No Hammer Needed - Chef's Rack Greenhouse

No Hammer Needed - Chef's Rack Greenhouse

The last two years I've used this portable greenhouse set up to start my seeds early. I try and use things that I can easily repurpose later in the season in my garden when I can. So you will see some things you can use for other garden projects.

Typically, I can get these greenhouse/ propagation stations running in around an hour. 

I have it set up on my kitchen side porch so I walk by it multiple times a day and can keep an eye on my growing little sprouts.

 chef rack turned into small greenhouse

By the time I'm ready to plant- I will have all 4 large shelves packed with 4 trays per shelf for over 2000 plants. 

The cost for all of this will vary. Many of you will probably already have many of the things on hand. The greatest cost is the chef rack and the lights. 

I'm going to give you the links for two different options. 

Option 1- Large chef rack greenhouse will run around $300

Option 2- Smaller version which I have been using for over 5 years now which in total cost me around $150

I'm also going to share some products that will make this so much easier if you have them but are not necessary to making this work.

(Links below are amazon affiliate links and I will make commission off of what you buy.)

Seedlings germinating in a DIY propagation station

Option 1- Large Chef Rack Greenhouse

Chef Rack- I prefer the five tier NSF rated rack with wheels so I can move it around if I need to.

Heat Mats (set of two)- I like the ones where I can turn down the temperature if I need to. You can get away with just two. I only put my trays on heat mats as I am germinating the seeds. Once I have about 50% germination I pull them off the mats and remove the domes.

Grow Lights- This set is enough for 3 out of the 4 shelfs you can use with grow lights. By the time I need that four shelf I'm typically already letting many seedlings harden of a few hours a day in the shade. So I can rotate my seedlings if I need to. I did later add another single set of lights to this 4 row but it's not necessary.

Green House Plastic- Plastic comes in lots of sizes. I picked this size because I can also use this plastic in the fall/winter for my raised bed that I convert to a low tunnel. This means I have to fold the plastic in half and that I have a lot of left over. I just roll this left over plastic up the back side of my rack and store what I can on the top rack.

Plastic Clips- this is what will hold the green house plastic to your rack. They are super cheap and you will be so happy you bought them.

Tie down strap- Last year I didn't use this and I had issues with the wind pulling on my plastic. This helps keep the plastic in place and tight.

 3 tier greenhouse with zip up front flat.

Option 2- Mini Greenhouse

Mini 4 tier zip greenhouse-  This little guy has held up to 5 yrs of seed starting for me. I first used him indoors and now the last two years outside on my porch. I love that it's on wheels and that it zips up and down. I use the top shelf for storage mostly as there is no way to hang lights.

Grow lights set of 6- These are the best little lights. Again I have used them for over 5 yrs and they just keep on working.

Heat Mats (set of two)- Same heat mats as the large Greenhouse.

Extras that just make life easier

Outdoor power strip- trust me you want a safe power source for all these plugs your going to needing to plug in. I now have two dedicated power strips that I only use for powering things on my porch.

Outdoor Thermometer- The last thing I want to do is freeze my little sprouts or burn my plants up. This outdoor thermometer helps me keep an eye on things. I've have run test and bother the large and the smaller greenhouse with these setups run about the same temperature. Usually no more than 5 degrees warmer in the smaller set up. So one of these thermometers should work.

Outdoor heater- If you have a cold snap having a little heater like this one can help keep you from loosing your seedlings at heat mats alone can't keep these two options above freezing on a cold night.

Zip ties- I hate fighting with the chains that the lights come with. I have two zip ties attached to each end of the lights. This way as my plants grow i can just zip tie the height up. When I need them lower I just cut a zip tie and add a new one. Trust me it makes adjusting lighting so much easier.

Bootstrap Farmer 72 Cell Air Prune Tray- This year is my first year using the air prune tray. I'm hooked and in love. It makes starting my plants so much easier.

Humidity dome- I have three of these. I typically don't start more than three trays at a time. if I do then I use plastic wrap over the top of my tray. But I can say these humidity domes are a game changer for me. These tend to sell out fast so if you see them you want to grab a set.

Bootstrap farmer 1020 no hole trays - ten pack great quality tray and I swear 10 just isn't enough with all the uses I can make for them. they are an investment but I have used them several seasons now and they still look great.

Mylar Thermal Blankets- With my greenhouse being outside I'm testing this year the mylar thermal blanket to see if if helps with temperatures and if it will help reflect light back on to my seedlings. For under $10 for a 10 pack I figure it's a fun experiment to try.