Back in January, I decided that I needed a grow lamp. My plan was to start some seeds indoors and get a jump on the growing season. By using an indoor light setup, I figured that I could get many plants well along the way to bearing by late February/early March. This would allow me to make better use of the limited time before the burning heat of Summer caused the plants to stop producing. So, with this in mind, and after having been shocked by grow lamp prices, I naturally concluded that I would build my own.
The project actually turned out to be easier than I expected. I constructed the frame from 3/4" pvc pipe and hung a a 24" double fluorescent light fixture on chains and hooks. The light's height can be adjusted as needed by simply rehooking the chain in different links. For a little extra expense, you can also do away with the standard fluorescent bulbs and purchase aquarium bulbs such as Flora-Glo or Sun-Glo that supposedly increase plant growth.
All in all, the light has worked very well. It holds one large Jiffy seed starting tray perfectly, and is small enough to place on a table or workbench top. Most importantly, my plants really like it. They thrive under its glow as long as I keep the bulbs adjusted to within one inch or so of their top leaves.