Capillary mat?

carol_mi(z6 MI)May 11, 2005

Trying to figure out how to cheaply duplicate those fancy seed starting systems they sell in Gardener's Supply. Basically, you set the trays on a low platform set in a flat filled with water. There's a capillary mat that covers the platform and drapes into the water, keeping the mat constantly moist and transferring it evenly to the trays. Anyways, I've got just about everything figured out except for the capillary mat. What would be a good, absorbant, resuable material to use for this?

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chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)

You can use most any material, like cotton (from tshirts) or denim. However, I would be worried about mold growing, since you start seeds indoors when the weather is still cold.

That's why I don't use a capillary mat or anything like it. Peat pots (and other peat products) are especially prone to mold.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 4:03PM
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RHay(z5 Colorado)

I use capillary mats in my greenhouse and have had good luck with them. Rather than spending a fortune on the one's in the gardening catalogs, I went to Walmart and spent ~$10 on a blanket and cut it up. The one I got was almost 100% wool and is almost like thick felt. It's held up pretty well. In the spring I pull them up and put them in the washing machine with a little extra bleach to kill any bacteria etc. I bet a thrift store would have something similar for less money if you weren't fussy about the color.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 4:19PM
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Maggie4(4-5)

You can use pieces of quilt batting.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 5:16PM
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Nigella(9a-steamy)

I'd bet one of those old U-Haul blankets would be effective used that way.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 1:12AM
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glad2garden(5, Chicopee, Mass)

How about layers of newspaper?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 9:33PM
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thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

would they decompose too soon? (I don't know how long it takes)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 3:21AM
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chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)

I don't think newspaper would work. The fibers are not far apart enough to get good capillary action. Try something like felt, or denim. Go get felt scraps at your local fabric store.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 9:10AM
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macnutt

Brain Storm in Action. Disposalble Diapers. At last a positive ecological use for these throw-aways. Strip out the linings and allow one end to rest in your liquid source. And they are so cheap! Yeah, Yeah, new ones might be the smarter choice.

Cheers,

MacNutt

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 2:12PM
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kauai_hawaii(Z7 MD)

I found this link about using newspapers for capillary mats.

http://www.ag.auburn.edu/aaes/webpress/1991/recycled.htm

Here is a link that might be useful: Newspapers for capillary matting

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 8:05PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

I have yards and yards of Thermolan Plus in my sewing room. Can I use this for capillary matting?

Thanks,
DL

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 2:58AM
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oilpainter(3)

Why not an old towel. They are 100% cotton and should wick just fine.

I don't think Quilt batting would work. There's too much polyester in it to wick properly.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 5:32AM
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greenthumbgrow(7 - MD)

Old Towels... BRILLIANT Idea! I am going to try that one in my greenhouse. (and I was getting ready to buy the $20 mats... free is always better!)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 8:15PM
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abcsnana(6)

go to the army store and get some of their old wool blankets.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 7:47PM
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