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3 Shelf Seed starting shelf Build

Updated: Mar 25, 2023


3 shelf wire rack


Barrina T5 LED 2 ft

1 by 2 inch pine boards 4 pieces about 12 inch long ( used to mount lights to wire racks)

Heat mat

Rigid Insulation (for under heat mat)

1020 seed tray

Seed cells

Potting mix

Timer for lights (Optional)

Heat mat temperature control (Optional)


Assemble the wire rack per the instructions in the box.

The top shelf will be places with in 6 inch of the top of the rack posts.

The next shelf is where the germinated seeds are move to begin their growth. It would be placed approximately 8 inch down to ensure that the lights are close to the starting seedlings.

The bottom shelf is placed about 12 inches down to allow room for the plants to grow as they get too tall for the second shelf.

Now for the lights.

Using the pine boards, you will place 2 underneath each rack and then using the brackets supplied with the LED light attach the lights to the boards.

Space 4 lights evenly for each rack.

Depending on the type of rack purchased you can attach the boards to the racks in any way you want. For the rack I used I used screws and washers though the side of the wire rack into the end of the boards.

Wire the lights per the diagram provided with them from the manufacture.

Cut the ridge foam to fit on the top rack. This provides insulation to the bottom of heat mat so that the heat generated is primarily provided to the bottom of the starting seeds. Youi can get by with out the use of the foam but the heating is more efficient if it is used.

You can use a timer to control the lights but there is nothing wrong with letting the lights run 24 hours a day other than an increase in the amount of electricity used. You need to have the lights on for at least 12 hours a day and preferred to be on 16 hours.

Use of the system

Seeds start on the top rack using the heat mat. To protect the seed potting mix surface from drying our you can cover the seed cell with a piece of plastic until the seeds germinate.

Once the seeds germinate you then move the seedlings to the next rack down

The cooler root temperatures since there is no heat mat help prevent the young seedling from growing to fast and getting leggy. You can add anything you want under the seed cells to get the tops of the seedlings as close to the light as possible. As they grow you can remove the spacers if used from under the seed cells until the plants are too tall.

It is at this point in time that you will move the plants to the lower rack to continue growing to a size ready to plant outside in your garden.

Do not forget that before you set your plants out in the garden you want to harden them off to get use to the difference in temperatures and brightness of the sun.

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