June 10, 2014 – I bought this metal stand back in January, I believe, at Lowes for about $70. It can have four shelves, but I felt three did the job. I wasn’t that pleased with the way it went together, but I’m able to make it serve my purposes. I would not buy another of the same make and brand, however.

Until today I was using it with one two-bulb shop light fixture and one four bulb.  The two bulb fixture had one warm white flourescent and one cool white and has served OK. The four bulb – all are T8 – seems better – certainly gives more light – and I have been using it to cultivate the leaves and produce babies.  That  has been reasonably successful. Today I added another two bulb fixture (cheap) to the shelf that already had a two-bulb fixture and I added two, two-bu;b fixtures to light the bottom shelf.

The two-bulb fixtures were $18 each and are Utilitech 4-ft 2-Light T8 shop ights.  They are ready to go complete with chird and chain hangers. I also bought from Ace Hardware  six Medium S-Hooks designed to hold a maximum and 55 pounds and these could just slip through the small chain links that came with the lights. They were $3 a pair – a bit pricey, but they do the job.

I also bought a dozen T8 “Daylight” bulbs. They were $40. The specs are 2700 lumens, 32 watta, 24,000 hours, 75 CRI, and 6,500 K.  I installed six in the new fixtures.

With the single existing dual fixture on the top shelf,  I got foot candle readings of 119, 195, and 102 (back to front). With the second fixture installed  this increased to 300,400, and 260 respectively.

The bottom row – with two of the new fixtures and new bulbs gives me a back-to-front reading in the center of 530, 552, and 430 at a distance of 14.5″. ( At the height of the plants this climbs to as high as 750 inthecenter.)

It will be interesting to see how much these readings fall off over time.

I should add that I still don’t have complete confidence in my light meter. One concern is that it may be registering different values depending on the color of the light – that is, it may be more sensitive to certain colors than others.  So I feel it is useful for rough comparisons, but I haven’t any idea whether the values I’m getting are legitimate in an absolute sense.

By fall I will need another three-shelf set up to handle the baby plants as they grow to maturity.