Light Garden

  • Advertise with us
Project by MattD posted 08-15-2007 05:38 AM 3043 views 5 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this indoor light garden back in January so my wife and I could get an early start growing some vegetables and flowers for our garden. We also use it year round for a few orchids.

It’s western red cedar. Sanded smooth with no finish. The shelves are movable and are attached to the side rails with some brass bolts. The lights are $7 shop lights from Home Depot on adjustable chains.

Anyone have opinions on if it’s a good idea to leave this unfinished or how to protect it without making it look like there’s a finish?

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

8 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5131 days

#1 posted 08-15-2007 05:53 AM

unless you put something under the plants (as it seems you have) you’ll end up with some staining from water marks. So you may not care to finish it… But to apply a finish that looks unfinished… A couple guesses – rub on some wax or oil? BLO, Walnut,... you might get a slight sheen, but nothing glossy like poly at least.

Nice set up though – makes me want to keep the garden going year round!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4890 days

#2 posted 08-15-2007 06:32 AM

Very nice….clean, functional and elegant. I’d like to put one of these in my office. Did you have plans?
I think I’d leave it unfinished and let it go. Anything you put on will darken it I would think.

-- Bob

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5114 days

#3 posted 08-15-2007 07:08 AM

Beautiful orchid!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View snowdog's profile


1167 posts in 4786 days

#4 posted 08-15-2007 12:21 PM

Very nice. My wife used to grow plants in the house. I remember her saying that she had to get full light or sun bulbs for her plants. She said the lights you buy at Homedepot usually are not what the plants really need or were less then optimal.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5209 days

#5 posted 08-15-2007 02:50 PM

Hey MattD. I love this concept, and a nice project for you. I did a table once similar in concept with a light above it and put all of my hobby bench top woodworking tools on it. Your table looks much nicer with plants on it than my work-table did for sure.

As for a finish, I can’t think of anything that will protect the wood, and not look like a finish. I do have a suggestion for you that you may not have thought about it though.

On this project:
I was commissioned to build an Orchid Plant Stand with a copper tray on the top. The cabinet holds wine bottles only because we had room for it in the base. The functional purpose was to hold a copper tray to put rocks and water in, so that the orchids could be set on it in an East window. I didn’t want to take the risk of building a leak-proof copper tray myself, so I ordered it from a supplier listed in the back of an Orchid magazine. They took the dimensions I gave them, and built a perfect, leak-proof copper tray for me. Here is a link to the company I used for the tray: You would just need to go to their “custom plant trays” section and tell them what you need.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View MattD's profile


150 posts in 4748 days

#6 posted 08-16-2007 01:45 AM

Thanks for the suggestions and comments. I think I’m going to leave it unfinished, but perhaps work out a better tray for under the plants sometime.

Bob – Here is a link to the Sketch-Up model I did for this. If I remember correctly, it required 5 16’ 2×4s.

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

View mot's profile


4927 posts in 4840 days

#7 posted 08-18-2007 06:45 PM

Great project!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MattD's profile


150 posts in 4748 days

#8 posted 08-25-2007 05:55 PM

Snowdog – You’re right about the limitations with the lights. There are a limited number of orchids that will do well with them and you do need to put the lights a few inches above seedlings. But they did work very well this year for the plants we grew.

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics