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The Easy Bake Seed Starting Oven

April 10, 2012

A while back I posted about the new scheme for seed starting I was implementing for 2012, the “Seed Box” of insulated & reflective material.

So how is it working out?

Perfectly, actually better than I expected by all counts. The original starts (tomatoes and peppers) have all long since been moved out to soak in the real sun.

Currently, it holds a flat of this year’s first basil plants and they are doing well (the only issue was with some 3+ year old seeds that I tried to germinate anyway):

Note that there is no Thai Basil in this initial run; there won’t ever be, as I will select from the hundreds of volunteers already up outside….

Also, I started this fall’s leek crop in vermiculite and transplanted the tiny seedlings to an intermediate “window box” type pot. Once they perk up in this, I’ll move them out into the sun for a while and let them get long and leggy before dropping them up to their necks in 6″ deep dibbled holes in their growing ultimate locations.

The final proof to me that this system works well is the flat of Tarragon and Thyme that sprouted 100% (as far as could tell) in only 3 days vs the label’s estimated 10 to 14 days. Yesterday evening I moved clusters to pots and they haven’t missed a beat:

Bottom line, this set up is highly recommended if you are serious about starting your own seeds with minimal attention.

The parts:
A light source ( I use two Hydrofarm fluorescent greenhouse lights)
A warming mat (I use a large 24″x48″ warming mat that covers the entire floor of the box)
1 thermostat for the mat (not mandatory but recommended)
1 timer for the lights
Foil faced Styrofoam insulation board for the walls, floor & ceiling of the box

The process:

Keep soil temperature at 80 degrees until germination then turn off the mat and develop the seedlings using light only (my lights run 16 of the 24 hours each day). In my basement, the box needs to be ventilated some to keep from getting a little too warm when the mat is on; less so when just the lights are on.

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