Friday, March 20, 2009

Forget expensive, power-hungry heat mats!

If you have a lighting rig, you probably already have a great source of warmth for germinating seeds: the top of your fluorescent lights.

Here, in case you're interested, is my entire seed-starting and growing setup in the basement this year.

The top shelf is mostly coleus.
Second shelf is closer to the light, so holds smaller plants, though you can see various helpful orange crates elevating plants of different heights. The tray at the far right is the stuff that is still in peat pucks - mostly portulaca right now, but also some parsley, zinnia, etc.

The huge potting table, I admit guiltily, is my kids' train table. I have promised myself I'll clear it off so they can use it for playing SOON. Really soon.

Anyway - there, on top of the whole thing, are two containers I've planted with some lettuce (to grow indoors for baby salad) and onions. These are reused containers - one from hydroponic lettuce (that's the onions - confusing, right?) and one from cookies. Free planters - yay!

The trick is finding the right warmth. Feel a heating mat if you have one - they're not hot, just slightly warm to the touch. The idea is to warm the soil, not cook the seeds..

Some parts of the lamp will be hotter than others... feel it when it's been on for a while and you should get a good idea of which area will be best for your seeds.

What I also like about this method is that the whole thing is on a timer, so it all goes off at night, saving us a bit on energy. If you have seeds that are picky about not cooling off, however, you might still need a heat mat, because most plants don't love 24 hour sunlight.

So that is the bulk of my seed starting setup at the moment!

Hope someone out there finds this helpful. :-)))

Yes, it's Friday.

Yes, I have way more important things to be doing right now.

Like cooking and cleaning and whatnot.

Off to do all that - right now!!!

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