Growing from seed is an economical way to create a garden and it’s even better if you’ve saved your own seeds from an earlier crop. But if you’re an indoor gardener with no opportunity to get those seeds into a warm, sunny spot you are likely to have problems.
What if those carefully saved and nurtured seeds just don’t sprout? It’s depressing to spend time watching and waiting, only to finally realise that it’s not going to happen. You bought seed-raising mixture, followed the directions on the seed pack and planted the seeds exactly as advised – but the seedlings did not show.
Before you throw the whole lot out and begin the process all over again, read on to find a possible solution.
Seed Germination Needs Heat
Indoor growing environments may not provide enough heat and moisture for seeds to germinate. Unless you are prepared to crank up the heating inside your house, apartment or basement – wherever you decide to grow – your seeds may struggle to get the warmth that would normally be provided by the sun in the ideal climate for the chosen plants.
Tomatoes, for example, are pretty hardy plants and will grow just about anywhere given the right conditions, but without the optimal amount of warmth the seeds just won’t get the message that the growing time is right.
But there is an answer to poor seedling production.
Seed Heating Mats
Heat mats for plants are a good solution to the problem of poor seed germination rates. While some gardeners might object to paying for an artificial way out of the problem, heat mats are inexpensive and they really do improve seed yields.
Here’s a summary of what I’ve discovered about heat mats:
- Root area is warmed to 10 to 20 degress above usual temperature
- Seedling heat mats come in different sizes – buy larger mats or get two to grow more
- Mats are safely insulated to retain water
- Sucess rate is good for both seedlings and cuttings
Warming the root area of your seeds
Seed mats are designed to generate just the right amount of heat, not too cool and not too hot. Most mats run at 10 to 20 degrees above the ambient temperature, so if your seed raising area is cold the mat will adjust and bring the heat up to make the environment more acceptable to your seeds. Similarly, if your growing area is warm but the heat is not getting through to the bottom of the tray the heat mat will provide that extra bit of warmth to get them going.
Seed Heat Mats – Different Sizes and Options
Starting out small you might want to try the basic Hydrofarm MT10006 9-by-19-1/2-Inch Seedling Heat Mat that is economical and a good beginners option. This one comes in three sizes – 9″x19.5″, 20″x20″ and 48″x20″.
Seed heat mats such as the Hydrofarm CK64060 Hot House with Heat Mat provide a more complete growing environment. They come with a 7″ plastic dome and provide total humidity and heat control. A 72-cell seedling insert and a growing guide is also included in the package.
Great Reviews From Happy Customers
Consumers have given the Hydrofarm seed mats great star ratings. Here’s an excerpt:
I’ve tried to start seeds indoors before with no luck. When I lived in an apartment 10 years ago and Last year when I started my 1 acre garden. Last year I had a very poor seed germination rate on almost everything: tomatoes, peppers, herbs, you name it. I even scaled back on seeds this year b/c last year did so poorly.
Not with this mat! I have almost 100% germination rates. plug it in, water the soil, and never look back. I have been so pleased and impressed to see my tomato and peppers seeds especially thrive. the soil is heated to a nice warm temp without being too hot. Seeds seem to love it.
the largest mat holds 4 flats of 72 (8 X 9).
well worth the price!