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New to Forum - some questions, comments about heating mats

9 years ago

I have been starting flower seeds indoors for years and have a great deal of experience with success and failure. I wanted some information on heating mats and saw the discussion. Last year was the first year I used a heat mat but had to buy new ones this year due to losing my home and contents to a fire. I bought one mat from a trusted garden supply (too expensive) 2 off the internet, and recently a kit with mat from a big box store. On this last one I was appalled that the directions stated you should put the mat on a timer.??? I was told by my trusted garden shop that I needed the timer on the lights but that mats need to be on 24/7, which I already knew. So when I read the box, I hit the internet for answers. I have used a small enclosure off the finished part of the basement for my plant room, with grow lights timers, shelves, etc. and have had some wonderful results. When they did the rebuild I told them I wanted the same but refined. I have four outlets with a programmable timer and 4 outlets without timer for heat mats. I just started my first tray last night with heating mat, dome and light about 2" above dome, giving them 8 hours of darkness each day. I do not have a thermostat but a thermometer. My home thermostat drops to 64 while at work 5 days a week, to 67 during the night and is around 70-72 the rest of the time. So I will am hoping the mat will make up for the fluctuations. Even though I have been growing from seed indoors for years, I still need lots of help. Over the years I have heard that seeds do not need light to germinate, only heat. Others say they need both. I have always heard that once the seedlings emerge, both the dome and heat goes off. I have notes that say light should be no more than 6" above plants while others say no more than 1". I look forward to hearing more comments from newbies and veterans by joining this group. In the meantime, I just hope my snapdragons, impatiens and coleus I started last night will be off to a good start. I started later than I wanted and will be adding more tomorrow until all four mats and four hanging lights on the new plant are filled with trays. (and by the way, I freeze the seed packs before planting which shortens germination time too) Just thinking about my sad stories of losing plants from damping off, leggy plants, etc. but hope I can help others while learning more while waiting for Spring and a new garden in my newly built home. Your thoughts are appreciated regarding mats, lights, temps, etc.

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