Monday, April 16, 2007

Germination Box

Hubby and I built a germination box on the weekend. It doesn't look pretty but it works. I didn't think it would turn out but I got up this morning and 13 of my tomato plants are up! I've had them in my mini greenhouse beside our woodstove since April 12th and had only put them on the box yesterday, not a one was up until this morning.
Oh how I wish I would have taken pictures as we did it (I even thought to myself "I should grab my camera") but I didn't. We are not carpenters, nor electricians, if you are unsure about wiring please consult someone who knows what they are doing!!

Basically here's what we did:

Dig through barn and find a box made of wood, preferably at least an inch thick. You can make one but it was easier for us to scrounge up the stuff :)
Our box is approx. 22" wide x 45" long x 8" high. It will hold four trays of seedlings.
It has to be at least 8" high because of the height of the light-bulbs. The light-bulb bases (known as temporary lights, see picture below) are mounted to the bottom of the box approximately 1/2 an inch above the board to leave room for wiring. There is one at each end. The two lights are wired together and then wired to a switch (see first picture). I lucked out with the temporary bases and one of them has a chain so if I want to have only one bulb on I can. You could get away without the switch and just have a cord to plug in but I happen to have one so I cut a hole for the switch-box! A small hole was drilled below the switch and we wired a male ended plug into the switch.
I have two 60 watt bulbs inside the box and it keeps the tin at about 85 degrees. Your box doesn't have to be totally sealed, you just have to have your tin get warm.
Make sure to cut a hole in the bottom of the box so you can fit your hand in to change the light-bulbs!!
Cut a piece of tin and screw it down on top. Use Goop or silicone and seal up where the screws are or any small holes (don't want to be getting any water in the box!) I would have liked to have had the tin crimped around the edges and then screwed down but this tin is way too heavy duty...hey we were scrounging :) LOL
Once the screws are screwed and the goop is dry bring into the house, plug in, place plants on top. You will feel the tin heat up in short order.
Pretty simple.
The idea is to keep the bottom of the pots warm and this helps speed up germination. Last night I planted zucchini, watermelon, pumpkin, and cantaloupe. I'm a bit behind on my planting because of the seed company I ordered from (23 days and counting, still not here!!) so I've dug out seeds I had in the freezer from last year.

Here's a few pictures of our finished box.

Switch wired in.

The "box" is a recycled cold air return vent
that was under my MIL's kitchen cupboards before she got new ones.
After filling in the gaps with OSB wood it was suitable for the job!

Tomatoes and clematis sitting on the tin.

The above picture basically shows how we constructed our box.
(Click the picture for a bigger view)
I couldn't find an exact picture of the lights we used for the above diagram
so I've uploaded a picture below.

I've since searched the net and found directions for another germination box but it is out of our league so I've sent the link off to my Mom who happens to live with a carpenter! (Hint, hint Robert!)


Sorka said...

Can you just come on down and take care of my little plants?
Thanks!! I;ll feed you!

Anonymous said...

You guys are so clever!

I have only space for a tiny garden - I just stick plants where ever they will fit within flowerbeds and stuff! LOL! I also do container gardening on my deck. I used to have a big garden and I really miss it, but the container gardening worked ok last year - and no weeds!! I did like that part!

I sort of make a terrarium to make mine germinate a little faster - but I love the idea of the lightbulb box! I also love your little pot maker and I was telling my hubby about it - I want one! =) Oh, how I love gadgets! LOL!

Dora Renee' Wilkerson said...

I just love this! Maybe I can talk my husband into checking this out and making me something like that. That's really cool..

I just started our plants (normal we start in JANUARY inside with grow lights..on top of my old washer and but I gave them away and now I have new ones and don't want to make a mess) nothing big this year.

I love visiting your blog!

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

Anonymous said...

what a great and simply idea.. i've made two of them this week.. one for me and one for my sister in law.. they work great... thanks much for sharing...