I’m not the first to say this and I’m sure not the last one, but it still needs to be said.
Paying $100 for Grow Rack Fans is absolutely ludicrous. At this rate, a whole setup will cost us over $400 if we go for branded products that are just as good as non-branded products.
So let’s find a much much cheaper alternative that will be as good as the very expensive versions.
The whole setup with a rack, trays, lights, seeds, medium, and fans will cost us $165-$175 (if you chose to buy it from amazon). Prices may vary depending on when you read this article, but you can always find an alternative based on the products that will be listed below.
We will not be soldering, gluing, or doing any circuit board manipulations. We are seeking the cheapest alternative without compromising on the quality. Also, we are looking for an option that is basically as close as possible to Plug’n’Play so anyone can do it at home without any extensive technical knowledge.
The idea came from user CDC444 on Reddit.
As you can see it’s a simple straightforward DIY build that does not take too much space and is easy to assemble and very effective at growing your first microgreen seeds.
The easiest solution is to get Grow Rack Fans which will have all you need to be mounted plugged into an outlet. The downside is the price which we mentioned at the beginning of the article. These can be single or multi-fan options depending on your needs.
Down below we will discuss what is the best option for a DIY build and the power of zip ties.
Computer Fans for Microgreens
This is the cheap alternative for Grow Rack Fans which needs a little bit of soldering or a USB 21v to 4 or 3 pin adaptor. You can use your old PC fans for this project. A couple of zip ties and you have yourself a nice fan setup to help air circulate and simulate wind for the microgreens.
Microgreen Rack Fans
We chose the AC Infinity Mini Multifan because it has PWN which will help regulate the speed and it can be powered by a USB outlet. The setup does not need to be too powerful because it can dry out the soil and we don’t really want that. Also, it is important for the whole project to be as energy-efficient as possible, we don’t want to pay too much for the electricity.
You can get as many as you want but considering that we want to make this build feasible for a DIY beginner, 3 fans is more than enough for now.
Cheap Microgreen Light Kit
The cheapest and easiest light kit to use would be the Sondiko LED Gow Light Strip. It costs $10 and since we are going with the magic number 3, this will cost you a maximum of $30 buck.
It’s a super convenient kit that anybody can use, a couple of zip ties and it’s ready to go. It also has a timer in case you’ll forget to turn on or off the lights.
Cheap Microgreen Trays
Cheap, recyclable, and exactly what we need for our DIY Microgreen Project. The trays that we chose are basically a standard for microgreens enthusiasts. 10” x 10” small enough to fit inside a busy apartment and big enough to get a nice yield to delight yourself with.
You can grab a bigger version but for now, this is our go-to option since we are still testing the waters to see if indoor microgreen growing is what you are looking for to brighten up your day.
Cheap Microgreen Rack
We’ve been looking for the best option and this rack fits all of our criteria. It’s sturdy, it has a nice design, it has 4 shelves, each shelf can withstand a load of 22lbs, the legs have cushions so you don’t scratch your floor, you can use the top shelf to hold any extra items you feel that you will need, like an extension cord, a spray bottle to water the plant twice a day, etc.
This rack does not take too much space and it also can be lifted up by the handles on top which is a great feature for those who want to move the whole thing.
Microgreens Potting Soil
An indoor potting mix is all you need to start. We can fancy things up later once we are comfortable with growing our food. But for starters let’s just use a simple mix that has been proven to be effective and easy to use. We chose this option because of the cost and the fact that you don’t need to use any kind of nutrients, you don’t need to bother with messing your proportions or anything like that, let’s just get comfy with the idea of owning cheap DIY microgreen growth kit.
Cheap Microgreen Seeds
A non-GMO microgreens seeds kit is exactly what we are looking to grow. A spicy and mild mix for those who want to test out a nice combination of microgreens, and also a pack of radish, broccoli, and peas, all made in USA. This is a great variety pack so you can test out which microgreen is best suited for your taste buds. Each packet yields a 10”x10” growing tray.
Cheap Microgreen Setup
In the end, this is what your setup will look like. It won’t be exactly the same, but It’s what you can expect it to look like. Now you have a visual representation of what your future project will be.
- AC Infinity Mini Multifan
- Sondiko LED Gow Light Strip
- Cheap Microgreen Trays
- Cheap Microgreen Rack
- Microgreens Potting Soil
- Non-GMO Microgreens Seeds Kit
Also, you might need an extension cord, make sure it’s grounded and it has enough outlets for your needs.
This triple USB charger will power the fans and the lights, make sure you get two of them.
Watering System for Microgreens
This part is optional since it can get rather messy and expensive.
The cheapest way of doing it is pouring the water yourself and dosing it accordingly.
Top-down watering is the cheapest solution also the easiest one, just use a spray bottle and water the plants twice a day.
You can also use the bottom-up watering system, but you’ll have to use 2 trays, top one will need to have holes in it so the soil can absorb the water from the bottom tray.
In the end, we are building our (most likely) first growth setup and we want to test things out before we do any major steps.
The whole setup will cost us around $165-$175, this is if we want a rack with 3-4 tiers same goes with lights, trays, seeds, fans, and so on.
The cheapest setup would be around $10-$20. You will basically need one tray (you can use anything resembling one), one light kit (cheapest desktop light, USB one even, you’ll most likely have a USB wall plug), a pack of seeds for $5, indoor soil for potting for about $5, and you’re done.
This setup is for those who are interested in trying to grow something at home yet don’t want to spend any kind of money really because of the uncertainty of not enjoying the experience.
But if you decide to try it out, most likely you will have a new hobby that will not only bring joy, it will also bring home-grown delicious organic microgreens for you and your family to enjoy. It’s a micro garden that you can delightful watch grow right next to your desktop.