel.

See, isn’t gardening fun?

Next post: “Seeds, meet my good friend Soil.”


  1. SO good. Love that Ben and Issac helped...they are already blogstars.

  2. That looks great, Bel. And with all that talented help putting the system together I'll bet you start seeing mega plants in the very near future.

    I really like the system you got. It acutally looks like something that I might be able to put together, myself, without having to call the local "handyman".

    So, where can I get one of those lighting systems? It's now been over a week since my tomato plants have seen any sun and they're getting awfully droopy and starting to shrivel up. I don't think they're going to make it much longer.

  3. Kids really do just need boxes. Mine have been entertaining themselves for days with one.

  4. If any other readers are wondering, the lighting system I got (which cost me $83 at a local nursery) is now on sale on Amazon for $41. Just look for "hydrofarm 2 foot light system" in the search box.

  5. Looks great! The step-by-step instructions are really helpful.


Thanks for reading!