The Ferry Morse heating mat is a new product on the market this spring. It is designed to “improve the germination process and overall success of seedlings and cuttings by gently warming the root area”.
Most homes are kept at a constant 68 – 70 degrees. Seeds generally germinate at 70 degrees or above, depending on the variety. However since I have not had much difficulty in the past germinating seeds indoors I wondered if this product would be beneficial. Curiosity aside, anything that can give you an advantage early on to make plants healthier is always good. So I decided to take the plunge and purchase one to test and share the results with all of you.
Starting plants from seeds can be difficult for some gardeners. Since we generally start indoors and most gardeners don’t have the luxury of a greenhouse, plants get started on a countertop or sunny window. This can lead to drafts hindering seed development. However, as I mentioned before, I usually have an 80-90% germination rate with no assistance, so is it really needed?
The first test was 2 flats of tomatoes. One started normally and one with the heat mat, both placed side by side in the same location planted on the same day. The first tomatoes to pop? Came from the heat mat side. In fact I had 5 tomatoes emerge on that side a full day before the normal plant. Success rate was also better, I had a solid 90% of seeds germinate as opposed to about 75% on the normal side. Which was quite low compared even to what I’m used to.
These results were positive, but not enough to truly convince me.
So I decided to try a second trial with spinach. Spinach has a fast germination anyways and I was able to spread a good seeding across my planters. We eat lots of spinach so growing it indoors out of season is a no brainer for me.
The results of this test absolutely astounded me. The very next day I had seeds germinating on the heat mat side. In 3 days I had full germination. The non-mat side, at the end of 3 days has one little seed sprouting. The picture really says it all (Below).