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RE: Okay, serious stuff

I have a little setup for starting seeds in my greenhouse with a couple heat
mats. I don't put anything between the heat mats and the wood; if it got hot
enough to hurt the wood I would have cooked seeds for sure. I have been
using the plastic trays without drain holes to put peat pots in. That way I
can water from underneath until the seedlings are up and ready to be moved
out. I like the idea of the foil trays, though, the plastic trays tend to
crack after a couple of seasons and replacing them with the aluminum would
be easier. 
My problem is that I really only need the heat on during the night. The
greenhouse is plenty warm enough during the day so I have timers on the mats
to turn them on in the evening. I don't have enough power outlets available
to plug in more than two timers so I'm limited in the number of seeds I can
start. I suspect there are better ways to do this but I'm cheap enough that
I don't want to spend a hundred bucks or so to get a more flexible system
(this is probably one of those "penny-wise pound-foolish" cases).
I also don't have lights over the seed trays pretty much for the same
reason. That seems to work out okay, although I'm sure they would grow a
little faster with the extra hours of light. 
I don't put any cover over the trays either, the water at the bottom keeps
everything sufficiently wet. I do have to remember to check every day and
make sure they're not drying out. 


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of james singer
Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2005 12:17 PM
To: Chat
Subject: [CHAT] Okay, serious stuff

I think I'm going to clean up a big part of my garage workbench and 
install a seed-starting station. I've got seed beds outdoors for big 
stuff, like palms and loquats, but no really good place to start small 
seeds--peppers and cacti and such.

The bench has fluorescent shop lights overhead and they can be altered 
so they can be lowered and raised as need be.

The top of the bench is 2-inch by 12-inch pine/fir planks. I want to 
lay down heating mats or heating coils. What, if anything, should I put 
between the mats or coils and the wooden planks?

I think I will put something like cookie sheets, the kind that are 
shallow pans, on top of the mats/coils so I can control both irrigation 
and humidity. I do not intend to enclose the growing medium [some 
variation on peat pots, unless someone has a better idea] in a tent or 
one of those little "greenhouses" since the garage never gets below 50 

What else do I need to consider? What would you do differently? I've 
never started seedlings indoors before [bet it shows, eh?].

What say ye?

Island Jim
Southwest Florida
27.0 N, 82.4 W
Hardiness Zone 10
Heat Zone 10
Minimum 30 F [-1 C]
Maximum 100 F [38 C]

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