Because I live off-grid in a small cabin and can’t provide the constant light and warmth that young plants need, I’ve taken over a corner of Farm Boss’s living room for our plant starts. I had issues last year keeping my precious little seedlings nice and warm – for germination, most seeds like to be in soil that’s around 65-70 degrees. So this year I wanted to try warming the underside of the seedling trays, but I wasn’t about to pay sixty-plus bucks for a commercial mat that only warms two trays at a time.
My thrifty and DIY tendencies made me research different options. I considered using regular human heating pads, but they’re not really designed to be kept on all the time and again there’s the cost. After some serious internet research (not really), I came across an idea to use incandescent rope lights attached to fire resistant materials and setting the trays on top. I followed what this grower did, since I had exactly all the materials on-hand and he had great results with his setup. I cut down scrap pieces of styrofoam, drywall, and linoleum flooring to fit my shelves, cursed only a few times, and the job was done! Here’s another way to do it with fewer materials.
I plan on doing my first batch of seeding in early March, so the tray warmers will be put to the test at that time.