The Q&A Archives: Keeping Seedlings Warm

Question: My husband has offered to build me a seed-starting center. We have several ideas on rigging the lights (shop lights) but are stumped about heating. How beneficial is it? I want to start my seeds in the trays with little cells - so much easier to handle and kind to the seedlings, I think - but the cables I have found are made to run through soil. I really don't want trays of loose soil in my dining room! Can the cables just be run under the trays? Is there some other system that I haven't found? (The rubber mats are too costly - we are doing this on a shoestring). Most of my seeds are annuals.

Answer: As long as the temperature around the growing area is kept around 70 degrees F during germination, you shouldn't need any supplemental heating. Once plants are up, cooler temps (60-65F) are better for the seedlings. You can increase warmth in the area with incandescent bulbs without shades, or even a small space heater.

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