If you start your own seedlings, they need to be kept warm and moist. While starting them indoors is key, adding a propagation dome will yield better success.
Propagation domes (sometimes also called grow domes) are a useful item to have on hand if you start your own seeds.
They have several benefits over just leaving your seed trays and flats uncovered.
Why You Need A Propagation Dome
Some seeds will sprout in any temperature as long as you have them in soil and a bit of moisture.
However many seeds need the optimum temperature to germinate. This is especially true for all of the heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and melons.
And having the right humidity levels also helps ensure that the soil or seeding mix you’re using doesn’t dry out prematurely.
A propagation dome will help give your seeds a cozier temperature and ensure they stay moist as well.
What To Look For In A Propagation Dome
The key thing to look for in a good dome is strength as you will be removing it quite often to water your seedlings and check on them and vent them.
Speaking of venting, more expensive propagation domes will also have built-in adjustable vents. Usually these are on top and you simply twist them to open and close them.
Some domes even have built-in thermometers, but really you’re better off just having a thermometer you can use elsewhere as well.
The one I really like to use is actually part of a set that included a tray as well, so the dome fits in the tray well.
It’s made from a sturdy plastic with aforementioned vents.
Where To Buy Propagation Domes
As this was a hand-me-down from my dad when he no longer needed it, the exact one seems to not be available anymore.
But there are others just as good or even better. There are now ones that have handles for easier moving and even ones that have side extenders so you can extend the height as your plants grow.
Here are some I found on Amazon or you can also find others locally at a well-stocked nursery, garden centre or even a big box store.
Inexpensive, Environmentally Friendly Propagation Dome
If you’re on a budget however or concerned over buying yet another item made from plastic, you can also look in your recycling bin!
I also use recyclable containers such as cake domes and the big tubs that washed organic greens and spinach come in. These work as cloches outdoors as well to protect sensitive transplants. These are harder to vent though as they don’t have built-in vents, so you need to remember to remove them on sunny days.
And no, it’s not an excuse to eat more cake!
So consider using a propagation dome if you start your own seeds. You’ll find your seeds germinate faster and grow better with the added warmth and moisture.
And once your seedlings head out into the garden, continue to protect them with row cover.