Heating Pads and Peat Pots

I was hoping to tap the experience of those of you who use heating pads for your seedlings...after years of having a great spot next to the furnace to start seedlings, I've moved to a new house without a basement. I've already snagged a corner of the garage to start my seeds in this year, but I realize that with the loss of my furnace, I'll be needing to start 'em over a heating pad. The question is this: I prefer to start my plants in 2x2 peat pots, NOT flats. All of the conventional wisdom about heating pads assures me that they'll do the trick with flats, but do they heat the soil enough for a 10-20 degree raise in temperature for seeds that have a couple of inches of soil between them and the pad?
Any advice based in experience would be appreciated before I go buy the darn things.
Thanks,
Al
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Well, I would suggest you try to use a broadcast method in a more suitable sized container. Say, 4x3 and 2" tall. Transplant the seedlings after they germinate into whatever you want. I say this because of two main issues. The first issue is the concern you have about the heating pad not being able to heat that far up to help warm the soil for germination of warm loving seeds. My second issue is with a heating pad because I believe it gets way too hot. Even at a low temperature it can overheat the soil.
If you have a local Salvation Army or Goodwill, go see if you can find an electric blanket. I have used one which I put a sheet of plastic on top of, then the containers on top of that and had much more room, better control of temperature and better success.
If you can't find a cheap electric blanket, many discount stores sell waterbed heaters. Those are the exact same thing as some of the professional heaters I've seen and used over the years. You can set them by a thermostat and have better control, and it is waterproof.
You do have plenty of time to experiment, so try what you have, first.
V
On 28 Dec 2003 16:05:48 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Al) opined:

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Al wrote:

I use a regular home heating pad to start my seedlings. I put the pad in the bottom of a cardboard box, place several sheets of newspaper over it and place meat market styrofoam trays on the paper (to keep everything dry). I put my seed trays (styrofoam egg cartons) in the meat trays and cover the top of the box with plastic. The heating pad is set to low and the temperature in the box (monitored by a thermometer stuck into the planting mix) can be adjusted by adding more newspaper over the pad, setting the pad control to a different setting or making a vent hole in the plastic. The box is then placed under a two tube shop light that is on a 16 hour timer, this seems to work OK for me. Bill
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