Heat mat drying out soil?

kelela92(8b)September 14, 2013

I have my seedlings on a heat mat and under a T5 light. The heat mat is set at 80, but according to the thermometer inside the soil, it usually gets to about 77.

I noticed that the soil is dry to the touch within a few hours of me misting it. Also, when I mist it, it only gets wet about 1/4" into the soil.

I spray them at 7am. I check on them at 2pm and it's dried out, so I give it more water. By the time 7pm comes around, bone dry again. Therefore, I'm misting it at 7am, 2pm, 7pm, and 11pm. It dries out completely in between.

Please help. I'm having a really hard time maintaining a good moist, but not wet, environment for my seedlings. Would you say the heat mat is set too high? Keep misting as often as I have been? Bone dry soil is okay?

I have read so many threads, but no one really talks about how to keep seedlings from drying out or being too wet. Everyone just says, "keep them moist, but not wet". I get that, but what if my seedlings are either drying out, or staying too wet? Ugh.

I honestly didn't think it was going to be this difficult to maintain a happy environment for them.

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You're going to drive yourself nuts if you have to mist four times a day. Give them a good drink and let them drain well. Do the same when they need it again. That should help maintain the moisture you need.

Yes, the heat mat and the lights do dry out the soil more readily. If you want to make things even easier, put them in plastic baggies. Some people close them up completely and open them once a day or so to let some fresh air enter. I like to close them up loosely so that there's still some air exchange.

Those seeds need constant moisture to germinate. The warmth will help immensely to get them going. The closed environment should promote even quicker germination.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 10:36AM
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sagolover(10a SoCal)

I guess Kelela has already seedlngs. I too have seedlings which I will have to bring onside and keep on the heating mat with growing lights. I just hope I will not face the same challenges with the soil getting too dey too fast. I don't think we can keep the seedlings covered in bags. Or can/should we?


    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 11:35AM
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Thanks for the advice Gina. With some seedlings I had before, I had put them in baggies, but even with the top open, it was overly moist. This is hard!

However, instead of a bag, I decided to put my little ones in a plastic container. I have the lid, somewhat off, to give them air and so the condensation doesn't build up too much. At this point, how open it needs to be will be a game of watch and see.

I basically watered them again, fully to get the soil moist. Let them drain then in the container it went. Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 6:02PM
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I would recommend putting them in a bag and watch how much condensation builds up. Open the bag if it's too much, close it if it's still drying out.

I didn't think the heat mat would have dried out the soil so fast. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Just a quick update from this morning. Me putting my seedlings in the pots into a container with a lid has worked perfectly. The condensation is keeping things moist, but not wet.

Thank you! I think I got this now. One seedling was pushing itself out of the container....growing a root. So something is going well and maybe the dryness didn't kill them.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 5:03AM
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I wanted to post this photo because a week ago, my seedlings were drying out. I figured in case someone else was looking for answers and was wondering how mine were doing in the container. Since I put them in a container with a lid, look at them grow! I mean, one week. Amazing what moist and heat will do for them. Crazy! A few of them have their leaves growing in already.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 7:57PM
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They are looking good so keep doing what your doing. Congrats!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 10:27PM
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