A week or two ago I pulled my seedling heating mat out of storage. When I first got into seed starting, my mom gave me her old one that was 9″ x 19-1/2″ (the size of one seed tray). My warm soil loving seeds were much happier; they germinated quicker and at a much higher percentage rate. After that first season, I knew I needed a larger one.
The next winter, I bit the bullet and ordered a large heating mat, one that will fit 4 trays of seeds.
It’s probably the best money I’ve spend when it comes to starting seeds, worth every single penny. Since all my seeds are started in the cold basement, the soil temperature never goes above 55 degrees or so. As a result, many seeds were slow to germinate, especially my favorite – ONIONS! I could probably rotate seedling trays around our wood burner, the air is so dry I’d have to monitor them more closely. Let’s not even talk about the annoyance of having 10 flats of seeds in the kitchen or the chiots who loves to eating potting soil.
When using a heating mat, you have to be watchful of soil moisture levels as the soil dries out much more quickly. Plastic domes over the flats are a must to help retain moisture. I turn off the heating mat when about 25% of the seeds have germinated because it’s no longer needed.
I haven’t noticed an increase in my electric bill when using a heating mat, it doesn’t draw that much power. The higher germination rate of seeds would more than make up for the cost. If you’re new to seed starting, I’d highly recommend considering a heating mat for your seeds, it will make your seed starting experience so much better!
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