DIY Seed Growing Mat: Part 1

Gosh I love the smell of melting styrofoam in the morning!….

Okay, not really. In fact, its pretty awful. But the upside of the horrible smell is the by-product.

Months and months ago I started planning my garden down to the minutia. But my enthusiasm subsided when the research brought to mind the wilted and often brown attempts at growing anything. Most of the time I over-water. In certain circles, I’m even known as the Cactus Killer! Other times, the poor things just don’t get enough heat or light. Lots of trouble shooting things gone wrong in the past took me to the millions of folks recommending a heating pad (with and without the assistance of a grow lamp–its up in the air on that one). But they’re SO expensive! No way I’m shelling out $25 for half the size of something I can make for free.

So, how can I up-cycle items already in my possession to generate a heated plank of water-resistant something-or-other?

The design is not my idea of course, but rather inspired by the other MacGyvers of the interwebs. So take my plan and make it your own!

You will need:

  • base sheet of foam/insulation plus one more sheet for the sides and rows
  • sharp knife/box cutter
  • old Christmas lights
  • duct tape
  • hot glue (I went through 8 standard glue sticks) and glue gun
  • tape measure
  • marker
  • coffee
  • 2 assistants (one fussy, the other furry)

My base was a sheet of 1/2 inch foam from Little E’s crib box (you never know when a giant sheet of foam will come in handy). Because the hardware store’s insulation was a bit too large for such a tiny project, I bought a pack of foam sheets that measured 48″x14.5″x3/4″.

I cut my sheet to fit a standard folding table at 55″x18.5″. With my pocket knife (because I can never keep track of a box cutter for some reason) I sliced a handful of 1.5″ wide strips from my foam pack. Here’s the layout after they’ve all been glued down.

DSCN0147

But when I set the lights into the channels, it was a pain in the butt to get them to lay flat. And since I already had the sheets of foam it just made sense to make another layer. So, here we are with another layer and all the lights lay delightfully flat!

DSCN0152

To be continued…

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