Sunday, April 5, 2009

Remedial Seed-Starting: Part 2

After Remedial Seed-Starting: Part 1, we made some changes to our seed-starting operation: We traded in the two-bulb lamp for a four-bulb lamp, got some longer chains so the lamp could be closer to the soil, and rigged up a DIY heat source.

The heat source is a plywood plank covered in aluminum foil, with indoor/outdoor rope lights on it. We cut down some wine corks I had lying around to keep the seed-starting trays from actually resting on the lights, just to be on the safe side. Here is a cross-section:
The heat has really made a difference! All of the eggplant seeds have germinated now! The peppers still haven't, but I may just have bad/old pepper seeds... All I know is that gardening sure keeps me humble, because it isn't as easy as it looks!

While the lack of heat caused some seeds to fail to thrive or even germinate, other seeds were fine without it. The zinnias and marigolds will be ready for their permanent homes soon:

The beefsteak and yellow pear tomatoes are looking good, too:
They are a little spindly, but I think they'll be fine as long as I plant them deep in the raised beds. Yum!

8 comments:

Bren said...

WOW.... now that is the way to do it! I LOVE YOUR DOCUMENTARY on the seeds. This is my first year of trying my own seeds at home. I have a few popping up but I need to focus on the lamp idea you are using.

THANKS AGAIN FOR SHARING.... I will be back to see how things go through the spring / summer.
Happy Spring!

Ginger said...

Bren,
Thanks! Seed-starting can be both so gratifying and so frustrating!!

The heat source was very cheap to make. The rope lights are $6 at Lowe's and we had the scrap wood and wine corks. A real serious gardener would probably spring for the heat mats you can order, but this seems to work fine.

We've been leaving the rope lights on all the time and turning the lamp off at night.

Good luck with your seeds and have a great week!
Ginger

Heather said...

I have a mental note to self to contact you when I don't know what I did wrong. Looks to me like you have it figured out. I may have to copy your heat pad idea, way cheaper than buying pads made for that purpose. Hope you are having fun with this venture. I plan to plant a lot more from seed under lights next season. This season is full up with the chicken house building project. Yeah:D
Heather

Janet said...

Pretty ingenious Ginger. Your plants are coming right along! Way to go.

Susie said...

Look how ingenuous you are!! Love your seed tray idea. My first go-around of seed planting didn't go well but now I have sunflowers, perennial hibiscus and zucchini seedlings coming up. I planted some tomato seeds as well but so far none have made an appearance.

Dirt Princess said...

Clever girl you are! I am glad to see that it is working for you. I am jealous of your seed operation!!! Mine are just in cups on the back porch!!! I will remedy that one day!

Lisa Blair said...

Wow - this. is. awesome.

I love how you rigged your own heat mats with stuff you had around the house. So smart!

Ginger said...

Heather - I'm so excited about your chickens! Your seed-starting operation next year is going to be huge and awesome in your new shed!

Janet - Thanks! There really is nothing like growing from seed.

Susie - Ooh you have some really neat things growing! I haven't started my cucumbers and squash yet, since they grow SO fast, but will soon.

Dirt Princess - I started seeds on the back porch last year, but they were seriously set back by some torrential rains. I pretty much had to start over. So... that was the impetus for the indoor operation.

Lisa - Thanks! I knew I would find a use for the zillions of wine corks!