Seed starting can be so exciting, but it can also lead to frustration. When starting seeds, it’s important to understand what the best environment is for getting seeds to germinate. In cold environments especially, seeds need extra care in order to germinate. Temperature plays a big role in getting seeds to start. That’s why using a heating mat can be so helpful when starting your seeds.
How to Use a Heating Mat to Start Seeds
Ferry-Morse sponsored this post and sent me a heating pad as well as a seed pod tray, sold by Jiffy, and a collection of seeds to use.
This is my first time using a heating mat. Before now, I would use a grow light that also offered a heating element. With the heating mat, my plants all germinated in half the time! It was amazing. I started the seeds on a Monday, and by Friday the seeds had already begun to sprout!
How to Set Up the Heating Mat
When setting up a heating mat, it is important to place the heating mat directly under the seed tray. It should be plugged in at all times. Although you’ll need to keep an eye on your seedlings if you do not have a temperature controller as you can burn your seedlings.
The Ferry-Morse 10×20 seed starting heat mat that I used does not have a temperature controller on it. However, heating mats that don’t have a temperature controller will usually only heat the seed tray between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is considered the most ideal temperature for sprouting seeds.
If you are fortunate enough to have a heating mat with a temperature controller, you will have the option of setting the temperature that is best for the seeds you are planting.
Why the Heating Mats Work
Seeds rely on “cues” in order to start sprouting. The most important of these are water and temperature. A heating mat will trick the seeds into thinking that it is spring, allowing to seeds to sprout faster and sooner than they would otherwise.
In cold climates, like my climate in Montana, heating mats can make a huge difference in seed starting. The warmth will not only speed up your germination but will also improve the germination rate. I witnessed this firsthand with my Ferry-Morse Heating Mat.
The seeds germinated in half the time, and all but 5 seed pods sprouted. This has definitely been a game-changer for my seed-starting routine.
Be sure to check out the Ferry-Morse Holiday Gift Guide for great deals on seeds and gardening products this spring. You can use the code LAVENDER15 for a discount at checkout!
How Long Should Plants Stay on a Heating Mat
Heating mats should stay under the plant for as long as it takes for your seeds to germinate. If you continue to use the heating mat, you risk the heat drying out your seedlings.
I allowed the heating mat to stay in place for a week following germination, just to encourage growth because my home is pretty cold. However, I had to water the seedlings twice a day so that they wouldn’t dry out.
Other Ways to Have Success When Seed Starting
There are many ways to successfully start seedlings. You can soak your seeds before planting, as well as planting your seeds in the best environment possible to allow for real growth.
One of the best ways to help your plants start off strong is to use a seed tray that has a top. This top acts as a greenhouse for your seedlings, raising the humidity inside the seed tray, but also retaining the heat inside as well. If you use a heating mat, I would also suggest using a seed tray with a top in order to have the most success.
Problems with Heating Mats
Heating mats are safe to use and usually don’t have issues. However, when any heating element is plugged into an outlet for long periods of time, it’s always advisable to check the cord and the outlet that they are not getting too hot.
Secondly, please make sure to always keep an eye on your seedlings. Heating mats can get too hot and can burn your seedlings.
Both of these instances are rare, but it’s important to keep an eye out for either instance.
Make the Most of Spring!
Gardening can be fulfilling and wonderful. Using great products like the Ferry-Morse heating pad, seeds, or the Jiffy seed tray, you can be sure to have success during this wonderful time of year!
Check out all these other great gardening tips:
- Easy to Grow Vegetables for Beginners
- Planning a Spring Vegetable Garden
- 9 Flowers You Should Plant In Your Vegetable Garden
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