Easily Convert an Origami Folding Rack to a Light Garden

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origamishelfIf you haven’t seen the Origami Folding Rack in action, it’s pretty impressive. You can fold or set up this sturdy shelving in 20 seconds or less – really.

It’s extremely durable and versatile to use for temporary shelving, a plant stand or for the college dorm to hold their stuff. And you can fold and store at will.

I highly recommend this shelf unit; it’s most versatile, well made and takes little space stored in a closed position. It comes with or without casters, but I would definitely recommend the wheel kit, it’s just so nice when I want to move it.

I had been using this shelving for various things including plants in front of a patio door. But I also wanted a a grow stand or light garden as they are also called. So we converted the Origami Rack into a garden station with lights. The grow lights can easily be removed off-season. This proved to be an excellent grow station for last year’s garden seedlings.

growstand2Making a light holder for the top shelf was not difficult but accurate measurements are crucial. It’s a simple DIY project for the home handyman.

Using 3/4″ x 1-1/2″ hardwood, a simple frame was built that straddles the side metal frame on each side of the top shelf, leaving about 15″ of plant growing room. It’s not attached so it is easily lifted off when not needed on the rack. Simple cut-outs were needed around the (folding) locking hardware on the sides of the shelf.

The full spectrum grow light with ballast was secured to the top of this wooden frame and a second light unit was attached by chains above the second shelf.

We could add a light to the bottom (third) shelf, but I haven’t found it necessary. Plants on that shelf seem to get some light exposure from shelves above. You could use double or triple lights by reconfiguring the light header, but we found one light per shelf adequate for our purposes.

The chainsĀ  for the second shelf light can be adjusted as seedlings grow. And for the first shelf to bring starter plants closer to the light, we use short pieces of 2″ x 2″ on the shelf under the plants or seedling tray, and remove these as the plants grow. By giving my seedlings grow lights, it cut germinating time considerably and gave houseplants a boost on dull/cloudy days.

growstandGrow lights can be purchased from hardware retailers and garden centers and you should match the length of the lights to fit the width of your shelving. In this case, the lights are 24″ long, with independent plug-in cords. Some brands offer connectors to join grow lights, but the spacing was not appropriate on this rack.

Light gardens tend to be a little on the ridiculous side price-wise, sometimes in the $300 to $400 range for two lights on a three-shelf rack. We made this one for less than $200 including the price of the Origami shelf and have a unit that is easily converted back to a versatile folding rack to store or use in any other way. And ours has casters; grow stands usually do not.

Origami Folding Racks are sold in units of three or four shelves.

 

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