Use a seedling heating mat to improve the germination of your seeds. These pads are specially made for use with growing seeds, giving the correct temperature while avoiding the danger of using a home heating pad with damp soil and spilled water.
Read the seed packet to find the correct timing for planting the seeds. Each variety of seeds will need a certain number of weeks indoors before being transplanted into the garden. Find the average last frost date for your area and count back the weeks to find the date to start the seeds indoors. In Sunnyvale, the last frost date is about March 15.
Fill the seed cells with fresh potting soil. Never use garden soil for starting seeds indoors. Garden soil carries weed seeds and microorganisms that can cause disease in young seedlings. Potting soil is sterile and safer for seed germination.
Plant the seeds according to the packet directions. Each variety of seeds has to be buried a certain depth below the surface for germination; usually the depth is one to one and a half times the thickness of the seed. Bury the seeds at the proper depth and pat the potting soil over the seeds so that it makes good contact.
Place a plant heating pad, also known as a seedling heat mat, in a spot where it won’t be disturbed, near an electrical outlet. Place a drip tray on top of the heating pad and set the planted seed cells onto the tray. Plug the heating pad into the outlet. Most heating mats do not have variable heat settings; simply plug them in to get the correct temperature. If your mat has a temperature dial, set it for 70 degrees unless your seed packet specifies a warmer or cooler temperature. Cover the cells loosely with plastic wrap to retain moisture until the seeds germinate.
1. Place the mat on a well drained surface (without standing water)
2. For warmer mat temperatures, place it on an insulating surface rather than a cold floor.
3. Covering your plant tray with a humidity cover or dome will also keep the root area warmer and maintain humidity control for better rooting
4. Plug the mat into a 120 volt power source
5. This mat is designed to raise rooting area temperatures about 10-20 degrees above ambient air temperature