I am looking for an inexpensive but efficient heating mat...any ideas?
Here is a link that might be useful: Hydrofarm heat mat
Top of your cable box ( though that can lead to your box overheating), top of your fridge, laptop battery.
Instead of a mat, build a 3/4" ply box 2'X4'X12" deep, cover the top with galvanized sheet. Put three 25 watt bulbs on a frame that's screwed to the inside bottom. Cover the bottom with 3/4" foam insulation. Use some hardware cloth to make a 1" high platform on top of the galvanized metal to provide warm air circulation under the flats. Use Saran wrap over your seed flats until they germinate and then clear domes from salad containers when they get larger. Buy a soil thermometer to get the heat just right. Later on when the plants get larger, use some CPVC and a torch to bend hoops to make a cover for taller plants. Mine stays at 80-90 degrees. Made this for a whole lot less than a decent sized mat would cost...
How many seeds are you trying to germinate? Top of a 4' fluoro light fixture works great.
I also second top of Fluora light. Another place is on the top of a lamp shade. Just cover it with a dish towel. Of course, you can only do this with paper towel/zip bag method.
Having said all that, most seeds will eventually germinate at 70F room temperature. It might just take twice as long(10 days instead 5)
I was just looking for a mat for my old lady cat that has taken to sitting in front of the space heater to warm one side, then the other.
In the pharmacy section at Wal-Mart they had a half dozen ranging from $11 to $29. All are water safe. Be sure you check that there isn't a default off timer. The first one I bought is okay except that it shuts itself off every 60 minutes. Not even enough time for a good cat nap.
This post was edited by DMForcier on Sat, Jan 4, 14 at 16:24
I dont think you can beat Hydrofarm mats for conveinience and performance. But I certainly don't think they are necessary. You can get fine germination rates from room temps or even using the top of cable boxes or lights as suggested above. However, those methods are hard to control and with a hydrofarm heat mat, you can buy a thermostat that will keep your seedlings at the exact temp that you want them at. If you are a first year grower, I suggest room temp or a "slight" boost from a heat source. When you find you are "hooked" on growing peppers and other plants from seed, then make the investment in heat mats.
But if you use one of the suggestions above, just be real careful. It is hard to control the heat output and too much heat would be worse than not enough. Putting seedlings on a DVR works for some, but if they test it while it is idling, it might not be putting out much heat, but what happens when you turn the system on and start recording shows, etc... it might cook your little fellas. The heat mats are just so easy and take most of the guess work out of it. Amazon.com is a great place to buy the mats and thermostats.
A fluoro light tube stays at a constant 80 on top.
Wish i could give good advice but im in florida and i can start seeds year round in a window sill. I can agree that a heating pad from walmart willl work to sprout seeds. If you need to keep them inside after that try a florescent lighting system. I made one cheap last year from home depot. Good luck, Travis.
thepodpiper: Your floro lights might do that, but different bulbs, different construction of the reflective frame and you could get wildly different temps on top of those lights. I am not saying they are not a viable solution, but you have to be careful that you are not putting your seedlings on top of 90 degree or higher heat. It would take setting them up and testing the individual configuration before trusting it to the next growing season.
First off, hello Dale. Good to see you stomping around GW again! Looks like your seed list has grown a little *smile*. I would love to see the top of your flouros when you start germinating lol.
MsPeppaJo, the thread referenced below, from a few years ago, has some good info. Give it a look.
Here is a link that might be useful: Previous heating mat discussion
Posted by thepodpiper 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 4, 14 at 20:16
A fluoro light tube stays at a constant 80 on top.
I don't think so, b,c I have measured it many times. If covered, it can get close to 95F or even higher. ALSO, the section that the blaster is right under it, can cook the seeds ..too hot. So watch out for that. Mine are 32w T8s and not as hot.
I went to Walmart today and checked their heating pads.
They had two kinds : One with 60 min. auto shut off and the other 24 hr. shut off. Logically, I bout the second one. with the tax it cost me under $20. It is 15" x 20" and has three settings : LOW, MEDIUM, Hi. I am testing it right now. The LOW settings seems to be enough. The temperature under the pot gets up to 95F. With some extra padding, I control the temperature around 90F . I will check the soil temp in a little while. For small scale germinating it should be just enough. Whats more, is that can use it medically. LOL
The heat pad that I bought from Walmart was shutting off automatically after 2 hours. So I returned it and bought another one with "STAY ON" option. Cost ten bucks more but worthed. What is more, it has 8 heat setting. But settings 1 and 2 is all you need. It is not very big ( just 15" x 20") but that is enough for me.
This is from Millard, on amazon for like 9 bucks... Working really well so far!
What do you folks suggest for seedlings? It gets pretty chilly in my house.. I understand you can use heating mats for germination, but what about keeping seedlings warm?
Heating mats can be used on seedlings as long as you like. But I think that most people stop using them by the time the seedlings get several inches tall.
Once they sprout, I move them / re-pot them when convenient (or I need more space on heat mat for germination).
My seed starting space stays about 60 in the Winter.
Ditto as tsheets.
I think, 55F + is enough for seedlings. That is about spring time soil and air temperature. The only thing is they might grow at slightly slower paste.
Thanks rd for the welcome back.
Seysonn, You may not think so but it is a fact. Certain bulbs may have a diff temp but my grow room has over 70 4' double tubes and my whole room doesn't get much hotter than 85 deg. I use the cheapest tubes I can find. And 90 deg is fine for germing pepper seeds. This pic shows half of my grow room.
Although my main source for germinating is not fluorescent tubes I have done much temp testing in my growing years. I start mine in a germination box that I keep between 86 and 92 (approx) it fluctuates. It is heated by 2 waterbed heaters on a remote bulb thermostat.
Fluorescent lighting will keep them warm as well, just keep them on 24 7
With heating pad at 85, how long should it take for a cayenne, jalapeno and habanero to sprout?
Peppers may eventually germinate in 55 degree soil, but that's far from ideal.
At 85, it should take about eight days, according to the chart below.
Here is a link that might be useful: Germination Temperature Chart
My experience says you will have them in 4-7 days. After 7 days, the likely hood they will sprout at all goes down quickly each day thereafter. The temp is not the only factor. I found that using a soil mix that is too saturated will slow down the sprouting and produce less successful sprouts as well. If cayennes are not up in 12-14 days, dump them and start over...