We were hoping to replace our previous method of grouping floor lamps around a card table near a window for indoor seed starting, and we found our answer at the thrift store. We picked up a used changing table very inexpensively and found a new purpose for it as our seedling nursery. And, as a bonus, the top doubles as a sunny cat nap area for Ellie. We already had four plug-in fluorescent light fixtures, but during a recent sale I picked up some linkable ones for the bottom shelf. The linking ones cost a little more, but they have higher energy efficiency and make it more visually appealing with just one cord. This top picture only shows the lower shelf completed. And, yes, those squash were from our garden last year! (That room is a little cooler in the winter, so the table may serve to keep our squash as well. A few of our squash had to be frozen down before we got to eating them, but we don’t have lots of freezer room and these few Butternuts and Delicata still feel alright.)
This is the bottom shelf. I basically attached the lights to the board using screws that came with the linkable lights. My cheaper non linkable lights were easier to attach, and I could use shorter screws. The linkable ones had screws to fit their mounting brackets, and they were quite long. I also could not hang them straight down but had to attach them on their sides. It works, but it just wasn’t what I was thinking when I bought them. I may change out the screws with shorter ones later. Because the shorter screws I used on the top shelf didn’t fit the linkable light mounting brackets, I may have to go smaller than 8mm if I want to replace them. I also bought some chain and cut them with a large wire snipper in equal pieces so I can adjust the height of the lights as the plants grow. I snipped the end of each chain piece, on one side, to make the hook. I attached the chain by making a hole in the board corners, sticking the non-hook end of the chain through, putting a spare nail through the chain and duct taping the nail so it didn’t shift around. This was quick and simple, but someone else may have a more elegant idea. The table structure provided an easy way to adjust the height, because the wooden dowels on the sides allow me to hook the chain around one or more without cluttering the space too much.
I should say that I had started making the holes using a cordless drill, but then realized it also worked to poke a hole with a scissor and then twist the scissor to make a more oblong shape for our chain to go through instead of a bigger hole. On the bottom shelf I plan to add foil to the area between the lights to direct more light down. I’ll also snap out the light covers to expose the bulbs. The outlet timer we used for the Christmas lights this past year will also have a new job to do.
Here is the squash tanning bed. Actually, this is the finished top shelf of lights. We look forward to trying our new light shelves this month when we start our peppers and tomatoes. I can’t believe it’s that time of year again!