DIY Inexpensive Seed Starting Setup or Indoor Greenhouse

By Julie Sews - 8:56:00 PM

I wrote in a previous post about how I was thinking about buying an indoor greenhouse to grow my seedlings in this year, due to the fact that I think my cat is less likely to climb the shelves and knock over plants if most of it is enclosed.  Plus an added bonus is that since it is enclosed partially it should hopefully keep the plants a little warmer since I have it in our basement.   We got our indoor greenhouse for $20 at Menards.  We also bought 3 under cabinet grow lights($13 each) and 2 warming mat kits ($19 each), and a small fan ($6) at Menards as well.  I just set it all up today and planted our first seeds (16 broccoli plants).


In the past I've just used a system similar to the warming mat system we just purchased minus the heating mat, near a window.  Last year we were to late to plant transplants so we bought all our warm weather plants from a nursey and direct seeded cold season crops.

I think this is a great solution for someone with a small space or apartment.  It looks like a lot of people buy shelving units and add shop lights that are adjustable by the chains attached to them, but the shelving unit must be pretty wide since most are shop lights are.  For my green house I needed to find a light 24" or under so I pretty much had to go with under cabinet lights (we did find a shop light that would fit, but it didn't have a plug or light bulbs with it, so it was looking too expensive and complicated).  The only problem was how do I attach it under the shelf?  I was very perplexed, until I saw a posting on  I dig my garden.com.  when a poster mentioned you could use duct tape to attach under cabinet lights to the shelf above.  I tried it and it worked.  It was pretty easy since my shelving is a metal grid.  Now I know why Red Green loves duct tape.  


We purchased 2 warming mat systems, with a heating mat, insulated base, plastic dome, and plastic cells to plant in.  We also purchased a small fan like the one pictured at right.  I didn't at first and I got moldy containers and soil.  Not good.  I put it at the top and angle it down.

  It appears as it may be kitty proof as Mr Cat has not climbed on any shelves or knocked anything over.....yet.  I think as long as the shelfs are full of stuff and semi-blocked off I might be in the clear.  I'll of course post the results when my plants start to grow.

Update April:  Seedlings seem to be doing fine.  Although...not so cat proof.  I needed to have a little hole exposed for ventilation and cords and my cat managed to get in and climb to the 2nd bottom shelf and sat on top of my warming mats with seedlings in it.  Wish I took a picture.  It was so funny! 

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4 comments

  1. I have this same greenhouse - do you have better photos to show of your lights? I'm stuck too on how to attach any'

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    1. Hi Ashley, if you look at the pics in this post you will see one showing the duct tape I used to attach the lights. My lights are still today attached to my "green house" so it worked well! Hope this helps.

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    2. can you pls tell me what type of lights did you use?

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    3. fluorescent shop lights. You can get them at any hardware store

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