How to Make a Cheap Indoor Growing System


With simple grow systems, it's not difficult to start vegetables and flowers from seed indoors. Not only will you save money on nursery plants, you'll find hundreds of seed varieties not available in nurseries. Try rare heirloom tomatoes or spicy chili peppers. If you have kids, have them help and make gardening a year-round, family activity.


Step 1

Measure and mark your PVC pipe before making the following cuts. Cut two 10-foot PVC pipes into two 49-inch pieces and two 8-inch pieces with a hacksaw.

Step 2

Measure and cut one 10-foot PVC pipe into three 36-inch pieces.

Step 3

Measure and cut one 10-foot pipe into one 36-inch piece, two 8-inch pieces and eight 2-inch pieces.

Assemble the PVC Pipes

Step 1

Insert one 49-inch pipe into one 90-degree PVC elbow. Insert the other end of the pipe into another PVC elbow. Repeat this process with another 49-inch pipe.

Step 2

Insert a 2-inch piece of pipe into the open ends of the elbow joints. Connect a T-joint to the 2-inch piece of pipe so the T-joint and elbow joint touch. Repeat to connect the other T-joints to the three remaining elbow joints.

Step 3

Connect an 8-inch PVC pipe between two T-joints. Repeat the process on the other side. You should now have a rectangle.

Step 4

Make another rectangle, repeating the process described above. This forms the top of your indoor growing system.

Step 5

Connect the four 36-inch pipes to the four T-joints on the base and the four T-joints on the top to create a box.

Attach the Grow Light

Step 1

Loop the chain around one of the 8-inch pipes on the top of the box.

Step 2

Slide an S hook through one end of the chain and then to another link in the chain to secure it to the 8-inch PVC pipe.

Step 3

Attach another S hook to the lower end of the chain and secure it through the slots on the light.

Step 4

Repeat the process described above to secure the light to the 8-inch pipe found at the other end.

Things You'll Need

  • 10-foot by 3/4-inch PVC pipes (5)
  • 40-watt, 48-inch fluorescent bulbs (2)
  • Cool white bulb
  • Warm white bulb
  • Timer
  • 25-foot outdoor, 16-gauge extension cord with a grounded 3-prong plug
  • 5-foot #12 single steel jack chain
  • 4 S-hooks
  • Hacksaw
  • Marker
  • Measuring tape


  • Cornell Gardening Resources: Low-Cost-Grow-Light Frame Plans

Who Can Help

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension-Suffolk County: Starting Seeds Indoors
  • Tom Clothier's Garden Walk and Talk: Perennial Germination Database
Keywords: indoor grow system, start seeds indoors, seed propagation

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing for five years. Her work has appeared in "The Friend" and "Western New York Parent" magazines. Her guide for teachers, "Helping Young Children Cope with Grief" will be published this spring. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College and recently returned to school to complete a degree in communications/English.