Seedling heat mats for seedling production
A great way of ensuring success in growing seedlings is through the use of seedling heat mats. This is particularly true when starting hardy crops indoors before the average last frost of the year. Seedling heat mats will maintain a constant temperature of the growing medium. This will help get and keep your growing medium at a constant optimum temperature for germination.
To work with a pair of the Mittleider seedling flats, we went with a seedling heat mat that was 20 inches wide and 48 inches long. Two seedling flats fit on this mat with room on each end. We use that space later once we bump plants up to individual containers. Ours is like the one pictured below and includes a thermostat. It has a digital readout and maintains the temperature you set. You can see the seedling heat mat we use here.
The thermostat includes a probe that is placed in the soil. The current temperature of the growing medium will be indicated on the digital readout. The operator can adjust the desired temperature as needed. Our units are both set at 80 degrees for germination.
Combine heat mats with grow lights
When starting seedlings indoors it may be necessary to combine a seedling heat mat with grow lights. Currently our seedlings are germinated in the basement where there is no natural light. We start all our seedlings under grow lights and on the heat mats. Light and temperature are the first two of the six laws of plant growth and are necessary to grow healthy seedlings.
The grow lights heat the growing medium and helps cut down on the frequency for which the heat mats need to kick on to regulate temperatures.