Help and advice requested re using a heated propagator

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by varallo, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. varallo

    varallo Gardener

    Jan 4, 2010
    I am thinking seriously about purchasing a heat assisted Vitapod propagator ( 100cms long X 50cms wide and 39cms high) which seems to be the best on the market at the moment.

    My greenhouse on the allotment is unheated and my seed sowing/growing (mainly veg) this early spring has been a total disaster mainly due to the tremendous fluctuations in temperature night to day especially when the winter dragged on and on !. (consequently I have had to purchase veg plants of questionable quality and variety)
    Q.E.D. I reckon the answer is to start the seeds off at home in such propagator and then when the little plants are a reasonable size and maturity move them into the greenhouse (hopefully at the right time of year).

    This sounds all very nice but as I am very new to this propagator/greenhouse lark I am asking for tips/advice and any suggestions that can assist me in having a better seed sowing/growing season that this year !!!

    Thanks in advance
    Cheers :help:
  2. PeterS

    PeterS Total Gardener

    Mar 18, 2005
    N Yorks
    Hi Nick. I have been using a heated propagator for a few years and find it very useful. Mine is a good size (but not as big as yours), but only had a 23watt heater and no thermostat. This means that when it is switched on it simply raised the temperature inside by about 6C or 7C above the ambient. Inside a heated house this is great, but if its outside where the temperature is -7C... it could still be freezing inside the propagator. :D

    If yours has a thermostat, it will have a bit of extra heating power - but not much. So I think you would be very wise to have it inside the house.

    As I understand it, many seeds won't germinate till they are sure spring has come - ie they need a reasonably high temperature to germinate. However, once they have been fooled into getting out of bed, they are often quite capable of surviving and thriving in colder temperatures, though they will obviously grow faster in a higher temperature. Don't forget the influence of light. Once germinated, you need to give the seedlings as much light as you can. If they have good heat and poor light they will get leggy.

    Most sources say remove the cover once the seeds have germinated. But I don't bother, and it doesn't seem to worry them. I argue that the cover will keep both the moisture and the heat in, but you must take the cover off every day to allow fresh oxygen to enter.
  3. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

    Jan 9, 2005
    Mid Kent
    I've had a home made one for years, I made a base and buried a soil warming cable in sand, the sides and top are twin wall polycarbonate.
    I also have a thermostat which is usually set pretty high, about 25 C, but then I tend to use it for plants that like heat.
    I've never used it much for veg except maybe to start off some onions early, or toms and peppers.

    I'm thinking you may have very different growing conditions than us in the UK, Nick.
    As I think a cold greenhouse here would be ample for starting off most hardy types of veg.

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