Want A Seedling Heating Mat? You May Already Own One!

Garden 05.02.16
When starting seeds indoors, one way to get your seeds to sprout faster is to offer a little extra warmth while still keeping the soil mixture moist. You can buy germination heating mats to place under the containers or make your own like I did here.

The idea actually came to me when I was putting away some decorative LED rope lights during the holidays and I noticed they were slightly warm. Perfect temperature for gently warming my seedling containers!

-Simply string the rope lights back and forth in rows along the shelves and sit the water-tight seedling containers on top of them. No need to tie the lights down-the weight of the containers holds them in place.

-Most seeds don't actually need light until they have germinated so just move them to the grow lights once they have sprouted. .

Make sure you read the label on your lights. MIne says it's fine to leave them on but do not ever submerse them in water so I make sure all of my containers do not leak.

More details on my blog including my inexpensive DIY grow light setup: http://www.empressofdirt.net/easy-homemade-he...

To see more: http://www.empressofdirt.net/easy-homemade-heating-mat-for-starting-seeds/

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  • Penster47
    Penster47 Verona, MO
    and you can get those clear boxes for free!! Every time you buy strawberries or other fruit!! I always wanted to save them, but never could figure out what for. Now I know!!!
  • Empress of Dirt - Melissa
    @Penster47 Yes, they work really well for seed starting and you can reuse them over and over again. :)
  • Kay Brame
    Kay Brame Kansas City, MO
    Mellisa U have such great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing.
  • Empress of Dirt - Melissa
    Thanks, Kay!
  • Patricia W
    Patricia W Eugene, OR
    If I may add that warming mats also keep starts from "reaching". The soil warmth helps roots grow downward and stronger.
  • Vallery Dietrich
    Vallery Dietrich New Buffalo, MI
    What about watering? I spritz, but is that enough and will it cause problem with the lights?
  • Empress of Dirt - Melissa
    Vallery Dietrich I grow my seedlings in plastic clamshells/containers. These are watertight so there is no dripping or leaking to the rope lights underneath them. Clamshells
  • Joyce Swantick
    Joyce Swantick Lakewood, WA
    I was use to putting trays on top of the refrigerator. That is on of the warmest places. I wanted to share this, because I do not have the LED lights.
  • Celeste W
    Celeste W Lawrenceville, GA
    We used similar containers and set them on a bench that is in front of a sunny window and also happens to be over a floor heat register. Plenty of heat and sunlight. The containers can be left open once the seeds sprout until you are ready to plant.
    • Evelyn
      Evelyn Metairie, LA
      Celeste W I'm new at this, but I have learned a lot in a little time. I do the same as you.I put my seedlings on window sills. I sure this is enough heat for them cause I don't have any LED lights.
  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    This works very well. We used these type of lights under a plastic tub, and put our regular seed starting containers on top. Just checked it regularly. Tilted the plastic container slightly if it was getting too warm. Works just a well, if not better
  • Jan O
    Jan O Clancy, MT
    been doing this for a few years, so easy, perfect temp.
  • Linda Tournay
    Linda Tournay Hagerstown, MD
    I don't have that type of rope lights but this may be helpful to everyone. I use an old griddle that I found at a yard sale a few years back. I put a thick cookie tray on the flat surface and only turn it on warm. This has worked really well for me.I
  • Cindy tustin
    Cindy tustin Arcadia, KS
    I found a waterbed heater has made our seed starting wonderful. I cover it with plastic the temp is set on 70 and is large enough to hold 3 seed flats. It is actually the same as the seed starting heated matts you see in catalogs paid 1.50 about 4 yrs ago
  • Gail Haskins Wiford
    What a great idea, thank you for sharing.
  • Lorna Schripsema
    Lorna Schripsema North Bend, WA
    I'm sure any Christmas lights would work. I'm going to start my tomatoes this way. :-) Thank you
  • Debby Boyle
    Debby Boyle Necedah, WI
    That is a great idea!
  • Michael
    Michael Monticello, GA
    Water won't hurt the rope lights, or cause any danger. They are made for outdoor use. I used to have them around my dock at the lake. I've seen them underwater.
    • Louise
      Louise Gold Hill, OR
      My rope lights stay out on my gate 12 months a year, never have leaked or burned out either. This is a wonderful idea for a heat mat.
  • Gerri
    Gerri Davison, MI
    This is very interesting.Something I well think about for I don't have tube led lights as yet. Thanks for sharing.
  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    Gerri, watch for these at yard sales or your local Goodwill. Or the after Xmas sales when things are marked down. Doesn't take many, unless you are doing for a big garden.
  • Desiree Brooker
    Desiree Brooker Danielson, CT
    Lorna, LED lights are different and give a better and more organized lighting spectrum for your plants!!! I.E..the choice for LED lights.
Empress of Dirt - Melissa