Guess what time it is? It's time for the DG County Fair! Now in it's sixth year, enter your blue-ribbon photos or mouth-watering recipes for a chance to win a gift subscription! Click here here to get all the details, dates and entry rules.
I have been using heating pads set to low to place under seed trays for a while to get the soil temps up. My last heating pad fizzed out on me and I bought several more. All of the new ones I bought have auto shut offs on them after anywhere from a half hour to two hours. Is there such a thing as a heating pad without an outo shut off on the market any more?
I know about those 10" x 20" seedling heat mats at $25 plus shipping and handling a piece. I had one but really preferred the heating pads at $9.99 a piece and come to think of it, the heating pads last longer than the seedling heat mats that are more than 3x the cost.
If my search is futile, are there any sources out there for seedling heat mats that are more affordable?
I'm wondering if there isn't some regulation now that requires auto shut off on heating pads...another example of the government having to protect us from ourselves because a few people didn't have the sense to use them correctly and hurt themselves. I couldn't find any place selling new ones without the auto shut off. You might keep an eye out at yard sales, thrift stores, etc. and see if you can pick up some old working ones.
I'm still sicker than doggie do do but I am going to be off to Walgreens is about all I can say as garage sale season is over and I have never seen one of those in a dumpster gosh darn it all. We do have a big community thrift store a few towns over although I have never set foot in it. And come to think of it we have a decent sized Salvation Army store that I have dropped items off to donate. Hmmm... maybe getting somewhere here. I need those heating pads as in yesterday and am starting to panic. Thanks for the suggestions ladies!
Anybody know how hot water bed heaters get or how big they are? A water bed heater was just suggested to me but I am thinking one of those would turn my seed into toasted little sesame seeds. I would think those would be overkill given how much volume they have to heat.
And Mit suggested a small electric space heater to me. What about one of those for a little area to get the air temps up from 64F to above 70F?
I think the water bed heaters are even more expensive than the plant pads. I would think it might be kinda hard to regulate the air temps around the plant with a space heater not to mention drying them out.. My experience with them is that they tend to heat pretty unevenly. You might try just a plain old bare incandescient (sp?) bulb above the seeds. Might be just enough to keep the top layer of the soil where the seeds are warm enough.
My waterbed heater can be set from 70-100. Put the probe on top of a towel and under the heater part for good heat regulation.
These are easiest to score up at garage sales, thrift stores, but check the thrifty nickle too.
I believe my heater is about a foot or so wide and 3ish feet long-it been along time since I actually had the bed apart, lol!!
Air temps are not as important as bottom heat for seed starting...
What are you trying to start?
I put my flats on top if the frdge-plenty of heat there even tho it doesn't feel warm to the touch...
caron, you will have a pm momentarily with what I am trying to start.
The water bed heater sounds perfect to me with what you are describing as size and temperature range. I am getting out of my robe and going out later for the sole purpose of coming back with something to heat up my seeds.
My frig is a no go, it's flush and built in with cabinetry over the top. Same deal with the freezer. It's a sub something or other. Worthless as everybody else can set trays up on top of their refrigerators.
Pville, I have two 45watt indoor floodlights in the area and they are only heating the air up to about 68F. I also have 3 fluorescent lighting fixtures in there that are 4' long with 2 bulbs a piece in there. Flourescents don't give off heat though.
The space heater is probably going to be a no go too as my husband just said the same thing as you.
The floodlights sound like they may be hallogens (45 watt incandescient is pretty low light so don't think that would be anywhere near as bright as a floodlight). Hallogens I think are somewhere inbetween incandescents and florescents in terms of the heat they give off.
Heating cables are generally less expensive than the heating mats. I have one (bought YEARS ago through Park Seed) that cost maybe 1/4 of the price of a small heating mat at that time. I can lay it out and tape it down with masking tape to keep three standard seedling trays warm.
caron, my Walgreens had only heating pads with timers.
And Pville, you were correct, those bulbs were a hallogen and they aren't throwing off as much heat so I'll take care of that the next time I go to WalMart!
Here's what I currently have set up-
A housing frame of teak that is 4' 7" x 32" x 32"
3 fluorescent shop light fixtures with 2 GE wide spectrum plant bulbs in each fixture. There are 10" reflectors at the top of the fixture. These are hung from the top of the unit leaving a 2' space underneath which the seeds and several seedlings were placed.
I have clear DuPont mylar on the sides and the top but I ran out and need to get another piece for the front. The back has mirrored Sunleaves mylar.
I have two gooseneck desk top light fixtures that have those 45 watt indoor floods in them.
I have a timer set to 13 hours on and 11 hours off for the lights. Classic light requirements for Nepenthes.
I had a heating pad that fizzed out under a tray of seed and now I bought a new heating pad from Salvation Army that looks as if it has seen better days... but, it does not have an auto shut off feature. Will wonders never cease. I give it a week before it fizzes out on me.
My husband... the man who is stuck with me and feels life is considerably more pleasant around here when the kids, pets, and plants have all their needs met... went out and surprised me with some sort of Owens Corning oink sheet styrofoam looking wall insulation that he said he will cut to size and put a sheet under my unit and behind the unit and will also attach pieces to the sides. He thinks this will help get the air temps up to around 75F if I add a flap of mylar to the front which is ideally where I would like them to be. My husband also said to go with the heat cables recommended by Terry as they would be safer and with all the cords running down there he'd really prefer that I get rid of the heating pad as in yesterday. I can't do that but I can get rid of it within the next week. Additionally, he said that if I couldn't get the temps up he would pick up a small radiant heating panel that would take care of it.
And well... I have trays that I will be placing outside in the spring of seed and JodyC just answered a question I didn't even get a chance to post... the dog mats were either heated or water proof but not both so I got to thinking about people who work in factories and having to stand on concrete and sure enough! I found rubber floor mats that are both heated and waterproof. You'll have to scroll down to the Cozy Super Foot Large Heated Mat but it's there- http://www.safehomeproducts.com/SHP/ES/cozy_heat_products.asp
I didn't order one of those yet. Think I will sit on it and look around for a better price and larger size.
I suppose he weighed his options and decided it was either going to be ear plugs to muffle the sound of me running up and down the basement stairs repeatedly checking temps and such or a fix for the seeds. Tee he, he is very kind and considerate. Hmmm... maybe he figured I'd pass out on the stairs running up and down to check the seeds and kill myself and he'd get stuck raising the boys by himself. Now that could have been a motivator! Just kidding, he's pretty thoughtful.
Equi, I think I can give you some suggestions that will help in a pinch. Find a bakers rack, plastic shelf unit or build one out of lumber. The shelf dimensions should be the size of two of those black plastic flats which will be about 4 ' long and 11 or 12 inches wide. on the underside of the top three shelves(most shelf units have 4 shelves) attach a 4 ' flouresent light with one cool white bulb and one warm light bulb. Cover the shelf unit with plastic. The front piece can be overlapped or flapped to make access easier. A piece of mylar on the back would be very helpful once the seeds have sprouted. Even though flouresents don't put out a lot of heat they do put out more than enough to keep the seed flats warm enough. In fact It is possible to get them too warm. You can put a thermometer inside to check or if you can't check there are some that can be attached to a battery and doorbell that will let you know if the temp gets too high or too low.
If the flouresents are too much or you have enough available light, simply put a 60 to 75 watt incandesent bulb in a ceramic fixture on the bottom shelf. Stores like Big Lots often have these plastic covered units without the lights at reasonable prices. I have seen them at high end stores as well with a much higher price range. Jessamine
I will post photos as soon as hubby adds the pink insulation which will probably be next weekend.
Funny you should suggest what you did Jessamine as I have just "claimed" a commercial grade shelving unit in the basement (the camping equipment can go on the floor). It has proper spacing and is heavy duty and it was just sitting down in the basement with my name on it begging for me to put it to better use. I already have 4 shop fixtures waiting to be mounted to the top of each shelf. I was actually planning on going the affordable route with one cool and one warm fluorescent bulb attached underneath each shelf because I bought a 400 watt metal halide for that area. That metal halide is almost blinding. I have aquatic plants over wintering in a 100 gallon stock tank right in front of the shelving unit I just claimed for seed germination I think that should about cover it quite well. There is no great rush on this area as I don't need it up and running for about 60 days which is right about the time the seed that will be germinated there will be done being cold stratified. I am going to buy more mylar for this unit and I do need to buy 4 heat mats for underneath the seed trays. Heat mats will work best as the air temperature in that area are about 66F and the mats should increase the soil temps by 15-20 degrees which will be perfect. I can post photos of that shelving unit too once I get it together in about 2 months. So Jessamine, what are you germinating that you know all the tricks?
I am sorry to say I am addicted to propagation techniques. I hear something is difficult to start and I just have to try it. My shelves came with me from the greenhouse in Wisconsin, much to my DH's irritation. I found a bunch of shelving for shoes at a dept store going out of business and it has been perfect. It is 3 5' sections, 7' high, all crome plated and came with enough shelves and brackets that I could have 8 shelves high per section on each side of the main frame. I don't put them that close because I hang the lights under the 4 or 5 I do use on each side. I drape mylar from top to bottom and the resulting light is almost blinding. LOL. It's good for my SAD so as long as hubby doesn't go into the basement, he doesn't gripe too much. I keep a small fan going so the moving air exercises the plant stems and makes them stronger. I use the clear plastic covers on the flats until the seedlings are brushing the lid. Each shelf can hold five flats and I usually set up 4 shelves. Each shelf has two 2 light fixtures. So if I have all the shelves working at the same time there are 16 bulbs going in each of the three sections. If I have 5 shelves set up, there are 20 bulbs going in each section for a total of 60 4foot fluoresent bulbs. With mylar reflectors. Can you say "sunglasses are important"? With 4 shelves I have 20 flats x 3 sections and for 5 shelves I have 25 x 3 sections or 75 flats. Can you say "Timing is important"? I miss my greenhouse. Jessamine
Awww, I'm really sorry you are "greehouseless". I am too if that counts for anything!
I had figured one shop light per shelf was going to be fine. Given the metal halide, do you think I need to hang two in each "compartment". I'm guessing my shelf is about 6-7' tall but only 2' deep and 4' wide.
No need for Christmas lights at our houses! The glow will be able to be seen for miles from your house like at my house.
I really don't know. There are a lot of variables. How far does the halide light have to travel? Distance is really important. I would have a tendency to add more but only if it is the correct frequency. Last year I failed to replace some flueresent bulbs that had been used too long and even though there was plenty of light it was the wrong frequency and some of the seedlings turned white because they needed the light from the ends of the spectrum. Four inch tomato plants that are white are really strange looking. They didn't recover until I replaced the bulbs. When I give talks I use a graph of the spectrum ranges of some of the lights and need to find some for halide since they are becoming more popular.
You mentioned using mylar on the shelves. For some reason it sounded like it was clear. That would maintain the humidity but wouldn't do anything for the light. Reflective Mylar is what I use. I hang a sheet of it from the top of the frame and just let it hang down to the floor. I wish I could figure out if it is increasing the far ends of the spectrum or just the total amount of light. I do know it works. It works best for the plants that are closest to the mylar. I have to turn the flats so the plants get a fair share of the reflectve affect or I wind up with wildly different sizes in a few weeks time. I also found that I get a better affect if I tip the light fixtures so they are facing the mylar instead of the plants. I think the spectrum must be changed for the worse if the light has to travel around too many angles. I wish I was better at keeping records of what happens with different variables. There are so many you could write a book about it. I've seen some studies on the subject but most people would get annoyed sifting through the mass of info to get to what they need.
Maybe you could get a light meter. I used to have one for photography but most cameras have them built-in now and they don't give you the range of readings the old ones had. I haven't looked for them but I would imagine they would be in grower's catalogs. Of course the easiest way is to see how the plants respond. It would be just my luck if I got one and I didn't have a way to translate the readings into the info I need. Jessamine
I was taking a nap this afternoon and I had a dream about those blasted heating pads. All you need to do is to figure out how long they stay on. Use a timer set for the amount of time and have it switch off and on so the shutoff is defeated. Of course you would have to set the timer for about 72 cycles every 24 hours and also find one that can handle the load a heating pad puts on the device.
Remember!! This came to me in a dream! Please check with an electrician before attempting to do this. I don't want to be accused of arson. Jessamine
He he he, fresh out of electricians! But wait! While you were napping I had a brainstorm. I was so irritated that I took a scissors and cut the cord to one of those heating pads on the other side of the rheostat. Then I gave it to an elderly gentleman friend and asked him to please do whatever with the new heating pad to make it work again and that it would need a lo-med-hi. That should take care of that miserable auto off. I have no idea what he will come up with for me but he will come up with something and I can use it as a back up. His generation is so resourceful. The other heating pads I am returning as I have the receipt and I really don't need them any longer as I did order cables and mats. Now, if they would just come in.
Sunleaves mylar is mirrored and that is what I have been hanging up on the back. I had run out or I would have used it on the sides too. I have no idea where I bought it and tried to look through receipts as I need more. I have located it again but it is in the city of Chicago and I will not drive down there as to do so is like participating in the Indianapolis 500 with more contestants. Forget it! I bought it somewhere locally and all I have to do is remember where so I can get more. The DuPont mylar is clear.
I never thought of the metal halide being too far away. I do not so much believe the distance will be the issue but more so the angle of inclination. I have a 3 panel antique screen that I could attach reflective mylar to that I could set up to bounce it back over by the other trays on that shelving unit. If nothing else I will have to make a mental note to rotate the trays on the shelves so that they all get equal "light time". I can't see the light from the halide making it to the back of a shelf based on where it is hung. I am thinking I might just as well go and buy 4 more fixtures in addition to the 1 that was already on my list to pick up and just call it a day. I can use a soft and a cool combination and then 2 of those expensive GE wide spectrums for each shelf. That will be 4 bulbs under each shelf not two as I had originally planned and that should fix me up quite well. Hubby is somewhat irritated about camping equipment on the floor so I guess he will have to go buy another shelving unit for himself after he hangs my fixtures!