Staring your own seedlings is the only way to go if you are going to have a large garden. The only problem is that some seedlings like higher temperatures while others don’t. Growing mats are downright expensive, and they still tend to fluctuate with the ambient temperature. After kicking the idea around, I came upon a solution that is not only affordable and was easy to make, it also germinates the seeds in record time due to the precise temperature control of about +/- 2 degrees F.
The heart of the unit is an inexpensive yet incredibly versatile 12 Volt temperature controller, coupled with either a low Wattage bulb or rope light and a free Styrofoam housing that lets me germinate 36 dozen different seeds at a time, and with a very high germination rate. See the video HERE