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Picture of How To Make A Simple Incubator For Germination
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For many people getting seeds to germinate is one of the hardest things to do in the world of gardening.
This simple incubator not only makes germination easy, it provides a springboard into hydroponics as the plant will not have any soil-borne diseases.
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

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Materials:
Black plastic (I used Panda Film but this regular is fine)
Foam fruit box
Tape (I used masking tape but duct tape is better)
Small fish tank heater (this can picked up for around $20 AUD)
Perlite
Seedling tray (any kind so long as it fits in the box)
Water

Tools:
Scissors

Step 2: Line the box

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Line the inside of the box fill it about 3/4 of the way up. with water.
Then tape down the edges.

Step 3: Set temperature & insert heater

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The temperature for germination varies form plant to plant but you can find a good guide to seed germination temperatures here.
For tomatoes we set it to 26 degrees C (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Then place the heater on the bottom of the box with the suction cups facing down.

Step 4: Second skin

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Place a second piece of plastic into the box so it is just touching the top of the water. Then tape the edges down.

Step 5: Put in the tray

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Place the seedling tray into the box then fill each compartment with the Perlite.
WARNING: Perlite is made of silica, DO NOT breath in the dust!

Step 6: Plant the seeds

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Plant one (1) seed into each of the tray's compartments and then turn on the heater. To keep the heat in place a small sheet of black plastic over the top. Once the seeds have sprouted this is not necessary. All that is left to do is wait until the plants are big enough to transfer into either a hydroponics setup or a regular soil garden patch.

That's all for now,
Moderator
djsc1 month ago

I like the way that this solves moisture, humidity, heat, and most difficult- temperature control, with the use of something as cheap as an aquarium heater. this is definitely the way I am going to go. I've seen something similar using a large, insulated enclosure with seed trays in it, and a pan of water at the bottom with a thermostatic heater in.

alexmreyes2 years ago
What are the brown rocks on top of the perlite surrounding the seeds in the images of the last step?
altainta2 years ago
very good guide i like it...
Thank you
altainta2 years ago
very good guide i like it...
Thank you
elimasmx4 years ago
Hey! Thanks a lot! I will be doing a desing practice on biology lab about germination soon and decided to use temperature as the variable but i was struggling on how to control de temperature.. GENIOUS! After planting the seeds you just water them on top.. right? Thanks (:
super moderator (author)  elimasmx4 years ago
Hey, good luck with that I hope it turns out well for you! Watering them after they have been planted is a good idea so the root system has a chance to establish. Keep me posted on how it went.
Sorry bit lengthy - but to clear it up for all- have a great day What is perlite? Perlite is a naturally occurring siliceous volcanic rock. The distinguishing feature which sets perlite apart from other volcanic glasses is that when heated to a suitable point in its softening range it expands twenty times its original volume or more. This expansion is due to the presence of 2% to 6% combined water in the crude perlite rock. The water became entrapped into the amorphous material on instant cooling after an eruption. When quickly heated above 870ºC the crude rock pops in a manner similar to popcorn. As the combined water vaporises, it creates countless tiny bubbles in the heat softened glassy particles. It is these tiny glass-sealed bubbles which account for the amazing light weight and other exceptional physical properties of expanded perlite. The expansion process also creates one of perlite's most distinguishing characteristics - its white colour. While the crude rock may range from transparent light grey to glossy black, the colour of expanded perlite ranges from snowy white to greyish white. Typical Physical Characteristics Colour: White Refractive Index: 1.5 Maximum Free moisture: 0.5% Specific Gravity: 2.2 - 2.4 Softening point: 870 - 1093ºC Fusion point: 1260 - 1343ºC Specific Heat: 837 J/kg Typical Chemical Analysis Weight % Silicon oxide (SiO2): 76,2 Aluminium oxide (Al2O3): 12,1 Potassium oxide (K2O): 4,9 Sodium oxide (Na2O): 3,4 Iron oxide (Fe2O3): 0,7 Calcium oxide (CaO): 0,6 Magnesium oxide (MgO): 0,1 Manganese oxide (MnO): 0,1 Titanium oxide (TiO2): 0,1 Loss on ignition: 1,9
super moderator (author)  christiaansa6 years ago
Thanks for clearing that up. I've always wondered where they actually get the silica from. (seriously) BTW no matter where it comes from it WORKS! I had seeds sprouting within 4 days!! Take care, Moderator
awang86 years ago
"WARNING: Perlite is made of silica, DO NOT breath in the dust!" Huh? I though perlite was made out of volcanic rock. Or it may be my mistake that volcanic rock is silica?
super moderator (author)  awang86 years ago
Perlite is silica which is heated under pressure until it pops like popcorn. You may be thinking about scoria which is made form volcanic rock.
I believe you may be thinking of pumice.