It is January, and I can't wait to get planting. Seed packets are already calling to me. However, the wet and windy weather is not!
If like me, you're looking at growing your own food, herbs, or flowers, it's a great time to get a propagator. A propagator will give your seeds and seedlings a more protected environment in which to germinate and grow, with ambient heat retained under the lid. Unheated propagators are great things, and I love mine. At this time of year though, heated propagators really come into their own.
Heated propagators provide the same protected environment that unheated ones do, but with one vital difference - heat. Temperature is really important. At temperatures too high or low, seeds can fail to germinate. The weather is notoriously changeable in Britain but winter definitely sees the worst of the cold weather. This can mean unsuitable conditions to grow our seeds until well into spring, which naturally results in later crops or flowers, or too short a growing time for the plants to truly flourish. That can break the heart of any gardener!
A heated propagator is a great gardeners' solution, as it lets us provide warmer temperatures for seeds to germinate so they can get started sooner. There is also the absolute joy of seeing little seedlings grow at this otherwise grey time of year. I like to start some of my herbs and food crops now and start more off in stages, giving us ripe and tasty, fresh, home-grown food for as long throughout the year as possible.
What about the electricity required? With electricity costs still in the headlines, it's good to know that these gently heated propagators use only up to 13 watts* to boost the ambient compost temperature by about 8 degrees centigrade. This makes it possible for us to sow our seeds now, see faster growth, and have an earlier and longer harvest of crops or blooms. Remember, when the temperature is naturally warm enough for your seeds, simply unplug your propagator to use it unheated for more seeds and more seasons.
With food cost increases in the headlines too, to me it makes sense to enjoy growing our own food where we can. Gardening has also been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, which makes it something with benefits for everyone. Increase in wellbeing? Check. Fresh food? Check. A great heated propagator? Check! I'm already looking forward to seeing my seeds germinate and thrive in mine. It's time to get growing!
*A bit of extra info in case you're worried about electricity costs. The average electricity cost in Britain in January 2023 is 34p per kwh. Based on that, it's 46p per week to run the 4-in-1 heated propagator that uses 8 watts, and 74p per week for the 3-in-1 and 7-in-1 heated propagators that use 13 watts.