In his DIY post, I will be showing you how to build a Greenhouse window box. Wanting to germinate all of our seeds, rather than purchasing vegetable plants, I figured I could make one.
The first step in this project was to build a face frame for the cabinet. The face frame consists of two different parts, the rails which are the pieces that travel horizontally, and the styles that travel vertically.
After ripping these pieces for the face, I'll show you a great tool for fabricating any type of cabinet.
This tool is called a Craig Jig.
Using it saves so much time compared to traditional joinery used in cabinet construction. This type of cabinet joinery is also stronger, and it ensures that all finished pieces of your cabinet will be totally square, with perfect 90-degree angles between rails and styles.
Here is the jig, and in this photo, you can see how to position the wood to be drilled. Once you have the wood in position, you just simply lift the black handle to keep the wood secure in the vice part of the Craig Jig.
After drilling two holes at each end of all four styles, they will be fastened to the rails.
This tool allows you to join different thicknesses of wood from 1/2 inch up to 2 inches.
With a few adjustments made to the tool, it is very easy to change from one thickness to another.
The pamphlet that comes with the tool spells out the different size screws needed for all of the different thicknesses.
Closeup of the Craig holes.
After securing all of the pieces to each other, the holes can be plugged with these special Craig plugs. I will not be using them on this project, because I'm not looking to build a finished cabinet. These plugs come in many species of wood, making it very easy to match the wood you are building your cabinet from.
When building our kitchen cabinets, I used the Craig Jig for all of the joinery. These cabinets were built using a Spalted Maple, and Black Walnut.
You can see the two holes plugged with walnut plugs that match the cabinet.
The plugs in this draw are maple plugs.
With the style butting the rail a dab of glue and two screws will secure the joint.
In a matter of eight minutes, the face frame has been fabricated, and all of the rails turn perfect 90-degree angles to the styles.
The Craig style joinery will be used to build the cabinet. These holes will be drilled app. 8 to 10 inches apart.
With all four sides of the cabinet being cut and the holes drilled, assembling the cabinet is a piece of cake!
With the cabinet built and the face frame attached to the cabinet,
I'll turn the cabinet over and start hanging some doors.
These clamps always come in handy. Using them is like having another set of hands.
The type on hinge used here is a 1/2 inch overlay hinge. These are very common hinges and can be found at most lumberyards.
With the doors hung, I will spin it around again. Darn, this cabinet keeps getting heavier!
Shelves installed, let us take a look and see what we've got so far.
With the unit spun around again,
and the shelves removed,
it's time to make some more frames to attach the lite fixtures too.
All of the pieces have been ripped,
and the 1st frame for the lights for the top of the box is assembled. Again the Craig Jig made light work of joining all of the pieces!
Now the fun part begins. Knowing that after the seeds have germinated and busted through the soil, you want to keep the light source as close to the plant as possible. By doing this you will keep the plant from stretching. If the light is too far away the plant will grow rapidly in an attempt to reach the light, producing a very flimsy stalk.
After trying a couple of different designs, I remembered that I had a heavy piece of aluminum leftover from another job. I was able to fashion brackets using the aluminum.
My design would allow me to move the lighting up and down in one-inch increments,
and this would require making a lot of clips.
After installing a few of them, I had a system and had marked the exact location for the remaining 68 clips.
With all of the clips installed at the back of the cabinet, it was time to turn the cabinet around one more time.
Thank goodness that part is done.
All of the frames for securing the lights too are also ready to go.
I purchased two six-packs of these LED fixtures. They would work great in the cabinet because of their low profile and they would give off very little heat, making it possible for me to keep the lights right on top of the vegetables.
I also loved the way the wiring could be set up. Each fixture was able to be wired to the next,
and a single switch would control all six lights. Each fixture also had its own switch.
First try and total victory, they all lit.
The bottom cabinet would have 2 banks of lights, with each side having three fixtures.
Now all I needed to do was install it in the window. With @farm-mom wimping out on me, I had to wait until my son made it to the farm to help me install the unit. 😃
When our son arrived several days later, I was excited to put it in place and see how it looked.
All prepped and ready to go.
The unit was made so that all of the pieces could be removed and then put back in once it was ready to slip into the opening.
It didn't take much for the two of us to install the unit.
All done with the windowbox, with the ability to move every light bank one inch at a time as needed, all I wanted to do was start germinating the seeds.
This is the first time we have ever used heat mats during germination. We saw @goldenoakfarm using them in a post she had done and learned from her that using heat mats would help in shortening the germination time and the rate of germination. Several of the vegetable seeds we planted were pushing through the soil in three days, and everything else is starting to pop just five days after planting.
As germination continues, the plants will be transplanted into a bigger container and all three light banks will be turned on.
As you can see, the lights can be placed almost on top of the emerging plant. I would suspect that within several days all of the young plants will be repotted and the entire windowbox hothouse will be filled to capacity, with all three banks of lighting doing their thing.