Transform your seed sowing with a heated propagator and you can sow earlier and expand your range to include frost-tender summer bedding and delicious greenhouse crops.
A little extra warmth underneath their toes helps trick seeds into thinking it’s much later in the season than it actually is. That means they germinate months earlier than they would usually, allowing gardeners in the UK to give exotic crops like tomatoes and chillies the long season they need to flower and set fruit.
You can also use a heated propagator to keep seedlings warm as they grow, so they don’t have to experience the chill of early spring and you can keep them cosy till the warm weather starts in April. It’s a great way of enjoying the benefits of a heated greenhouse without the expense. You don’t even need much room for a heated propagator, as these days there are models specially designed to fit onto your windowsill.
A basic starter level model is a seed tray with a simple heating element in the bottom and a clear lid on top, heating the soil to a set level above the surrounding air temperature. It’s a good, inexpensive way to root cuttings and speed up germination for straightforward seedlings including most half-hardy summer bedding and hardy vegetables.
For tender and greenhouse crops, you’ll need a thermostat to make sure the temperature is set at exactly the right level. Heat-loving tomatoes and chilli peppers prefer around 18-20°C, day and night; courgettes, sweetcorn, and squash need about 15-18°C. Turn the heat down a little once seedlings emerge and grow them on at 12-15°C.
Take a look at the full range on sale here at the garden centre in Bitton and Warminster and ask our advice to find out which model will fit your needs. Then simply bring home, plug in and start sowing!