Heated Propagator

If you want to sow seeds early before the weather has warmed up enough to allow them to germinate naturally, or even if you want to be sure that seed which is temperature sensitive germinates, then you need a method of warming the soil or compost into which you are sowing the seed.

If you are lucky enough (and wealthy enough) to have a heated greenhouse, then you do not have this problem. The rest of us have to devise ways of warming our sowing medium without breaking the bank.

The easiest way of doing this is a heated propagator.  At it’s simplest,this is a plastic box which has a heating element put into it and into which you put seed trays. It has a clear top to keep the heat in and stop the water evaporating. Usually, the element has a thermostat control so that it does not get too hot (or cold) and is propected in some way so that it does not short out when your seed trays are watered.

There are many diferent versions of heated propagators on the market and most garden centres, seed merchants and almost any store selling garden sundries sell them. They are easily found on the internet.

Thompson and Morgan sell a number of them, designed for different purposes and to hold different size pots. For those without greenhouses, there is an electric windowsill propagator.

Windowsill Propagator

This is the right size to fit windowsills and is supplied complete with 7 mini seed trays so you do not have to go out and buy extra pots. Just fill them with compost and sow your seed. With a 15 watt heater, this gives a gentle heat creating a compost heat of 19 degrees, just right for good germination. Because it has such a small element, it is very inexpensive to run.

For gardeners who want something a bit larger, T & M also sell their Electric propagator Top10

Electric Propagator Top 10

This has a 50 watt heated, which is thermostatically controlled, designed to give a temperature of 19 degrees. Instead of the usual method of covering the whole propagator, this has seperate lids to each pot (as the title suggests 10 in all), which means that no cross contamination can take place and each set of seeds can be given exactly the amount of water it needs.

An even larger version is their Jumbo propagator

This takes 8 full size seed trays.Once again the heater is thermostatically controlled . Apart from it’s size, the other advantage of this propagator is that it has three seperate compartments and each compartment can be unzipped to allow ventilation.

Whether you are just starting out sowing seeds or are experienced but feel you need a more reliable way of ensuring germination, electric heated propagators are a very good answer to the problem.

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