Photo by Melody
It's time now to VOTE in our 14th annual photo contest! Voting ends November 7, so be sure to cast your votes for your favorites in each category here. Good luck to all contestants!

Article: Seed Starting 101: Seedling Heat Mats and Inexpensive Alternatives: advice

Communities > Forums > Article: Seed Starting 101: Seedling Heat Mats and Inexpensive Alternatives
bookmark
Forum: Article: Seed Starting 101: Seedling Heat Mats and Inexpensive AlternativesReplies: 14, Views: 137
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
marti001
Somerset, KY
(Zone 6b)

January 29, 2010
12:50 AM

Post #7506813

I found this very informative especially as this will be my first year starting seeds this way. I'm used to just putting the seeds in the ground and they grow. Here in KY I'll have to learn some new things. Should make for some fun times.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 29, 2010
3:44 AM

Post #7507427

I'm glad the article was useful to you! Check out the rest of the series (list at the bottom of the article). It's not the "one true way" or anything, but I do use a fairly tried & true approach to indoor seed starting. :-)
marti001
Somerset, KY
(Zone 6b)

January 29, 2010
2:09 PM

Post #7508304

I have turned my bathroom into a mini greenhouse. So far I have 14 burgs rooting into there, plus my pot of mums, some bulbs, and rose cuttings. They all seem to be doing well. I also found some wild Columbines down by the lake and brought 2 home. Can't wait to see what color they are.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 29, 2010
3:58 PM

Post #7508742

Great idea! It's easy to raise heat/humidity in a little room like that. I'm looking forward to bloom photos of those columbines!

Elphaba

Elphaba
Rockport, TX
(Zone 9a)

January 29, 2010
4:26 PM

Post #7508877

I need advice too.

I ordered some torenia seeds and was thinking of getting a heat mat. After reading your article though, I'm not sure. My house is usually above 70 degrees. I like it to be close to 80 but on cold days, to keep from using too much electricity, I bundle up and turn the thermostat to 69-72. If I'm doing the seeds in my kitchen, do I need to bother with extra heat?

Also, you mentioned that torenia benefit from longer periods of bottom heat, how long?

Thanks so much for all the great info. I need to read your links and other articles. I don't usually have a hard time getting seeds to germinate. It's getting them to grow into bushy healthy plants that I find difficult. I tried basil and zinnias last year and they were just pitiful. One year I tried impatients, and thank goodness we had a mild winter b/c it took two years for them to fill out.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 29, 2010
5:22 PM

Post #7509052

I pretty much keep the Torenia on the 80 degree heat mat until I run out of room for them there (including after they're up-potted in to cell packs). :-)

78 to 80 seems to be much better for Torenia than 70-ish (faster, anyway, and more even germination). You could probably get the slight bump you need with the incandescent-bulb-under-metal shelf trick.

At the temps you describe, I think you'll get at least some germination on your Torenia, so if you don't need every single seed to turn into a seedling you'll be fine regardless. And next year, you can save seeds and sow them as thickly as need be!
edgeoftheworld
Conneaut, OH
(Zone 5a)

January 29, 2010
10:56 PM

Post #7509986

Hi Critter,Informative and timely article.Thank-you.I have one question though.I own one heat mat.I have started seeds on it then moved them and started somethig else.Trying to simulate nature indoors,always have lights on a timer for 16 hours.The heat mat is on 16 hours also,with the lights(same circuit).My idea is it would be warmer during the day with the sun and cooler at night.Should a hat mat be on 24 hours?Basement ambient temp is 70 degrees.Thanks,Edge
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 29, 2010
11:16 PM

Post #7510032

Yes, a heat mat should be on 24 hours, not on the timer with your lights... try it, and I think you'l have even better results.

:-)
ellieblue
Colchester, VT

February 1, 2010
2:56 PM

Post #7518383

I have had tomato seeds sprout overnight by placing the flat on top of my gas furnace. I usually place the flat on a grate (oven rack?) not directly on the furnace.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 1, 2010
4:13 PM

Post #7518561

Looks like you found a great warm spot for germination! Yep, those seeds will pop up really fast.. and tomatoes get leggy if they stay in the warm spot, so you have to keep a sharp eye on them, much sooner than you think!

Elphaba

Elphaba
Rockport, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 2, 2010
4:04 PM

Post #7522290

More advice needed! I'm too cheap to buy anything, but I had a rope light, so I'm working with that. Right now I have the rope light on a cold tile floor, over the rope light I have a towel and the seed container is on top of that. There aren't any seed pellets in it year. I'm just experimenting. When I have the thermometer face down against the bottom, it reads 79 or 80 degrees. When I sit it up an inch or two it read 74. Is that right? I'm using those peat pellets, so should the bottom of the pellet be at 80 degrees and then it cools as it goes up or should the bottom be warmer with the top part at 80? Is a little too cool better than too hot?

Thanks!
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 2, 2010
9:40 PM

Post #7523332

From what I've read, the rope light works more like a heating cable, so it should do better for you if you put it in a pan of kitty litter or sand. I find the most reliable thermometer readings are from sticking the thermometer into a little pot of moist potting mix.

A little too cool is better than getting temps much over 90'F... you don't want to kill your seeds.
wandygirl
Brookfield, CT

February 3, 2010
11:14 PM

Post #7526938

I'm going to try putting a couple of flats on top of the main duct leading away from our gas furnace. I never thought of that, probably because that area doesn't get much light, but if the seedlings need to be moved off the heat source anyway once they germinate then it doesn't matter. I came very close to investing in a mat and thermostat setup, but backed off because my hubby will blow a fuse if he catches me adding to my already extensive collection of gardening paraphernalia. Knowing that I can get away with just one mat instead of two or three is good news. Maybe he won't notice it on top of the furnace duct...
edgeoftheworld
Conneaut, OH
(Zone 5a)

February 4, 2010
12:48 AM

Post #7527211

Thanks Critter,switched circuit to heat mat to stay on 24 hours.Edge
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 4, 2010
4:58 AM

Post #7527909

Some seedlings would just as soon stay on the heat a while, at least until you up-pot them and need more space than is available on the mat... but tomato seeds really do have to be moved off as soon as you see a sprout. I'd stick a themometer in a pot to check the temp on your furnace duct, but that may turn out to be just the ticket to get more and quicker germination for some seeds... you may be able to use the damp-paper-towel-in-baggie method up there, also.

Edge, LMK if that seems to work better for you or not. :-)

You cannot post until you register and login.


Other Article: Seed Starting 101: Seedling Heat Mats and Inexpensive Alternatives Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Very interesting doccat5 18 Oct 10, 2009 5:50 PM
Multiple heat mats woofie 7 Mar 6, 2009 9:10 PM
Cycad Palm Franki_2008 3 Feb 3, 2008 6:25 AM
Keep reading, you just never know! Tink2U 1 Apr 21, 2008 10:40 PM
heat pads DIRTYGIRL71 2 Oct 24, 2009 12:10 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America