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Good Deal on Grow-mats!!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I was looking for a grow mat but they are so expensive. Turns out I got a new one at half-price, thanks to a DG'ers recommendation!

Here's the mat:

This message was edited Sep 27, 2003 9:50 AM

Gilmer, TX

Thanks Darius, I just ordered one. Pam

Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

Thanks, I also ordered 1. Great price.


Jacksonville, IL(Zone 5a)

Just looked and they don't seem to be on sale any longer. I've been using a couple of old heating pads and they really help too. Even cheaper!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

roshana, I knew you could use old heating pads... and even old Salton hot trays, either of which I had planned to seek until I saw the heat mats on sale at Parks. Mine came Monday and is already in use, and it works great! Sure wish I'd had enough $$ for 2-3 instead of just one.

Jacksonville, IL(Zone 5a)

If they go onsale again I will have to try one out. So, what are you growing on the heat mats now?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I'm trying to propagate a few things like lemon verbena, some of my buddleia, and purple smokebush.

Porterfield, WI(Zone 4b)

Darius, thanks for the info, here, I purchased one of the mats, the first one never arrived so I called the company and they sent a replacement right out, so now I am a happy camper. But you have me curious, what's this about Salton heat trays?? I have a Salton yogurt maker,and it popped into my head that may not get too hot ??? Is that what you are referring to?? Thanks, Legit

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Legit, I just read somewhere that there are cheap and innovative alternatives to regular heat mats, and things like the old Salton food warming trays was among the suggestions.

I suspect you would have to use an elevated grid if you had one of those heat trays because they get pretty warm, but hadn't thought about the Salton yogurt makers. I have one somewhere, and although I have not used it for years, I think it doesn't get too hot. That might work for 4-5 plants. Have to find mine and check out the temp.!

Porterfield, WI(Zone 4b)

Darius, with the little dome they have and all, might be just the thing for those "special few" seeds? Let me know what you think, I will dig mine out too! Is there some good info somewhere on using waterbed heaters?? Even though I purchased a mat, I can use additional space. I am dumping a waterbed to take the room for a plant room, so I have one if I can figure out how to safely use it!! Thanks, Legit

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Sorry, Legit. I don't even remember where I read that info.

You might try a Google search... like maybe "propagation mat alternatives" or something similar.

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Darius I saw a guy using a waterbed mattress and I have used a sand box with buried heat cable both seem to work as well as the heat mats I use now but neither are very portable.

The same guy that used the w bed was a market gardener and went to a small light intense heated room made of visqueen inside his 30 x 96 gh.

Mats for most people are enough. Ernie

Dayton, OH(Zone 5a)

Great idea!

Porterfield, WI(Zone 4b)

eweed can you give me an idea of how to use the waterbed mattress?? I am converting a room in my basement into a plant room. Last year I used it for my tomatoes once they got too big for the living quarters and discovered it worked quite well. It was pretty light intense, I lined an area with hanging foil "emergency blankets" to reflect the light, and hung shop lights. Someone else told me that I should use white styrofoam sheets to line the walls for more light. More light and lower temps they did very well. It just so happens a waterbed is the only other thing in the room, so if I can utilize it, so much the better. I can see it comming, you are going to tell me I need to refill it, and set my flats on it, aren't you, after I rented a thing to empty it!!!!! LOL Maybe, is there a safe way to use the heater without the whole mattress??? Thanks, Legit

Dayton, OH(Zone 5a)

Legit, I don't think you would fill it all the way. But, I would think that the heater would need to have some water in it so as not to burn the plastic and to distribute the heat. Anxious to hear Eweeds directions!

Barnesville, GA(Zone 8a)

Well thank goodness someone else brought this up--I kept thinking there must be a flaw, there must be a flaw...or would or someone would have mentioned this before!

The only thing I could come up with is how to make sure the water sheds off the bed as to not get the heater wet, or how low a temp DO they have? I for one want to hear more about this fella that did it!

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Legit he used a twin size waterbed which he placed on a sheet of plywood for a base.

The base sheet of plywood was covered with that cheap white foam plastic insulation material about 1/4" thick which may have been overkill.

His idea was to put more of the heat into the mattress, convected heat travels from hot to cold so to a degree he is right in his basic assumption.

Next he had the heater in the center just like a normal water bed set up. He covered the heater including the thermostat sensor with visqueen. The visqueen was run about two inches past each edge of the plywood sheet. This was to keep the heater dry in case of leaks.

Next put the mattress on top and fill untill half to three quarters full.

Set the thermostat to whatever temp you want some read in degrees and some you will have to set with an external theromometer.

You will also need to insulate the top surface he used more of the insulation, cutting out spaces for the trays to sit directly on the mattress surface.The mattress will stay a more even heat if properly covered.

Even though he did not use a frame there isn't any reason you can"t do so. Just Rember he used his in his GH and didn't care about water. Water shouldn't be a probleb for you either if used for germination. think thats all I remember. Ernie

Dayton, OH(Zone 5a)

Thanks, eweed, for describing this ingenious method!

Porterfield, WI(Zone 4b)

Thanks, Ernie, now you are giving me something to really think I actually put water back into that thing?? It sure sounds like it would work, and I could do a lot at a time. Just not the tidy picture of a plant area I had in mind!! Thanks for clearing up the details for me, you did a great job!! Legit

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

legit yes you need to refill it. Ernie

Porterfield, WI(Zone 4b)

I think you have convinced me, Ernie, and adding some visqueen and styrofoam won't be hard since it's all broken down anyway. Next stop was the dump......what the heck!! (It's a Queen w'drawers underneath, let's see, how many flats?????? And the drawers can hold supplies LOL.....Legit

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

My plant mat is an old water bed heater, it only holds 2 flats but since the water bed mattress and frame are long gone I just put it on an old door laid across sawhorses in my basement, stuck the sensor up under the mat and put the flats on top. The heater is fully enclosed in plastic and did just fine when the water bed leaked without electrocuting us, so I thought it is safe for this use. I lay a thermometer on the mat so I can adjust the temp. This year I got a greenhouse so I will move it into there for a starter mat. One of these days I'll buy some real starter mats since I need more space.

Porterfield, WI(Zone 4b)

Mary, interesting....what temp do you maintain on that thermometer on the mat?? Do you have a rack to keep your flats off the mat or are they directly on it?? I am not so sure I want to leave my whole bed up and use the whole thing, I was hoping for more room for plant racks! Otherwise it works good for you? Legit

Cassopolis, MI(Zone 5a)

This is a link to a catalogue company that I found in a post on another forum, I wish I could give credit to the person who posted it but I don't remember. I sent for a catalogue and have received it.
The prices of items that I have looked at in other places look pretty good. There regular prices are about the same as some sale prices that other sites have had.
The link should take you to the page of heat mats.
They have no minimum order and have lots of greenhouse equipment and gardening supplies both. I haven't checked to see if they are listed in the watchdog or not.
Hope this helps.

California, MD(Zone 7a)

I use the electric heat pads from Wal*Mart. I just cover them with plastic and adjust the heat with layers of newspaper. If it's not warm enough, I turn it up a notch and then put newspaper or tagboard on top to get the temp right.

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

Mary, I need more info as someone is giving me a couple of these WB Heating pads. I just don't want to cook my precious seeds.
.....I got these by posting a wanted on my H.O.G. website if any had some they didn't need laying 2 hits from that. It pays to ask -) &:-)

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