the best way to warm seed bed ?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Miz Mary, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. Miz Mary

    Miz Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The only room that I have to start my seeds in is the basement. But, it is usually 50 degrees . I know for seeds to germinate it must be about 75 degrees.

    What do you think would be better -
    A small wood/hard plastic box with lid , using a light bulb to keep it warm.....
    OR
    using a small heater in the room, keeping it at about 65 degrees ?

    Thanks for your help !!
     
  2. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You could get a used waterbed heater cheap at a garage sale or flea market. Build the box around the size of the heater. Put an inch of sand on the bottom of the box and put the heater on top. cover the heater with another inch or two of sand and a layer of plastic over the sand. The heater has an adjustable control so you could fiddle until you get it to the temperature you want. Peppers like it hotter than 75, maybe as high as 90. gobug
     

  3. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    any of those ideas will work just fine. but a lot of seeds would germinate just fine at 50 degrees. cabbage family, lettuce, chard at least would. course they will germinate faster in more warmth. and tomatoes peppers and squash definitely need the 65 degrees youre trying for, or even a bit warmer!
     
  4. gefozarks

    gefozarks Well-Known Member

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    I bought a seed starter made of styrofoam that has a small light bulb under the seed try for heat. I think that it would be easy to build your own check the growbox on another thread in the gardening section. I think that you could put a light bulb for heat attached to a dimmer switch which should allow you to vary the temp for the cooler seeds to those requiring more heat. I would think it would be much better to heat the seed trays than the whole room. I also once read a book from the library on starting seeds and as this autor raised lots of plants he used an electric blanket with seed trays on it to heat them up and reported success.
     
  5. Miz Mary

    Miz Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the great ideas ! I'll be lookin for a used waterbed heater !!


    Has anyone tried, or heard of someone trying a heating pad ? ( the ones usually used for your achin' back after all that gardenin')
     
  6. sbeerman

    sbeerman Well-Known Member

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    I use a heating pad every year for squash and pepper any thing that need more bottom heat, had a water bed heater but it whent belly up sure liked it. Real good size.
     
  7. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some of the seed catalogs offer heating tapes that can be placed under your flats. I built a box that would hold flats, and put the tape in a shallow layer of sand beneath the flats. They have a preset thermostat in the wire. Works best if the sand is moist.
     
  8. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    I like the electric blanket idea , would be a lot bigger than a heating pad. Maybe make a tent? Have to think about this. I 've got a "finished " attic I wanna use to grow in.
     
  9. SueD

    SueD Well-Known Member

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    If you have a table big enough to hold your flats, do it the cheap and simple way. I only say that because I usually start about 300 - 500 plants a season... just about everything but peas, beans and potatoes. Even the corn gets started inside!!

    I have a room that I don't officially 'heat' - meaning the vents are closed, and the blinds are up for light. It is usually pretty cold, but I don't bother with indoor thermometers.

    I have a table, on which I layer old newspapers, sheets I dont want, whatever. Usually layer to about 1 inch thick. Over these I lay out one or two black plastic garbage bags. I set up my trays, put on a shop light ($7.00 with bulbs - Menards) and cover the whole mess with drop-cloth plastic - tent style - right over the light fixture. No, it won't melt. I leave both ends open to avoid problems with mold, and the light is usually about 3 inches from the top of the soil in the flats. As the seeds spout, it stays about 3 inches above the tallest plant.

    This costs less than $2.00 a month in electric, and that light is on 24/7 from the moment the flats are done until about a week before I start taking the plants outside to harden off. So, usually about 8 - 10 weeks.

    Also, I don't water the flats... I mist them with a simple spray bottle daily or as needed until ALL of the plants are up and have at least one (usually two) sets of true leaves. This saves on doubling the trays, and also on injuring tiny seedlings. Besides this - its all but impossible for me to drown the flats this way - I have a really nasty habit of drowning houseplants!

    Only caveat - make sure the seeds you are starting do not need to be started in darkness!!!! They will still sprout (most of them), but it takes a LONG time, and not all the seeds will come up.

    If you don't have plain old black trays to sprout in, you can use egg cartons (watch out for the mushrooms that will grow and compete with your young plants!!!!) or even old shirt boxes lined with plastic wrap if you have to. No need for fancies - the plants don't care!

    SueD