Heating pad to germinate seeds

Kensington, CT

Hi all! Im a newbie here! I am a novice gardener and live in CT. I have container gardened in the past and last year my elderly neighbor let me use part of his gigantic garden so I could get a feel of in-ground gardening. I did fairly well!

I have my own in-ground garden this year (YAY!!) so Im pretty excited! I've definatley gotten the spring itch!

I started my pepper and tomato seeds this past saturday in mini cells using Jiffy seed starting mix. I put them near my window but its been cold and rainy here in CT. I dont want my seeds to rot, so yesterday I put them on an old heating pad on low.

Question: Do I keep this heating pad on all day and night until I get germination?

Thanks everyone!

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

anndev, Heating pads can be dangerous. Invest in a seed heat mat. You may be able to pick one up at your local garden center.
Until then place the seeds in a warmer place in you home.
The other thing is the light source should be about 1 inch above the plants as they grow, putting them in the window will cause them to stretch and grow weak stems. If you have a shop light these work well, no need to buy a special grow light. Hang the light on chains so you can raise the light up as they grow.
Wishing you success, it is a learning process but very rewarding. You will get hooked !

I have 2 PVC stands set up in my basement, been doing my own seeds for years.

Thumbnail by ladygardener1
silver spring, MD(Zone 7a)

I keep them on the mats until they all sprout then turn that off and the lights on. Once they get atleast one set of leaves I move them out to the cold frame unless the weather is really really cold. From there they'll go under row cover into the garden. Again though if its really cold they don't go out. The eggplants, peppers and tomatos stay in until its nice and warm outside and then they go in the cold frame and will stay there until the soil warms up.

Kensington, CT

Quote from ladygardener1 :
anndev, Heating pads can be dangerous. Invest in a seed heat mat. You may be able to pick one up at your local garden center.

Are you saying dangerous, since it can kill the seeds if it gets too hot?

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

No, dangerous as in starting a fire. Don't take any chances.

Kensington, CT

thanks lady! I'll have to look into the seed heat mats. :)

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

You are welcome, A. Your seed will probably sprout without a heat mat, if you keep them in a warm room. And like yehudith said move them under lights after they sprout.
Not knowing the date when you can set out plants, your may still have time to play around with seedlings. Tomatoes grow fast once they are outside and the weather warms up.

Kensington, CT

One of my Brandywine Tomatoes germinated last night as well as some basil. I woke up to some beautiul little cotyledons. :) I shut the heating pad off this morning since its supposed to be almost 70 degrees outside today.. plenty of nice warmth to heat up my babies. Our danger for frost end date is mid to late April. Those beauties will have plenty of time under the lights. : )

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

A guilty confession: I've used heating pads in a pinch. The new ones have a shut-off device. They get too hot or are on for a period of time and they just shut off. That being said I wouldn't use one on a permanent basis and also, with the pad set on low, I put a cooling rack over the pad such that the planting containers were not in direct contact with the pad. In addition I would not leave the pad turned on overnight or when not at home as I would want to keep an eye on things even with the shut-off device. But it did work for me to set up a good, humid and warm environment for the covered, unsprouted seeds. Once they sprouted, of course, the covers came off. The lights went on and the pad was removed. I did this as I had just moved and couldn't find the mats I had dilligently packed away before the move. It was one of those household-moving-moments-of-panick! The top of the refrigerator works well, too. As does an old waterbed warmer.

Hamilton, ON(Zone 5b)

I don't use heating mats / pads at all and have had no trouble with germination, except for my tea (Camellia sinensis), which are really slow germinators. They weren't sprouting, so I put this cups on top of my shop light fixture (which was shining light on some other seedlings). The warmth from the light did the trick, and I have a couple sprouted so far. My way of avoiding spending more money on heating mats!

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I've noticed that my determinate tomatoes seeds did not need heat to germinate this year. The indies did, though. Has anyone else noticed that? Maybe it was just me. The peppers are needing heat, of course. I suppose it would just take longer without it, maybe?

Latrobe, PA

Very helpful thread. I'm going to attach a pic of my setup which consists of shop lights also. However, this is in my 2 garage (which isn't used as a garage). The temp is usually around 50-69 depending. I live out towards Pittsburgh area. I've been using an oscilating fan and oscilating heater. Everything has already sprouted so it's just to keep them warm and growing.

I was wondering if you experts out there have any suggestions? I use mostly Growboxes which are so wonderful for me as beginner

Thumbnail by luv2gardengirl
Washington, DC(Zone 7a)

Quick tip: Get the seed heat mats on Amazon.com. They are a bit cheaper there than the retail shops.

As this was my first year starting seeds inside I had plenty of time to research and I went with heat mats and a shop light. My celery seeds still havent sprouted yet, not sure if they ever will, but the tomatos I planted on the 12th came up in only 3 days!! I was astounded. I left the heat mats on 24 hrs and lights for 14. My next question was whether or not to leave the heat mats on until they have 2 true leaves, or turn them off now. I've already taken the cover off. After reading all these it looks like I turn the heat mats off now...

Attaching a pic of my simple shelf setup!

Thumbnail by Kindlekat
Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

Some seeds do need heat to start, other will just sprout sooner if they get bottom heat. After they sprout the lights take over. Leaving the heat mats on and the flats covered may produce too mush humidty and very wet soil. Leaving the heat mats on and uncovered flats might just dry out the soil too much to fast.
Luv2..do you leave the plants in the Growboxes? It sure saves you the step of repotting. I like saving steps. LOL The only draw back I see is the space they take up. But if you are only starting a few seeds that is not an issue.

Chamblee, GA

yeah of course. heating is necessary especially if your seeds won't grow during winter season. Or winter is not really that good for planting trees. so that is why you really need heaters.
indianapolis air conditioning

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