Harvest Monday, January 13, 2014 – Seed Starting Stand & Grow Lights + A Delicious Salad

In my December 9, 2013 post I mentioned my seed starting stand with grow lights that my son-in-law put together for me and promised to write about it.

The stand sits in my basement at a location where I have access on all sides which I like (initially I was going to place it against a wall but changed my mind). Would have loved to locate it in the kitchen or the utility room as this would make tending to the plants much easier, but there is no extra space in those 2 areas so basement it is. Should line the shelves so spills will not land on top of the lights’ hood. Any spill on top of the hood would be a challenge to clean up not to mention the fact that cleaning is a job I do not do well.

Seed starting stand (06142)

Unit measures 72 inches x 16 inches x 36 inches
4 shelves (counting the top shelf)
3 sets of lights

T5 grow lights (06148)

T5 Grow Lights

T5 grow light (IMG_0122)

Each set of lights can be individually controlled by the on (-)/off (o) switch (upper right).

Itmer (06129)

Plugs for grow lights (06128)

Grow Lights’ Plugs (left) & Timer

The whole system is on a 7-day digital program timer set for 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

Each set of grow lights has its own plug and can be controlled individually.

Currently I am using only one shelf and one set of lights but pretty soon when seeds starting are in full swing all the shelves will be used.

∞ ∞ ∞

Lights are hung under the shelves with adjustable ratchet hangers

ratchet rope hanger (06125)

ratchet rope hanger (06150)Ratchet Hanger for Grow Lights
Very easy to raise and lower lights by pulling on the rope

∞ ∞ ∞

Lettuce, scallions and seedlings that I am experimenting with under the lights are growing very well and I am pleased. Every 5 – 6 days I harvest 4 ounces of lettuce (the outer leaves only), combined with other ingredients I get 2 – 3 servings.

Lettuce under lights (06151)

Front: Leaf Lettuce
Back row, left to right: Spinach, Arugula & Baby Bok Choy Seedlings and Scallion

Received a package of rustic/wild arugula from Dave (ourhappyacre). Thank you Dave. Started some of the seeds in a pot. Will place under light as soon as they germinate. I will then have 2 different varieties of arugulas to make comparison.

Lettuce (06119)


Made a salad with the lettuce. It was so fresh oil and vinegar was all that was needed plus salt and pepper to taste. As you can see there is no quantity given in the recipe below and there is no need for any, just toss in what you like and what is available.

Lettuce Salad with Avocado, Persimmons, Pomegranate & Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) Sprouts

Mixed salad (06164)Ingredients
Chicory (radicchio) from fridge (harvest late Oct, 2013 and still in good condition)
Fuyu persimmon
Pomegranate seeds
Chickpeas sprouts (from freezer), thawed (see NOTE)
 Apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut lettuce and chicory (radicchio) into desired-sized pieces
2. Peel avocado and persimmon. Cut into bite-sized cubes.
3. In a salad bowl, combine lettuce, chicory (radicchio), avocado, persimmon, pomegranate and chickpeas sprouts
4. Dress lightly with apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy. (Or use dressing of choice.)

NOTE: Add lots of chickpeas sprouts and this salad becomes a meal. Click on chickpeas sprouts link (above) for growing instructions.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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43 Responses to Harvest Monday, January 13, 2014 – Seed Starting Stand & Grow Lights + A Delicious Salad

  1. What a fancy winter growing getup, Norma. I can’t wait to see how it does.

    Persimmon and pomegranate in the salad would make me very happy.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Maureen,
      That’s what I thought too when it was finished. It is a nice looking set up that I would not mind having in my kitchen if only I had a larger kitchen.

  2. Looks, efficient and productive. I am interested in how much you manage to grow in it.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Maria,
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Currently I am experimenting and using only one shelf, so far with just the lettuce harvest I feel it is worthwhile, thinking of expanding and use all 3 shelves, will post updates periodically.

  3. Daphne says:

    I love avocado in my salads. Sadly no salad greens right now. Someone brought a salad over the other day, but sadly it wasn’t all that good. I miss the salad greens from my garden they are just so much fresher and better tasting than the store bought stuff.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      Know what you mean about the store bought stuff. I think it is worthwhile just from the lettuce I harvested so far, spinach should be ready soon and the other seedlings look very healthy.

  4. Love those chickpea sprouts in the salad, Norma. You have some awesome gardening gadgets.

  5. That is quite a production you have there, Norma! But I do envy you your beautiful lettuces and know that salad is terrific.

  6. Love the idea to add persimmon to the salad! 🙂

  7. Eva Taylor says:

    That is really fantastic equipment and it looks like you are making full use of it! The salad looks delicious! Sadly my thumb is not green enough for an investment of this nature, but I’m loving your success with it Norma!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      I still have 2 more shelves to fill, working on doing so. I was surprised at how fast I could harvest the leaf lettuce. Spinach is taking off slowly and there is nothing I can do to hurry it up.

  8. Nice setup. Mine is very similar although I wish I had some greens growing like you. It would be nice to enjoy some fresh lettuce right now and your salad recipe looks delicious.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Grafixmuse,
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Happy with the lettuce experiment. Sprinkled some seeds among the lettuce plants but they did not germinate, or may be they did and got suffocated. Going to start more in cell packs.

  9. How very fun. What a wonderful thing for your son-in-law to do for you. I’m impressed and envious at the same time. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works for you. We’re having a very non-winter this year in Northern California, so I’ve decided to start my planting early this year. It hit 70 today, and expected to be the same all week. Crazy.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Susan,
      My son-in-law is very handy and does excellent jobs. When does your gardening season normally start? What are you able to plant at this time of the year?

  10. Looks like your lettuce is happy with the glow lights! Very vibrant, especially in that delicious looking salad against the persimmons and pomegranates!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Sandra,
      Yes, I am surprised at how happy the lettuces are under the grow lights. The other plants are not growing as fast but this could be because I am been impatient.

  11. Whoa, what a set up, Norma! So nice and professional =)

  12. This salad looks absolutely divine. I would to have that right about this. This looks wonderful Norma.

  13. wok with ray says:

    I think that is a good location for the stand/shelves where you can access both sides. That is a pretty good set up you got there growing indoors. I would never thought of that Norma. I hope you are having a great week so far. 🙂

  14. Saskia (1=2) says:

    What a lovely son-in-law you have Norma! Your salad looks so beautiful and colourful; love the addition of persimmon. I’ve never tried sprouting chickpeas, but we’re a chickpea loving family, so I’m def going to give it a try. Great comparison photos!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Saskia,
      Yes, he is wonderful, I am truly blessed.
      You will enjoy growing chickpeas sprouts. They grow quickly and your kids will be amazed at the transformation. Best of all the cooked sprouts freeze well.

  15. mac says:

    Need to get my seeds going for the spring garden. You lighting system looks good.

  16. What a fantastic looking salad.

  17. Wow that is quite the get up for your plants. Love it and love how healthy your lettuce looks in that delicious salad. Wishing you a very safe and happy Chinese New Year! Take care, BAM

  18. Sophie33 says:

    I made your tasty salad & it as superb! I also like to grow veggies from scratch myself but I am not going to start with indoor lightning!

  19. Pingback: Harvest Monday, February 2014 – Update of Plants Under Grow Lights + A Forced Break | Garden to Wok

  20. Alex says:

    Hi Norma, I’m interested in building a similar setup like yours. How much does electricity cost to run those T5 lights for that amount of time per month?

  21. Pingback: Harvest Monday, March 20, 2017 – Seed Starting + Container Garlic | Garden to Wok

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