LED Christmas light grow box

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I noticed some of my daisies were getting a little leggy so added 60 more LEDs (red) to my LED grow box.  This time I was a little less calculated about positioning but still fee like I got a decent pattern going.  I also decreased the drill size and didn’t even need to use the hot glue gun.

As you can see from the pictures below the plants (cucumbers, onions, cilantro, purple coneflowers) have a dark green complexion and are less leggy compared to the results I would get from my window sill.  The cucumber plants after two weeks have grown up enough to move into the LEDs grow box’s big brother.

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30 Responses to “LED Christmas light grow box”

  1. Matt Says:

    What’s the ratio of red to blue LEDs you’re using?


  2. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Currently it is 50% white LEDs, 50% red LEDs, couldn’t find any blue Christmas lights after Christmas. If you look at spectrograph of the white LEDs it does provide a good full spectrum with high intensity in blue spectrum. I have a great post that explains the color spectrum of various LEDs with pictures and much more detail. I would prefer to make it 80/20 blue to red (need to buy 100 blue LEDs) since in my case I am using this to only grow seedlings and want to encourage short stalky growth. Though should be the opposite if you want to grow mature plants.


  3. Keri-Ann Says:

    Shawn, this is seriously cool stuff! Now, I wonder if I can still find any led light sets anywhere???


  4. tcaitlin Says:

    I’ve been finding the lights online. They’re not as cheap as they probably were in the stores right after christmas, but at least we can still buy them… check out buy.com in particular.


  5. Soons Says:

    Nice job. Really cheap and clean.I am really interested in this and I have some doubts. These Xmas lights usually blink is this ok to growing plants ??? Is there any calcs to be made, like if I have a 250 HPS bulb and want to change to LEDs how many LEDs would I need. Is there a correct positioning of the RED and BLUE LEDs on the surface ???Regards,Soons


  6. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Soons, normally having the lights blink are optional (provide a special bulb to switch out to cause them to blink) in my case they didn’t blink by default.The magic formula for Red/Blue seems to be from 8-9 reds to 1 blue requiring a little extra blue during the earlier stages of growth. One site I like is GreenPineLane he has done plenty of experiments with various homemade and commercially available lights and provided lots of photos and observations. The best part is he is not selling anything so results are not skewed by the products he doesn’t sell. As for replacing your 250 watt HPS from the results I have seen at the site above and others seems most people have had luck with 90-100 watts to replace their HPS which saves some money on electricity but the $400-500 price tag on a unit that big can be considerable to your wallet.


  7. Soons Says:

    CheapVegGardener,Thank you for the answer. The most interesting fact to me is that LEDs don’t put out heat. Where I live can get pretty hot sometimes. and the 250 wattage is just a wild guess, as it seems to be difficult to find lower wattage around here.The GeenPineLane is really something, really nice job the guy does.Regards,Soons


  8. Igor Says:

    I’m very interesting to your experiments!I have built a chip selfmade grow LED lights to promote indoor growth. In the near future i want to start some new experiments. I published in my blog instructions to buil the grow light and I’m collecting some links where you can buy online chip led with the right specifics. Here’s the link:http://www.actionmutant.net/en/coltivazione/piante-carnivore/led-per-coltivare-piante-bassi-consumi-ed-alta-efficienza/


  9. Igor Says:

    I’m very interesting to your experiments!I have built a chip selfmade grow LED lights to promote indoor growth. In the near future i want to start some new experiments. I published in my blog instructions to buil the grow light and I’m collecting some links where you can buy online chip led with the right specifics.Here’s the link:http://www.actionmutant.net/en/coltivazione/piante-carnivore/led-per-coltivare-piante-bassi-consumi-ed-alta-efficienza/


  10. Adam L. Says:

    Very awesome project. As I live in Michigan (particularly the Saginaw metro area) I fin it is easiest to get my LED Lights from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. It’s about 20 minutes away and is about as awesome as some of your projects. You can also find LED lights on their website at http://www.bronners.com.(And its not a product plug, I just like Bronners. And they [via twitter and the Bronners newsletter] mentioned this project. Finally, a way to use my LED’s so that they won’t last forever.


  11. Jessica Says:

    I read about this website in Birds and Blooms mag. I love it! As soon as I seen the LED grow box I had to make my own (before I read all the direction) So I made mine with 100 reg. clear lights, 100 blue LED and 100 red LED. Do you think this is to many light? Should I change the ratio? please help P.S. Thank you for such a great website.


  12. Belcat Says:

    Unfortunately, Christmas LED lights aren’t all that efficient or bright. The blue LEDs will fool the plants into believing there’s enough light so they aren’t leggy. They won’t grow that fast, and the LEDs will consume more power than a good compact fluorescent light (CFL) (for the same amount of light). Get yourself a good light meter to see just how (lack) of power this system has, or use a control group with a CFL or the sun to see the difference.
    I’ve used the UFO blue/red grow lights, and while they are very bright, as much as half a sun according to the light meter I have, the sunlight still works way better.
    Also check wikipedia’s page on light efficiency — the only other thing to consider here is some LEDs can be pointed right at the plants, which helps.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminous_efficacy


  13. Hunter Says:

    Nice!!!! I havnt had time to see if it works but I built a grow box with your simply genius idea I used a lot of Al foil to keep my efficentency ass high as possible…


  14. Destin Says:

    I tried this it did not work out as good for me but it could been cheap ebay X-Mass led lights i used


  15. Top LED Grow Lights Says:

    You inspired me to do a Christmas light grow box of my own, I did my test with Catnip (my cat loved the results) mine is not as fancy as your but it accomplished nice results, I just used a set of multi colored LED Christmas lights, tied up with a couple of rubber bands. Thanks for the idea, check it out if you want http://topledgrowlights.com/2010/06/simple-grow-room-setup/


  16. helena Says:

    i have a small veggie garden outside which gets only 5 hours of sun. i wanted to add this lights to it in the evening for another 3 hours,,, what do you think of the idea. i have tomatoes, salad and broccoli. thanks


  17. Hydroponic Economics Says:

    Thanks for posting the updates, I was interested in seeing how these were going to do. They are a good green.


  18. First seeds started: onions, leeks, purple cone flower Says:

    […] LED Growbox […]


  19. Mira Says:

    i want to try grow hydroponic lettuce under christmas light. can u suggest me the ratio for blue and red Led. do u think using Christmas light is efficient way to crop grow more faster. please help a.s.a.p.thanks


  20. steve griffiths Says:

    with all these christmas led chrismas lights. how about xenon headlamp bulbs or am i a fool might just give it a try see what grows steve from england


  21. Lance Says:

    Nice Job. I will try this.


  22. Sharon Says:

    I’m looking for an economical way to start perennial seeds for my butterfly garden and this is as economical as you can get! My research on seed starting indicates that a soiless mix like vermiculite is preferred to actual soil. Maybe that would prevent the “gross white stuff”?
    Great job!


  23. Farfanugon Says:

    skipped the drilled board for bulb placement.
    In a closet ran 3} 200 bulb LED Dome Light sting in a zig zag at 4.5 foot high
    then 2 of each (red, blue ) 200 LED Dome Light stings {1 red 1 blue twisted together} tacked these just above the whites crossing the 2nd layer reverse the first.
    covered the walls in the closet with metallic safety blankets (.99 cents at walmart).
    placed 4 5gallon buckets of potting soil in the closet with seedlings in each .

    84 days later i had a wonderful harvest. LED Christmas bulls are a wonderful alternative
    total cost was under $40.00 for near 90 sq foot of grow room . the price cant be beat.


  24. ourpermatrip Says:

    Just curious about all white strands? Any good for seed starting or is the red/blue a must?


  25. two yr grad in agriculture Says:

    I RESPECT THE MAIN PERSON WHO PUT THE PIC AND ALL HIS OR HERS GROW WORK INFO. THOUGH IVE ALWAYS KNOWN THE RED LIGHT IS ONLY USED DURING A PLANTS REPRODUCTIVE CYCLE AND NOT DURING EARLY BABY DEVELOPMENT OR ELSE U GET ELONGATED PLANTS. WHERE THE INTER NODES ARE VERY LONG FROM NODE TO NODE. BLUE LIGHT IS VERY BENEFICIAL DURING A BABY PLANTS VEGETATIVE STAGE OF GROWTH TOWARDS ADULTHOOD. SO FOR NOW AS THE BABY PLANTS GROWS IN TIME, ONLY USE BLUE LIGHT AT THAT TIME AND THEN ONCE A PLANT IS MATURE.. THOUGH JUST CUZ SHES AN ADULT, SHE STILL DOESNT NEED RED LIGHT TILL SHES READY TO BARE FLOWERS OR BE A MOTHER TO SAY. THEN USE RED LIGHT ALONG WITH THE BLUE LIGHT ALL TOGETHER DURING HER FLOWERING PERIOD. THEN ONCE SHES DONE WITH HER FLOWERING PERIOD.. THEN TAKE OFF THE RED LIGHT AND LEAVE JUST THE BLUE LIGHT. THEN AT HER NEXT FLOWERING CYCLE ADD THE RED LED AGAIN ALONG WITH THE BLUE U HAVE KEPT ON HER ALL THIS TIME. ALSO U CAN FIND VERY CHEAP LED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON AMAZON OR OTHER PARTNER SITES FOR ONLY 3 OR SO DOLLARS, PLUS SHIPPING AND U GET 100 OF THEM EITHER BLUE OR RED FOR THIS CHEAP PRICE. DONT WASTE YOUR TIME ON ANY OTHER COLORS OF LED AND EVEN THE WHITES.
    REMEMBER BLUE= VEGETATIVE GROWTH
    REMEMBER RED= FLOWERING CYCLE ONLY

    I MAJORED TWO YEARS IN AGRICULTURE AND I PASSED WELL ENOUGH WITH AN A+ AND THE FACT IVE BEEN GROWING GARDENS. SINCE I WAS 3 YRS OLD WITH MY GRAND MAMA. I KNOW WELL ENOUGH AND IM VERY SUCCESSFUL IN GROWING PLANTS TILL THIS DAY.

    ALSO A LOT OF PEOPLE MAKE A MISTAKE AT GIVING THEIR BABIES TO MUCH WATER. BEST THING TO DO WITH DRY DIRT IS GET CLEAN FILTERED WATER AND SOAK THE DIRT AND LET THE WATER RUN OUT FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE POT FOR 2 DAYS. WHILE AT THE SAME TIME BEFORE U LEAVE THE POT BE FOR 2 DAYS.. COVER THE POT’S TOP WITH PLASTIC BAG.. SO NO MOISTURE EVAPORATES AND PUT THE POT IN DIRECT SUN LIGHT WHILE THE POT IS RELEASING WATER FROM THE BOTTOM. THIS CREATES A CHAIN REACTION AND STERILIZES THE DIRT AND LETS THE NUTRIENTS SPREAD EQUALLY IN THE DIRT.

    NOTE: DRY DIRT METHOD FOR POTS ABOVE= IS ONLY FOR DRY DIRT.. SINCE THE DIRT NEEDS TO BE MOIST FOR BABIES TO FINISH GERMINATING PERFECTLY. FOR MOIST DIRT FROM THE STORE U DONT NEED THIS METHOD..

    NOTE: THE REASON OF HAVING THE DIRT MOIST WHEN THE BABY IS GERMINATING IS SO THE SEEDLING DOESNT END UP WITH A DRY ROOT AND DIES. LOOK BELOW…FURTHER..

    NOTE: DONT PUT THE BABY SEEDLING IN YET, TILL TWO DAYS HAVE PASSED ON THE POT. SO THE DIRT ISNT TO SOAKED, BUT JUST MOIST.

    YOU CAN GET YOUR SEEDS GERMINATING BY PUTTING THEM IN PAPER TOWELS MOIST NOT SOAKED WITH CLEAN FILTERED WATER OR JUST CLEAN WATER.. THEN COVER THEM COMPLETELY IN A CUP OR PLATE AND PUT THEM IN SUNLIGHT. SO THEY GET STRONG HEAT AND MAKE SURE THE PAPER TOWEL DOESNT DRY OUT, BUT REMAINS MOIST. WITH IN A DAY OR TWO YOU HAVE ROOTS COMING OUT. (:

    ALSO AFTER THE TWO DAYS U CAN TAKE THE POT OUT OF THE SUN LIGHT TO A SHADED AREA, BUT KEEP THE PLASTIC BAG COVER ON IT. TILL…

    ONCE YOUR BABY HAS STUCK OUT HER ROOT AND OUT FAR ENOUGH, BUT DOESNT HAVE TO BE TO FAR OUT IN THE MOIST PAPER TOWEL. SINCE U DONT WANNA KEEP HER IN THE WET PAPER TOWEL TO LONG OR ROOT DAMAGE BEGINS. TAKE HER GENTLY TO THE POT AND IN THE POT.. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE POT.. MAKE A SMALL WIDE, BUT NOT TO WIDE HOLE IN THE PLASTIC. SO THE SURROUNDING AREA STAYS COVERED AND KEEPS THE MOISTURE TRAPPED AND THE DIRT REMAINS MOIST AND KEEPS THE OPEN SPACE IN THE MIDDLE MOIST TOO.. U THEN MAKE A LITTLE TINY HOLE IN THE DIRT. WHERE THE BROKEN PLASTIC AREA IS IN THE MIDDLE AND PLANT UR SEEDLING. THEN PUT HER IN THE SHADE, BUT CLOSE TO SUN LIGHT OR LED LIGHT AND WHERE ITS WARM OUTSIDE OR INSIDE. AT LEAST 78 DEGREES.

    NOTE: U WONT REALLY HAVE TO GIVE HER ANY WATER. WHEN SHES IN THE DIRT GERMINATING. THE DIRT TENDS TO STAY MOIST FOR A WEEK OR SO. SINCE ITS COVERED ON THE SIDES AROUND ON THE DIRT AND THE MIDDLE IS ONLY A SMALL OPENED AREA WHERE SHE IS. THOUGH WATCH THE BABY AND MAKE SURE HER MOISTURE DOESNT DRY OUT TO QUICKLY IF IT ISNT PROPERLY COVERED AROUND HER. THE MIDDLE IS FOR HER TO GET OXYGEN AND HAVE OPEN SPACE TO COME OUT.

    NOTE: ONCE SHES DONE GERMINATING.. DO NOT AND I SAY IT AGAIN.. DO NOT GIVE HER WATER. U WILL KILL HER! HER DIRT IS MOST LIKELY STILL MOIST AND SO LEAVE HER IN THE SAME CONDITION WITH THE COVER PLASTIC AROUND HER.

    NOW ONCE SHE STARTS TO WILT A LITTLE LATER ON AND LOOKS A LITTLE DRY. (SHES TELLING U SHES THIRSTY) THEN GIVE HER WATER AND A LITTLE BIT. LIKE MIST HER A COUPLE OF TIMES SOFTLY AND NOT TO MUCH OR ELSE SHE GETS OVER WATERED. REMEMBER SHES A BABY PLANT AND DOESNT NEED A WATERFALL OR ELSE SHE TURNS VERY DARK GREEN AND DIES FROM OVER WATERED.. ALL SHE NEEDS IS JUST ALOT OF BLUE LIGHT FOR NOW.

    NOTE: DO NOT GIVE HER FOOD UNLESS UR AN EXPERT ON PLANTS AND KNOW HOW TO MEASURE. THOUGH BABIES DONT NEED FERTILIZERS, CUZ IT MAKES THE BABY SICK MOST OF THE TIME. SINCE PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FEED BABY PLANTS. ONCE SHES ADULT SIZE.. THEN ITS BENEFICIAL AND ESPECIALLY DURING FLOWERING. BABY PLANTS GROW AWESOME IN MOIST DIRT WITH LITTLE WATER AND ALOT OF BLUE LIGHT OR SUN LIGHT.

    THAT IS ALL FOR NOW


  26. two yr grad in agriculture Says:

    ALSO I FORGOT, NOTE ADDED TO ABOVE COMMENT I POSTED= GIVE UR PLANTS A BREAK OFF THE LED LIGHTS DURING THE DAY OR NIGHT FOR ATLEAST 12 HOURS AND THEN TURN THEM ON AGAIN FOR ANOTHER 12 HOURS. WHY IS THIS.. WELL THOUGH LED LIGHTS DONT PRODUCE HEAT AND THATS GOOD. THERE IS ALSO WHAT THEY CALL ~ TO MUCH LIGHT ~ AND IT WILL CONTRIBUTE TO BLEACHING OUT THE CHLOROPHYLL IN LEAVES WHERE U SEE CURLING OF THE LEAVES. IN OTHER WORDS TO MUCH SUNLIGHT OR ARTIFICIAL LIGHT KILLS CHLOROPHYLL. LIKE FOR EXAMPLE PLANTS OUTSIDE DONT GET 100% SUNLIGHT DUE TO CLOUDINESS OR CHANGES IN SEASON AND IF THEY DID.. THEN SLOWLY IT WOULD KILL CHLOROPHYLL. THINK ABOUT IT..

    ~NIGHT TIME AND DAY TIME ARE A CYCLE TO HARNESS PLANT LIFE WITHOUT EXAGGERATION.~


  27. Coldtoes Says:

    Hasn’t anyone ever told you that typing all caps is rude???? It’s the equivalent of screaming your words. Wow.


  28. Cheap grow box with LED Christmas lights - The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    […] LED Growbox […]


  29. Why should you have a grow box? - The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    […] Money:  Given my options such as the $20 PC Grow Box and my $6 Christmas Light LED Grow Box the cost of entry is pretty low.  You do have the expense of lighting the thing but given the 48 […]


  30. LED grow lights Says:

    Thanks for updating this fascinating series, i have really enjoyed how you turned the these LED Chrismas lights into grow box


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