All seeds need a fair amount of warmth and moisture to germinate – and some of our favourite fruits and vegetables need a good deal more than others, with a minimum soil temperature of 16 degrees celsius needed for them to get off the ground. Here are five delicious reasons to start your plants off in heat propagators and give your home grown crops a head start.
The aubergine, or eggplant as it is also known, usually associated with mediterranean cuisine. It was introduced there from Arabia in the early middle ages, but we didn’t inherit it in the UK until the 16th century and, due to the difficulty of growing it in the British climate, it was still considered a rare exotic vegetable than many of our parents never saw growing up.
This plant prefers temperatures of at least 24 degrees to flourish and plenty of time to fruit before autumn. That leaves a very narrow window for success in the UK. Use of heated propagator gives seeds a good head start to germinate in consistent warmth before the British summertime (hopefully) arrives.
Thankfully, the courgette doesn’t need the long growing time of an aubergine in order to produce fruit, which in this case is actually a type of squash, as we tend to harvest them while they’re still small. A fully grown courgette can reach up to a metre in length when mature, and is then a marrow rather than a courgette and is enjoyed in its own right, though very differently.
Though sweetcorn can successfully sown directly outdoors, many growers choose from start the plants off inside, to ensure only the healthiest plants are planted out. One reason for this is that sweetcorn plants must be planted out in blocks rather single rows, so that the plants can pollinate one another. As the plants can reach a good size in pots initially, it can be helpful to start them off very early in a propagator, and plant them outside only once the temperature reaches a steady 16 degree minimum.
French and Runner Beans
Beans are a popular crop throughout the warmer growing season, and one of those that copes well in relatively cool early spring temperatures. Growers often get a head start on the year by starting the plants off inside in a heated propagator so that they can harvest those succulent pods a little sooner.
One advantage of heat propagating your cucumbers, is timing. The majority of cucumbers need not only warm temperatures but a guarantee of pollination by bees, without which the fruits may be partially yellow and underdeveloped. Propagation ensures that there are enough individual healthy cucumber plants flowering at the same time nearby one another at the point in the spring where the bees are most prolific and when competition for their attention is relatively low.
There are many advantages of using a heat propagator to start plants and vegetables from seed. The closed micro environment allows you to achieve the minimum soil temperatures for germination and early growth, keeps the growing medium moist, and prevents access by pests. This quick start gives you a good base from which to pot out the strongest seedlings within only a few days turnaround, giving you a high output of healthy plants at the beginning of the growing season, when time is at a premium. It’s a fantastic head start for your home grown produce.