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Friday Favorite: Seedling Heating Mat

February 15th, 2013

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.
onion seedlings
The next winter, I bit the bullet and ordered a large heating mat, one that will fit 4 trays of seeds.
Seedling heating mat 3
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.
Seedling heating mat 2
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.
Seedling heating mat 1
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!

Do you use heat when starting seeds?

9 Comments to “Friday Favorite: Seedling Heating Mat”
  1. Jennifer Fisk on February 15, 2013 at 7:25 am

    I use the hog mat I purchased many years ago for newborn puppies. The germination is so much quicker but if I’m not careful, the seedlings get very leggy in just hours. I started using a baking cooling rack between my trays and the mat which has helped.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  2. amy on February 15, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I just bought this exact mat for the express purpose in cultivating my water kefir and kombucha. Sometimes it is a bit colder here in my house due to the woodstove not being tended throughout the night. I will however, try it with my seeds, I have never used one with them before…..Should be verra interesting:)

    Reply to amy's comment

  3. Donna B. on February 15, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I actually got two [x72 cell] Hydrofarm heating mats from my work’s ‘reward program’ just before Christmas!
    [All of the other ladies @ my work bought themselves clothing or jewelry… here I am ordering heat mats and seed-starting dome trays. I have my priorities straight. :D]
    I got overzealous and started some seeds in my warm 2nd floor computer room… what a terrible idea. It’s too warm and they shrivled up too quickly. But it’s almost time to start tomatoes for the Northeast! ♥
    I can’t wait!

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  4. KimH on February 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve got several heating mats too.. and they’re super awesome.
    Im afraid nothing would want to come up in my chilly basement. :)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on February 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Susy, heat mats rock. I just have one that will cover a 72 cell tray. Since my house at seed starting time is only 68 degrees, a 20 degree jump in temperature makes those seeds jump up out of the cells. It really does make a big difference.

    Good luck to all starting seeds and may everyone have the best garden season ever.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  6. Victoria on February 15, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    seedling heatmats revolutionized seed starting for me…right now my tomatoes, peppers & flowers are growing strong. Since I grow in the basement, it’s really chilly, and years w/out heatmats it was slow going!

    Reply to Victoria's comment

  7. EL on February 24, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Reply to EL's comment

  8. GRANDMA SQ on February 21, 2014 at 1:12 am

    I was wondering Could a regular heat pad that is used for personal use be used Some of these pads have a cover for protection The ones with plastic might work I don’t know what a the mat is like you are using Do you think they are interchangeable? I to have a very cold M H I keep it at 62 degrees It is a challenge at times just for indoor plants and starts to survive I am sure a heating mat would be just the ticket Thanks

    Reply to GRANDMA SQ's comment

    • Susy on February 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Perhaps, the issue might be water. These seedlings one are waterproof.

      Reply to Susy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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