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Starting Bell Peppers with a heat mat and humidity dome?

Posted by david1948 5b (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 27, 10 at 12:11

I have read countless threads and found valuable help. Now jump right in my problem and my observations on starting bell pepper seeds using a HydroFarm seed starting system.
After reading how bells need heat and my failure to germinate them in my normal process, I purchased the heat mat etc. to improve my success. One seed germinating would be a success!
The collective advice I gleaned from this forum were employed.
Problem! The only seeds to germinate were the seeds planted in the perimeter rows of the cubicles. They germinated in 10 days at 70%. The humidity dome was left on the tray the entire time to insure a humid environment during germination.
Now, I am thinking the others did not germinate due to lack of air circulation over the other cubicles? (Assuming all things being equal throughout the entire dome and cubicles).
Should the dome have holes? If yes, what size, how many and where to install them?
I would think someone out there has experienced this problem. Any help and advice? Am I thinking in the right direction? What have I missed?
Thanks, Dave
P.S. Thank you for taking the time to share you tips and experiences.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Starting Bell Peppers with a heat mat and humidity dome?

Were the seeds all of the same variety? Sometimes, seeds just germinate at different rates, for no reason at all. In your situation, before considering air circulation, I would look first to the heat source. Possibly your heat mat is hotter either in the center or around the perimeter, thus causing better germination either in the cooler or hotter areas. I have seen this before using my cheap heating pad, as the coil inside makes certain areas of the pad hotter than others. Air circulation really is only important during germination to the extent that you don't want the seeds to rot or develop a mold/fungus. If the un-germinated seeds aren't rotten or severely moldy, then air circulation is fine, IMHO.

RE: Starting Bell Peppers with a heat mat and humidity dome?

The tray had 1/8" water in the bottom to help insure even temp across the flat. All the seeds were from the same packet. The dome was "down" on the flat and humidity droplets were on the lid around the outer 1 1/2" of the lid. The center was "dry" due to heat from the lamp I assume.

RE: Starting Bell Peppers with a heat mat and humidity dome?

Ok, since you say 'dry' in quotes like that, I assume you mean...not dry? Just comparatively drier than the outer cells? Assuming you started with seed starting mix that you thoroughly wet and then squeezed the excess water out of before filling the cells.

RE: Starting Bell Peppers with a heat mat and humidity dome?

I've always had really good luck starting peppers (nearly 100% germination). I use a heat mat and a humidity dome, but I always prop the dome open a bit to let air circulate. I keep them dark until the first seeds begin to germinate, then I take them off the heat mat and put them under lights. It can take a while for stragglers to catch up, so be patient. I had one variety (Yolo Wonder, I think) take almost double the time of the others I planted. But even they eventually sprouted.

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