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.
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.
On 28 Dec 2003 16:05:48 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Al) opined:
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.
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