Home Made Seed Propagation Heater Experiment #1
On one of my over-packed seed starter trays, the tomatoes, even the older seeds (from 1999!) were opening and extending into the light. But the rest of the nightshades, peppers and eggplants had not moved a bit of starter mix. Memory recalled that heat is a factor in starting these delicate things. I know one can get a professional store-bought heat source. But then I have something to store for 11 months of the year. I'd rather figure something else out.
Research on-line found some good ideas. The following site has excellent data on the temperature that seeds like to wake up into: http://tomclothier.hort.net/
This next page gives some great ways to make one - if you want to have equipment to store for 11 months of the year: http://www.gardengrapevine.com/BottomHeater.html
All the information on the RIGHT way to do it, and why is here: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/556/
However, I'd like to do it now, today, without driving in to town, reconstructing something or waiting while it is delivered to the back woods from the internet distribution center. So, let's experiment!
In the RIGHT way they indicated that a heating pad wouldn't work because it can't get wet. Well, why not remove the tray to water it and dry the sides after watering?
Gather the ingredients first
Low flat heat is needed. Heating Pad! We have one with a digital control that goes off in 2 hours, and one with a dial which lasts as long as you put it there. That's the one.
Safe surface on which to place the heat - a rectangular roasting pan. Cheap metal, but its better than burning a wooden window sill.
Possible need to have air circulation to modulate temperature - a rack with tiny feet that came with the toaster oven.
The clear plastic canopy to hold in the heat.
Ready to Experiment!
Many different ways to try.
First with the heating pad directly under the flat, that was too hot!
Then, with the rack on top of the heating pad and the flat on that, hmm, seems to be just right! The soil is a bit not-cool to the touch and the tomato starts on the other side are getting no heat as the pad isn't as long as the flat.
We'll see if there's any green results from the seeds.
Here's how it looks:
And the rack which holds the flat away from the heating pad is show below:
On the inside, the tomatoes are all to one side, where the heat is not.
We'll see how it goes!
Please let me know if you have any thoughts, helpful ideas or suggestions!
How I started my first seedlings this 2009
Using Lisa’s seed starting method, soaking the seeds in water with a dash of hydrogen peroxide until they open. Then using a tiny baby spoon, rescue them from the water and place in cozy seed starter material, at an appropriate depth.
Add light, the right temperature and of course, an extra helping of patience.
These onion sprouts look ready for a new home.