In the past I have used heating mats to achieve this temperature, but I noticed a difference this year since I have started using different lights.
I now use and recommend, Lithonia Lighting, 4-Light Grey Fluorescent Heavy-Duty Shop Light. They use T8 bulbs. I now uses these bulbs close to the seed trays with a plastic cover.
As you can see from the picture, there isn’t much difference between trays with or without bottom heat. In fact the bottom heat tray seems to have poorer germination. I did notice that the bottom heat trays got up to 97 degrees while the trays with just the 4 bulb lights got up to 77 degrees. I eventually turned off the bottom heat since it seemed to be to high.
I probably won’t use my heating mats in the future since my new lights put out enough heat to get seeds to germinate.
Collecting seeds in the fall is the easy way to start hundreds of plants for no cost. If you figure that many plants can cost $10.00, you could save hundreds and thousands of dollars by collecting and planting your own seed.
I’m opening up my gardens to anyone who wants to collect seed. Oct. 6th – Saturday – 10 a.m. 9016 Robyn Rd – 63126
Bring: paper lunch bags, black marker, pruning shears or scissors.
Here are seeds available in my yard at this time of the year.
After watching a couple of years of Monty Don on “Gardeners’ World,” one of the differences I noticed was he doesn’t use peat moss in the U.K. He mainly uses a lot of compost, perlite and grit. I’ve also never seen him use fertilizer other than compost which he makes himself.
You would be hard pressed to find this mixture in any nursery or big box store.
What I have found is a mix which seems similar to what Monty Don uses.
SLC Grower’s Mix has a combination of pine bark fines, compost and PBH rice hulls, although they wouldn’t tell me the exact percentages.
When I talked to SLC they did indicate that they would recommend using Osmocote if I was planning to grow from small size to large size in a pot. He recommended using a medium dosage. They do include a small starter nutrition in the mix and a micro-nutrient charge.
The product will be a bit drier since it drains so well. You may have to water more often.
I’m going to be doing some tests with this product versus my standard BX ProMix. The SLC mix is only $6 per 2 cu. ft. bag.
You would obviously be better off buying the mix in bulk, if you have a place to dump it.
The one odd thing about this mix is that it is in bags which say Cotton Blossom Compost.
If you haven’t already, it’s now time to get those native seeds into the soil.
As you can see in the picture, I clean out the area, put in the seeds and then cover them with potting soil. I use a plastic lawn edging to keep the seeds in place and also make it easier to know in the spring where the new plants are.
I also mark the seeds with stakes to know for sure what is coming up in the spring.
This technique is an easy way to grow your own plants for your own garden or to share with others.
Option #2 – 1020 Daisy Trays
Here is another option I am trying this year.
I am using what is called a 1020 Daisy Tray. Sometimes you can get them for free when you buy a flat of plants, but I bought some from Greenhouse Megastore.
Here’s what they look like below when they are finished.
Theoretically, I could either just let the seeds germinate in the trays over the winter, or I could try bringing in the whole tray inside during March to let them get a head start germinating inside.