Monday, November 26, 2007

Keep Your Seeds Warm

For seeds to germinate they need a soil temperature of around 70 degrees.

The Bear Ridge farm was started with a 250 watt heat lamp suspended over the seed trays. This seemed to work very well. Seeds germinated and sprouted quickly. Once sprouted the plants tended to "burn" and the soil dried out under the powerful lamp.

The owner of a local greenhouse recommended using tray warmers. These are weak heating pads that sit under the germination trays and run about forty dollars. These pads warm the seed trays from the bottom up to about 15 degrees above ambient temperature. This method does not appear to work nearly as well. The seeds are not germinating and are molding in the soil.

For now germination will be moved back to the heat lamp. When the seeds have sprouted they will be removed from the "hot" area to a south facing window.

After relocating to Bear Ridge the seeds will be germinated next to the wood stove.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

BigBear,

Would a heat tape (the kind used to keep pipes from freezing) placed in the soil work.

Future SDCR farmer.

Leland said...

I've also heard that heating pads (protected from moisture) under the tray work well... some plants like germinating in cooler weather, though... Broccoli and cauliflower for instance...

Good deal on progress!

BigBear said...

Future SDCR Farmer

Not sure if heat tape gets hot enough. It is a good idea though and I will look into it. I could just keep the house at 70+ degrees but that seems a little wasteful not to mention uncomfortable. Where is your farm in the SDCR?

BigBear said...

Leland,

I think that would work but I am uncomfortable leaving a heating pad unattended all day since the dogs don't know how to use a fire extinguisher. We are working on that though. The broccoli is doing fine comes up without a lot of heat. The beans and tomatoes do not like the cool temperature though.

Have you ever made wine? In the next few days I am going to start a real simple unsophisticated batch just to see how it is done.

Anonymous said...

BigBear,
Cancel the heat tape unless you keep the sensor in cold water.
They turn off at 50 degrees.

Future farm is about 3/4 mile from SDCR main office ( Forbes ? is it still called that headquarters.)

Future Farmer

BigBear said...

Future Farmer

You are over there with the power and lights. That's easy living : )

Anonymous said...

I am less than than 600 feet from power (less than $6000 to put in but I will have both eventually and hope to spin meter backwards .)

Future Farmer said...

BigBear,

This looks like the ticket.
Outdoor Rope Light
http://www.gardengrapevine.com/BottomHeater.html

BigBear said...

Future Farmer,

I am going to give that a try. If it does not work I can always use them for holiday lights.

Alpine Acres said...

When you decide you need some good organic compost... Tracker can donate plenty but I'm NOT following him around with the bucket.

Also, look into accelerators for germination.

I recommend pre-soaking the seeds for 12 hours prior to planting.

Hope this helps.

BigBear said...

I forgot about your great compost factory, I will eventually need some and will bring the bucket. I started my last beans by placing them in a folded wash cloth soaked in hot water. They sprouted overnight so that works really well.

Having trouble with peppers and green onions. They just don't want to sprout.

Alpine Acres said...

For the difficult seeds, try a saucer filled with water, cover the seeds with a paper towel and put them in a cabinet for 4 days. Be sure to check on the water level daily. Boy, you need some planting lessons! Next time you're out here, I'll give you some info on planting and germination.

Alpine Acres said...

Big Bear - Check out this link about planting beans. http://www.almanac.com/search/index.php?q=planting+beans&sitesection=0

You'll also find a lot more useful information there about everything else.

Hope this helps.