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© 2015 Shanna Lea
Growing plants from seeds takes a bit more time than buying plants from the store but not only does it feel great, it’s also the cheapest way to grow in large quantities. It’s especially helpful if you’re growing vegetables or herbs because you can normally get several bags of seeds for the price of one already grown plant.
Seeds have the best chance of growing (and grow faster) when you start them with gentle and consistent heat. The best way to do that is with a heating mat.
I’ve tried buying heating mats and putting them in trays to save money but in the end it’s not really worth the effort when for a few extra dollars you can get this Hydrofarm station and get a mat that fits perfectly in the tray. The cover fits on easily, keeping everything heat controlled and there are vents to keep it from getting too warm or humid.
With 72 seed cells you can plant many seeds at once or just fill up 20 or 30 if you don’t need as many seedlings. Most buyers report having near 100% germination as well. You could also use it to grow yummy bean sprouts quickly and easily.
The biggest downside is that the tray and lid are made of plastic. It’s about as sturdy as any other seed tray so you want to be careful not to drop it. On the bright side if the tray breaks the heat pad will still work fine in any other tray you can find for it to fit in.
The only additional purchase you’ll need to get growing with this setup is peat moss (or a seed starting soil mix) and seeds. Once the seedlings are big enough (when they’re about to push against the lid) you can either take them out and plant them or take the lid off and let them get a little bit bigger first. As a bonus you can reuse it for batch after batch of seeds year after year as long as you want to continue growing.
It’s not recommended for growing outdoors since you don’t want it to rain on the cord which is obviously meant to be an indoor cord. It’s probably best to germinate your seeds in the garage or somewhere in the house where you won’t have to worry about the station being disturbed.
A heated germination tray is by far the easiest and fastest way to get your seeds growing. Planting directly in the ground can work but without the added heat you’ll get slower growth and more failed seeds. It’s the best way to get the most out of the money you spend on seeds and time spent growing.