Growing seedlings in garage

briergardener_gwMarch 27, 2014

I am growing seedlings for several years, but so far I am doint it in house under lights. I want to grow bigger number of seedlings and want to create station in unheated garage for next year.

Do I need to have some heater in garage or heating mat will be sufficient? I am planning to use shelves with lights, but not sure if i need to add insulation around shelves or not?

Can somebody who is growing seedlings in garage share experience?

I am still planing to put tray on the top of refregirator how i am doing right now till sproats appear and keep them in house before I'll move seedlings into individual containers.

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I guess it depends on the ambient temperature in your garage. If you can keep the medium around 70-85ð degrees or so with your heating mat (plus light unit), you'll be fine. One way to increase the temperature of the trays on a mat is to cover them with a thin rectangle of lexan plus layers of newspaper, using as many layers of newspaper as needed to hold the temp where you want it. I usually shoot for about 80ð to 85ð degrees. Remove the newspaper when first sprouts appear.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:43PM
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emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)

From what I've read, heating mats should be used for germination only. If your garage is too cool (I'm going through the same thing with my unheated porch right now) you might need the insulation and/or heater.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:23AM
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I've grown seedlings in my unheated, attached garage for several years. I start them in the house until they have sprouted and then put them on heat mats under lights in the garage. I turn the heat mats off at night if the weather is warm enough, leave them on when it's cold outside.

Success depends on the weather. Last spring was cold and everything was VERY slow to grow until I could start moving them outside during the day. The year before that was warmer and things grew well. This year I have a small space heater to warm the garage up some, not make it hot but just get the chill off when the outside temperature drops. It's working well so far. The garage is not insulated and I don't add any protection around the plants. I'm in Zone 7, near Richmond, VA.

All in all, I like the setup and have had good success with it. I can't grow them inside because my cat eats anything green. I start them in two flats on top of a cabinet in my utility room so he can't get to them but there's not enough light there to grow them on.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 9:01AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

You only need heat mat for germination.
After that you need good lighting. They should grow at temperatures as low as 60F. But certainly 70F is better. The warmer the temperature the taller, the faster they will grow. I, personally avoid temps over 75F.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:42PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

You could try wintersowing them outside in covered containers. In zone 7 you definitely have plenty of growing season to do them this way, and you don't have to fuss with lights or heat mats. Just plant the seeds in 3-4 inches of dirt in the bottom of a milk jug that's been almost cut in half (hinged near the handle) then tape it shut and put it outside. It sounds strange and it requires a leap of faith the first year, but I've been starting my tomatoes like this for years now and have never not had more sprouts than I can use. I cut back on varieties this year, but I have six jugs outside now that I sowed on March 22, and that was about a month later than I usually do them.

You can find out more on the wintersowing forum.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:45AM
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I have tried wintersowing, but my tomatoes were very late and here in NW summer is not long enough for them to ripe.
I currently have tomatoes growing inside (around 68 degree) under lights and fan, couple leftovers I have in unheated sunroom. They are alive but not growing.
I understood that I will need some kind of heater to use garage in productive way.

Thanks to everybody

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:24AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Sorry, didn't realize you were that far north. I usually think of zone 7 or even 6 as moderate with fairly long growing season (May-Sept.) The only gardeners I've encountered on the WS forum who can't do tomatoes or peppers by WS have been from zones 4 or 5.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:29AM
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It's not that we are far north, but in Pacific Northwest May and even some years June can be very cold.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:58AM
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