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ideal temperature for seedlings?

Posted by michelelc 6B, MA (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 21:37

I've always grown my vegetable seedlings on a wire shelf under lights in my kitchen. But, I had my kitchen re-done last summer, and now there isn't a lot of space for the shelf. I have plenty of space in my basement, but it averages about 57, is that too cold? I typically grow peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, celery, cabbage family, ect...
I have the peppers on a heat mat in the basement now, but am wondering if I will need to bring them upstairs once I remove them from the heat mat?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: ideal temperature for seedlings?

After germination, LIGHT not heat, is the primary requirement. Fifty seven degrees in not ideal for your summer crops, how long do you plan on keeping them there? If only for a week or two it should be OK. Can you take them outside during the day to a mostly shady place protected from the wind, with a little higher temperature, for an hour or two? The difference in the amount of light will make an enormous improvement in the sturdiness of the seedlings. Al

RE: ideal temperature for seedlings?

Agree with Al above that 57 is a little low especially as an average meaning it will spend lots of time lower than 57. A consistent air temp of 60-65 is considered the ideal post germination.

But the light provided is far more important at the seedling stage so the plants will tolerate lower air temps in order to get extra light.

So focus on the best way to provide them with lots of light once they germinate. EX: If you set up your shelves in the basement and hang several lights on them and then enclose the shelf set-up in a plastic tent of some sort - create a small enclosed area of sorts - the trapped heat from the lights (even fluorescent) will keep the area inside the tent much warmer than the rest of the basement. Include a thermometer within the tent so you can monitor the temps inside. You'll find you'll have to vent the tent from time to time as it may get TOO warm.


RE: ideal temperature for seedlings?

Thanks, I was thinking that 57 would be too cold. I will fit the shelf into my kitchen, it's probably the easiest way, it may be an inconvenience for a couple months, but I can live with it.

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