Germinating seeds on a heat pad is a great way to start seedlings during the cooler months so they are ready to be planted out in the spring. This step by step guide shows how easy it is.
You can purchase a ready made mini greenhouse with a heat pad however to save money you can also use a brewers heat pad or a pet heat pad which you may already have in your home.
If you don’t have a heat pad try this quality Heat Pad which has a digital thermostat control. This means the temperature can be changed depending on what you are using it for. It is great value on Amazon. (Paid link)
Germinating Seeds on a Heat Pad Inside
It is important to create a warm moist atmosphere around the plants with airflow however it is best to keep the plants away from cold drafts.
To create more warmth around the plants simply use a clear plastic container slightly raised off the ground for air flow. Large freezer containers or even cleaned plastic containers which meat comes packaged in from the supermarket will work.
Depending on the temperature of your home you may not need to cover the pots at all. Simply place the pots on the covered heat pad in a sunny position.
Wrapping the heat pad in a towel will help to soak up any excess moisture and prevent the pots from getting too hot. It will also protect the surface the heat pad is sitting on.
The best place is as close to a sunny window as possible and elevated off the floor. A bedside table is the perfect height. Be mindful of where the nearest power point is located for the heat pad.
Any summer vegetables which require warm soil to germinate such as tomatoes, bell peppers (capsicum), eggplant and zucchini.
The best temperature is between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 to 27 degrees Celsius.
This is caused by not enough light. It is best to move the heat pad to a sunnier location preferably directly in front of a window then replant the seeds.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Heat Pad
- Deep Plastic Container
- Wood or Other Material (to raise to the height of the container to let air flow.)
- Punnets – This 10 pack of 17 Cell Seed Starter Trays are great value and promote aeration. (Paid link)
- Seed Raising Mix
- Liquid Fertilizer – This 10 pound pack from Miracle-Gro is great value. (Paid link)
How to Germinate Seeds on a Heat Pad in Winter.
- Prepare the Heat Pad
First wrap the heat pad in a towel then place in a sunny position in a warm room on a bedside table or other hard surface. Preferably not on the floor as heat rises and floors are drafty. The higher up in the room the warmer it will be.
- Plant the Seeds and Cover
Plug in the heat pad then place the saucer on top. Fill the punnets with seed raising mix then water with warm water. Place on the saucer then plant the seeds. Place the large plastic container over the top but make sure it is raised off the ground.
- Water Regularly and Fertilize
You will need to water the punnets every day with warm water. After the seedlings have their second leaves make up a half strength liquid fertilizer with warm water then apply to the seedlings. Apply a full strength application every 2 weeks after the initial application.
- Turn the Seedlings
The seedlings will grow towards the sun so it may be necessary to turn them around every few days so they grow straight up.
- Plant Out in the Garden
Once the weather begins to warm up the heat pad can be turned off. When the last of the frosts have finished and the soil begins to warm in mid spring it is best to leave the seedlings outside for a few nights to acclimatize before planting in the garden.
To prevent water getting on the heat pad; use a water jug which has a pouring lip then pour the water directly into the saucer. This will keep the punnets moist without the water getting everywhere.
It is important to use warm and not hot water as you want to keep the soil warm but not kill the roots.
Did you know you can also germinate tomato seeds on top of a fridge? See this guide to Germinating Tomato Seeds for more information.
Do you have trouble pulling out weeds? Try this Bear Paws Cultivator Claw which makes easy work of weeding and is easier on the hands. (Paid link)
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