[gardeners] Re: [tomato] heat pad

William McKay (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 13:05:20 PST

>For those "Handy Persons", I made a 12x22 box out of 1x8's
>Covered the top with 12" Aluminum Flashing 
>Inside the bottom I mounted some 1x3's  about 6 in in from each end
>Mounted a light socket in the middle of the 1x 3's, Use 2 / 25 w light 
bulbs wired to a dimmer switch. 
>I made another 1x4 box to fit on top, also covered with 12" aluminum
>flashing. Cleated the 2 boxes together. Reason, this helps disperse the 
heat and reduces hot spots. The flashing also keeps moisture off the 
light bulbs
>In the top box I drilled a small hole to install a dial thermometer.
>In the bottom box I drilled a 1/8th in hole in line with each bulb so I 
could see if they were still working. A little paint or stain, a modicum 
of care, your biggest repair expense will be an occasional light bulb

>My cost was less than $15, but I had the wood
>Happy Growing

I made some similar boxes but made them 22x22 so I could get two 10-20 
trays on them.  My instructions said to use 2 40w bulbs.  They put 
outtoo much heat.  I used some plexiglas for the top (ran a bead of 
caulk to keep water from the light bulbs) and then laid a piece of 1/2 
inch styrofoam insulation on that to disperse the hotspots from the 
bulbs.  They work like a charm.  In addition to using them to start 
seeds, I hooked one of the boxes up to a timer.  Tomatoes get 14 hours 
of heat and then 10 hours at 56 degrees (my basement temp).  Promotes 
great stocky plants.  

Love the idea of a dimmer switch.  That should solve my overheating box 

Bill McKay in E. Mass

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