Starting annual flowers and vegetables from seed indoors to get a jump start on spring sounds like a great idea until reality sets in. That’s the point when home gardeners begin to ask questions: Do I have room? Where will I put the trays so the seeds will get enough light?

Shawn Bard, a master gardener in DeKalb County, Georgia, has the answer: build a simple seed starter stand. Here’s how Shawn built hers.

Lights for a DIY seed stand

She purchased inexpensive and easy-to-assemble shelves from a box store and built a three-tiered stand.

Three-tiered shelf

She attached rope lighting with twist ties to the shelves to provide heat under the plant trays and hung fluorescent lights with a braided nylon cord under the middle and top shelves to provide light for the seedlings.

Lights hung for a DIY seed shelf

She held the light tubes in place by feeding the cord through holes on mounting clips on both sides of the tubes and across brackets on the sides of the shelves.

Then she tied the cord to a grommet, which she positioned above the center of the light fixture, and linked the grommet to the light tube with another piece of cord so she can adjust the height of the light as the seedlings grow.

The “whole thing cost me maybe $25,” Bard said. And she even shares space on the stand with other gardening friends who want to start their seeds indoors but don’t have room for a stand of their own.

What do-it-yourself ideas are you using to start seeds indoors or to otherwise get ready for spring? Share your cool creations in the comments section.

Photos: Shawn Bard

How to build a simple seed-starting stand
Here's an easy DIY stand, so you can get your gardening started before spring has sprung.