BHM Forum      
Subscribe to Backwoods Home Magazine print or Kindle editions
Office Hours Momday - Friday  8 am - 5 pm Pacific 1-800-835-2418

Facebook   YouTube   Twitter
Follow Us!



 
Backwoods Home Magazine, self-reliance, homesteading, off-grid

Features
 Home Page
 Current Issue
 Article Index
 Author Index
 Previous Issues
 Newsletter
 Letters
 Humor
 Free Stuff
 Recipes
 Print Classifieds

General Store
 Ordering Info
 Subscriptions
 Kindle Subscriptions
 ePublications
 Anthologies
 Books
 Back Issues
 Help Yourself
 All Specials
 Classified Ad

Advertise
 Web Site Ads
 Magazine Ads

BHM Blogs
 Ask Jackie Clay
 Massad Ayoob
 Claire Wolfe
 James Kash
 Where We Live
 Behind The Scenes
 Dave on Twitter
Retired Blogs
 Oliver Del Signore
 David Lee
 Energy Questions
 Bramblestitches

Quick Links
 Home Energy Info
 Jackie Clay
 Ask Jackie Online
 Dave Duffy
 Massad Ayoob
 John Silveira
 Claire Wolfe

Forum / Chat
 Forum/Chat Info
 Enter Forum
 Lost Password

More Features
 Meet The Staff
 Contact Us/
 Change of Address
 Write For BHM
 Privacy Policy

Retired Features
 Country Moments
 Feedback
 Links
 Radio Show





  
 

BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum
Posting requires Registration and the use of Cookies-enabled browser.

   

Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Plants > Farm/ Garden/Flowers/ Shrubs/ Trees

Farm/ Garden/Flowers/ Shrubs/ Trees If it grows in the soil, this is the forum.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-10-2009, 12:35 PM
Penny_Plinker Penny_Plinker is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 471
Default DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

After pricing seed propogation matts ($27 to $42) i started looking for ways to make one. I know some on here have used waterbed heaters and only wish i could find one but no luck with that. I did a search that made mention of using low wattage Christmas rope lights, though the instructions were rather vague. Here is my version of a propagation matt using Christmas rope lights.

First i scrounged up a big plastic drip pan from an old commercial refrigerator. Many other plastic containers would work, like a rubbermaid container, or cut off the solid bottom of an old laundry basket.

Next cut a piece of metal hardware cloth to fit in the bottom of it. Use an 18 foot section of outdoor rope lights (6.99 at Walmart). Soak the plastic rope portion of the lights in hot water but keep both ends dry. Hot water will warm the plastic and make it easier to work with. Start in the middle of the hardware cloth and wind as shown and fasten with zip ties.

[img]

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-...ropelights.jpg

[/img]

Not shown in the picture, but i then cut a piece of aluminum covered bubble wrap type insulation to fit the inside bottom of the pan to prevent heat loss out the bottom, then placed the lights and wire on top of that. Then filled with kitty litter and levelled it out.

[img]

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-...tsinlitter.jpg

[/img]

Sorry the picture isn't clear, but the thermometer read about 98 degrees.

Put the flat filled with potting soil and a lid on top. It wasn't warming up till i wet the potting soil. The temp of the thermometer in the soil is now 92 degrees. The temp dropped because the heat had to conduct through the plant tray and dirt. I don't know what the perfect temp for propogation should be but it should be possible to adjust down by adding more cat litter or venting the top.

[img]

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-...tsfinished.jpg

[/img]

The fact the pictures were taken atop my kitchen stove is because i have an outlet there and didn't want to hunt for an extension cord.

Also, the tag attached to the rope lights have all kinds of warnings about not getting them wet and using a ground fault breaker. I figure they're made for outdoor, and i'll unplug before watering and the tray that holds the seed packs will catch any drips. But use your own good judgement.

Penny
Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old 01-10-2009, 02:07 PM
WileyCoyote's Avatar
WileyCoyote WileyCoyote is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,487
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

Penny, I told DH about your idea and he said that was very creative and brilliant!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-10-2009, 05:12 PM
Penny_Plinker Penny_Plinker is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 471
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

Wiley, tell him i said thanks! I just thought i'd put it on here, someone might be interested. It will be used to try coax up some stubborn pepper plants. ;D

Penny

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-10-2009, 06:08 PM
sbemt456 Female sbemt456 is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Eastern Kentucky
Posts: 1,190
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

Penny I think I saw the instructions for such an item made from the lights like you have and 2 plastic clear Sterlite or Rubbermaid boxes. Try searching on www.instructables.com.
Actually that is where I got the idea to use waterbed heaters last spring. Or try your local chapter of Freecycle or Craigs List for the water bed heaters. They come with the thermostat.
But ya got a good plan there. The size of the container, space of the lights and depth of soil does a lot to control the temp. I would also think ambient temp would also need to be figured in.

Good luck!

stella
__________________
www.mcguirehomestead.blogspot.com
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-10-2009, 08:27 PM
GoodDaughter GoodDaughter is offline
Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Back in the woods
Posts: 793
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

If you have an electric blanket, set on lowest setting, this will also work.

I had one for years I used, it was one that had a control for each side of the blanket, and one side didn't work so it was sold as damaged goods where my mother worked. I would fold the blanket to fit the size of table where I was setting my seed flats, and then put trash bags over the plastic to the blanket wouldn't get wet. Set the blanket on low and then set a flat on top (no soil) and use a cheap thermometer to tell how hot it was. On low, even with 6 packs full of soil, the temp inside the flats (with the dome covering) would usually stay between about 72 and 76, which was perfect for most vegetables.

The blanket finally quit working after what must have been 15 years. Now I have to find something else to use.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-11-2009, 08:07 AM
Penny_Plinker Penny_Plinker is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 471
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

Sbemt, thanks for that very interesting link! I did a search and couldn't find it the propogation heater but i must have used inexact words. But there is so many other interesting things there! I won't mind spending some more time there looking at it all.

GoodDaughter, elect blanket might be easier to find. Had one and now i'm mad it was getting bumpy little nubbies plus you couldn't wash it so i threw it out. Would be great to get one. Even brand new, sizewise if they cost less than the bought seed mats it would be worthwhile. Because the seedmats are only big enough for one flat but a elect blanket or waterbed heater, you could put several. Even though the rope lights should do to start peppers, going to keep searching to find either an elect blanket or waterbed heater, that would hold a whole table full of seed flats. Good luck to you in locating another elect blanket.

Penny
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:17 PM
CarolAnn's Avatar
CarolAnn Female CarolAnn is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 4,791
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

Penny - this looks like a very nice setup! I'll show my brother-in-law. He built one out of a water pipe heat tape (cheap at Walmart at the end of winter!) - and it worked fine, but your set up is a lot more controllable with the idea of kitty litter as a spacer to regulate the heat!
__________________
"Someday" is not a day of the week...but if it were, it sure would be a busy day!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-16-2009, 08:34 PM
Penny_Plinker Penny_Plinker is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 471
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

Hi CarolAnn!

My mind's filing that idea of a heating tape starter. Good idea!

Now i'm gettin ready to work on shelving and flourescents to coax the plants to grow after the propogator gets them started. Ordered some seeds today, spring's getting close, huh? (even though it was -2 this a.m. with a high of 14) Just a good time to get things ready though.

Penny
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-17-2009, 12:19 PM
mom
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodDaughter
If you have an electric blanket, set on lowest setting, this will also work.

I had one for years I used, it was one that had a control for each side of the blanket, and one side didn't work so it was sold as damaged goods where my mother worked. I would fold the blanket to fit the size of table where I was setting my seed flats, and then put trash bags over the plastic to the blanket wouldn't get wet. Set the blanket on low and then set a flat on top (no soil) and use a cheap thermometer to tell how hot it was. On low, even with 6 packs full of soil, the temp inside the flats (with the dome covering) would usually stay between about 72 and 76, which was perfect for most vegetables.

The blanket finally quit working after what must have been 15 years. Now I have to find something else to use.
I have a friend who propogated roses and other shrubs for her yard and used an electric blanket. I haven't ever tried it myself but the woman cound make a broomstick root so I know it works.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-18-2009, 01:52 AM
Gobstopper Gobstopper is offline
Inactive Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location:
Posts: 8
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation  Heater

Good idea if you want to burn the house down!

From the rope light manual...........
"Do not cover this product as the covering may cause the Rope Light to overheat and melt or ignite."

Us a proper soil heating cable!

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/sanders92.html

Gob
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-18-2009, 06:27 PM
Penny_Plinker Penny_Plinker is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 471
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

Never knew of anything to catch fire at 98 degrees. If it does, people better stay out of the summer sun.

Penny
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-18-2009, 10:35 PM
duckidaho Male duckidaho is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: North Central Idaho
Posts: 235
Default Re: DIY Seed Propagation *Heater

We also use an electric blanket. We had great luck, except for peppers-which were patchy, some sprouted other varieties struggled. The room we use can be cold, so maybe just a tad cold for the peppers. We didn't burn the house down. Russ
__________________
Novitiate Homesteader
http://novitiatehomesteader.blogspot.com/
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -2. The time now is 10:13 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1996 to Present. Backwoods Home Magazine, Inc.