We would be hard pressed to find something that has saved more on our garden budget than our DIY seed starting stand.

Flowers and vegetable plants are extremely expensive to purchase.

Especially if you are growing a large garden. Or planting a lot of flowers.

diy seed starting stand
A few of our ornamental pepper seedlings growing on our diy seed starting stand

And we certainly do both of those at the farm!

But with just 11 inexpensive 2 x 4 x 8’s, and a low-cost 3/4″ thick 4 x 8 sheet of plywood, we created a homemade seed stand grows up to 12 flats of vegetables and flowers.

And the total cost for the stand? Under $55!

We use the stand to grow in large 36 plant cell flats. That way, we never need to transplant until the garden. See : 4 Big Tips To Starting Seeds Indoors

And even with the larger sized cells, it adds up to over 400 plants!

DIY seed starting stand
Growing your own seedlings and transplants is a great way to save big on the gardening budget.

It has been quite the bargain for sure. And perhaps best of all, when it’s not in use, it doubles as a great storage shelf in the garage for garden supplies.

The Need For A DIY Seed Starting Stand 

We have always grown our plants from seed. And, before we built our seed starting stand about 6 years back, it used to get a bit comical.

In the late winter months, our dining room table transformed into our seed starting area. Or as as we called it, our garden-dining room.

We would set growing trays that covered the table.

Our plant stand is cleared and ready for action in a few weeks! We start the first of our seeds here in Ohio about the third weed of February.

Next, we would set up books, bricks – or whatever we could find to hold a few fluorescent lights up over the plants.

The mini garden set-up was actually quite successful. Unfortunately, it rendered our dining area useless for 8 weeks.

And, it always received quite a few strange looks from visitors to the house.

I think they always wondered just exactly what we were  “growing” under those glowing lights!

Rest assured, it was always our flower and vegetable seedlings for the farm.

The old system of growing on our dining room table got a little out of hand!

We finally decided there had to be a better way to start our seedlings.

We knew we could grow all of our seedlings using ordinary fluorescent shop lights.

So we decided to create a stand from inexpensive 2 x 4’s. We wanted it to be able to hold the lights and plants on easy-to-access shelves.

And to boot, make it easy to adjust the lights up and down when needed. Without needing bricks or books!

Building The DIY Seed Starting Stand

Here is a quick overview below of how we built the stand. As with all of our DIY projects, we do have detailed step-by-step plans available in our DIY plans shop here : OWG DIY Seed Starting Stand Plans

Growing your own plants from seed lets you try varieties of plants and vegetables you can’t find in the big-box stores. It is a great way to expand what you grow.

The Building Process

To build, we used just 11 non-treated 2 x 4 x 8 pieces of lumber and a single sheet of plywood.

You can easily use 3/4 strand board as well to save even more. Our entire stand cost around $55.

For lighting, we use inexpensive double-bulb T-25 shop lights.

DIY seed starting stand
The DIY seed starting stand can be constructed with just (11) 2 x 4 x 8’s.

There is simply no need for expensive grow lights. The fluorescent lights provide more than enough light for the plants.

The seed starting rack accommodates up to 12 full size seed trays. 4 trays will fit on each shelf.

It can grow over 800 seedlings if 72 pack cell inserts are used.

The entire project can be assembled with a few simple tools in a single afternoon.

To create the shelf, we built four rectangular frames from the 2 x 4’s. Next, we attached (4) 2 x 4’s as legs at each corner.

DIY seed starting stand
The entire structure is made from 2 x 4’s – making it strong – ad inexpensive to build!

We added in a few extra 2 x 4 supports under each shelf, and then screwed in hooks to hold chain. The plywood then creates the shelves.

Here is to starting your own seeds this year indoors and saving big!

Happy Seed Starting – Jim and Mary.

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DIY Seed Starting Stand – From 2×4’s! Start Plants Easily Indoors

9 thoughts on “DIY Seed Starting Stand – From 2×4’s! Start Plants Easily Indoors

  • February 5, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Daphne – sorry, I just saw this comment and just wanted to say thank you for letting us know how it worked out for you! We always like to go back every few years and refresh some of our most popular and useful posts. Jim

  • February 5, 2019 at 9:21 am

    No problem Sarah – we actually use (3) double lights per shelf for super light coverage. You could use two and it will still work too – I sometimes go for the overkill 🙂

  • February 4, 2019 at 4:27 am

    Thank you for this! Do you have two lights per shelf?

  • January 27, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Bettie – can you let me know which state? I am not sure if you meant Ohio, or perhaps North Carolina. Thanks – Jim

  • January 27, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    So glad you liked it! And yes, so many people have written asking, we thought it was time to put it out again. Good luck with your garden this year! Jim

  • January 25, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Hi. My husband and I followed your plan to build this seed starting stand several years ago and absolutely love it. In addition we put wheels on it so we’re able to wheel it outdoors to harden off the plants when the weather permits. Gave us the ability to save money by growing our plants from scratch and share our bounty with friends and neighbors. Our stand really makes this process of gardening so much easier. Was glad to see you sharing this again to enlighten your followers.

  • January 24, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you for all the great information. I’m anxious to see what I can do with a garden this year.
    I live in S. Brevard (on the East side of the state. When should I start my seedlings and also, where should my garden be planted? My house is in the middle of our lot and faces the south. One side of the land is on the east side. Any information you can give me would be appreciated. Thanks, Bettie

  • January 24, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    HI Barbara – the plants can be left without any lights at all until they germinate – and then they need about 10 to 12 hours a day. Allowing them their dark time is good for them and gets them used to conditions that they will have outside. Hope that helps and good luck with those plants! Jim

  • January 24, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    How long do you keep your lights on per day? I’ve been keeping mine on 24/7 but my husband thinks the plants need a little “dark” time. Your thoughts? Thanks!

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