To succeed at germinating seeds fast you need to control the germination temperature of your new seeds and seedlings. The proper soil temperature is one of the most significant things that you can control to speed the germination process and get healthy seedlings.
Determine Germination Temperature
The first thing you need to do is to determine the germination temperature that your plants will need. This is different from one plant to another, so read the seed packet or do a little research online to figure out what temperature is correct.
It is a good bet that many vegetables and flowers will germinate well at room temperature, but some prefer a different approach. For example, when growing peppers and tomatoes from seed you will find that some heat really makes a difference.
Some seeds do best when day and night soil temperatures differ. This can be handled in a couple of ways. One is to use a heat mat to warm the soil during the day and turn it off at night. Another is to move the seeds into a sunny spot during the day and put them in a cool place, like the basement, at night, but this method can cause extreme heat during the day.
Other seeds prefer warm soil temperatures right through germination. In this case, a heat mat is the best tool that you can have to carry out the task, as it will be easy to keep up the proper temperature day and night.
Controlling Germination Temperature With a Heat Mat
If you are planting seeds that need higher soil temperatures to germinate, a heat mat is they way to go.
Because some seed varieties prefer a warm day and cool night temperature, you can really make your germination process an easy one by adding a timer switch on the heat mat to turn the heat on and off at just the right time. This makes a 12 hour heat span foolproof. While you're at it, you can hook the grow lights up to the timer as well to perfect the amount of daylight your seed and seedlings get.
Germinating Seeds Fast
Germinating seeds fast is a great advantage, so when a bit of heat allows you to do that you really must try it. You really don't need it for classic landscape flowers like marigold or geranium, but for warm season crops using bottom heat for the soil will speed things up greatly.
Long germination times increase the potential for soil disease and weak seedlings. The sooner you can get them germinated and growing with a true set of leaves, the better.
By controlling germination temperature with a seedling heat mat, you'll be germinating seeds fast and have more fun doing it.