Someone asked me the other day how we germinate seeds here at Kilpatrick Family Farm. I figured a quick blog post would be in order to show our cheap, and easy method.
We have heated benches in our smaller transplant house. I’ll do another Post on these latter, but the short version is that a 30 K BTU standard water heater is used to heat water which is pumped through small tubes on our benches. This system keeps the root zone warm, which is the most important part for strong growth.
What is needed for good germination?
Seeds need 3 things to germinate. Moisture, Heat, and in some cases light. We wet the trays before they go into the germination chamber. While in there, we either cover them with rowcover or germination domes to keep the moist. Heat is supplied by the heat tubes running underneath. The probe that powers the heat system is sunk in a small pot in the germ chamber. For those crops that need light, we’ll either place them on the top in the chamber or bring them out after a couple days. That is enough time to give them a jumpstart.
Here is a closeup of the tubing running under the bench and germ chamber.
What our cheap germ chamber does is concentrate that heat to a temperature which most seeds germ quickly at (80F). This is done through a few sheets of 1″ and 2″ foam board held together with great stuff and a few long roofing nails.
Here’s a shot of seedings just coming out of the germ chamber. We’ll stack trays several high in there for a capacity of over 100 trays.
right now the chamber is chock full of ginger germinating!
During the summer, when it is too hot, we germ in the cooler or a cool basement room.