I'm glad to say that I was finally able to get my seed starting area set-up. It turned out much better than I envisioned. I have a lot of seedlings that are being started indoors this year and I was so disheartened when I first starting shopping for "grow lights." $69.95 for one table top light that will only fit one flat underneath it? No way was I spending that kind of money. Not when I needed four lights.
Then I got to thinking about space... forget the lights. Where was I going to put all the seedling flats? With a little searching and creativity, I was able to come up with a solution to both problems. I found relatively cheap five-shelf utility shelving unit at Wal-Mart for about $20. I also found some inexpensive under-cabinet fluorescent lights for $8 a piece.
I used zip-ties to mount the lights to the underside of each shelf. Originally, I didn't think that would work out very well. I was concerned about the seedlings being too far from the lights at the beginning. Then it dawned on me that I could easily put something underneath the flats to raise it closer to the light. Simple solution.
Altogether the project cost me $53 plus tax. Considering the cheapest grow light cart that would have met my needs was $299.95 plus $29.79 shipping... Yeah, I think I'll keep my $275! I'm very happy with how the shelves turned out. They were super-easy to put together, light weight enough that it will be easy to move and I ended up with one extra shelf to store supplies.
The onions were the only seedlings ready for the lights. Now my celery has sprouted and my peppers should be ready shortly. I'm glad I got everything squared away this weekend.