It's almost time to start my pepper seedlings and I am not ready yet! But it reminded me to share with you how easy it is to start your own plants from seed indoors, with a DIY grow light stand.
In my first year as a beginning gardener I grew all my seedlings in a sunny window in my home. The results were pretty decent, considering, but my tomatoes got leggy (way too thin and long as they stretched out tall trying to reach the light). I learned that it's a lot easier to start tomatoes and peppers indoors when you have an adjustable light on a stand. I didn't have lots of money to spend so I found some online tutorials and went to work.
Firstly, I was surprised to learn that you don't need expensive grow lights to get good results with your seedlings. Normal fluorescent shop lights work perfectly fine. So I bought some 4-foot lights, and already had a folding metal shelf, put it all together with a timer for the lights and had a trusty grow stand for years to come. They key is to use/buy the chain that allows you to lower and raise the lights. You should start with the lights lowered to just above the seeds, then gradually raise the lights as the seedlings grow, keeping them just above the tops of the plants.
Eventually I outgrew that stand and upgraded to a fancy-schmance compact 3-tier light stand from Gardener's Supply, but I fondly remember growing hundreds of seedlings on my little homemade light stand.
For more info: Dave's Garden has a good article on building a light shelf.
My first light stand (Above)