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Author Topic: Hot Beds!  (Read 3083 times)


  • Joined Jul 2012
Hot Beds!
« on: April 07, 2013, 10:01:56 am »
Type that into google and see what you get!!

We are trying an age old technique of growing with hot beds and were wondering if anyone else has had experience with this?

I've bought a book by Jack First who details the set up and maintenance of hot beds.

We've built ours in the polytunnel using the bedding from our cows winter quarters and already we are getting very hot temperatures.


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Hot Beds!
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 11:17:18 pm »
I read about them in one of the Strawbridge books and it sounds fascinating. As with many of their projects, I've yet to attempt and have no idea how anybody ever has time to do them all but I'd love to hear about your results and might add it to my 'to do' list for next year!



  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Durham
Re: Hot Beds!
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2013, 11:38:56 pm »
It sounds time consuming to insulate but I guess in a greenhouse or poly once set up would be good for winter and early spring crops.
Just need a supply of horse manure  :innocent:


  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Hot Beds!
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2013, 01:56:58 pm »
The Beechgrove garden featured hotbeds will be watching with interest. They are planting much the same as me but theirs is outside covered with polythene. They are comparing with a non covered bed.


  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Hot Beds!
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2013, 10:03:25 am »
a few pictures..... last one is the same plants but in normal growing conditions, for comparison.

Temp of hot bed now stable at 30 deg c

« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 10:06:32 am by Scotsdumpy »


  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Orkney
Re: Hot Beds!
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2013, 11:26:45 am »
That looks fab! How are you finding it? Can you see a significant difference in plant growth? Was it hard to set it all up?


  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Hot Beds!
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2013, 12:03:23 pm »
finding it fascinating to be honest!! - there is a significant improvement in growth rate. The set up was fairly easy in that we had the pallet wood to build the bed and lots of cow manure to fill it with. I'd already started off the salad leaves in modules to plant out so once the bed had settled down to around 30c it was just a matter of planting them.
Following Jack First's plan we have planted radishes, carrots, salad leaves and turnips which are all coming along really well. The spaces between the beds have been used to propagate other seeds such as peas and beans, cucumbers, flowers, squashes etc.. - also, I've taken blueberry cuttings in pots which are being bottom heated in the bed.
The only problem we seem to have is mice (or birds) which are pulling up tiny seedlings.

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Hot Beds!
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2013, 03:38:49 pm »
Heligan in Cornwall has used hot beds so might be worth looking at their website or in the book they produce to see if there is any info.  What I can tell you is the traditional way to check that the temperature on top is right for planting pineapples.  Just drop your trousers and place your bare bum on the manure.  If it burns, it's still too hot.  If it feels cold, you've left it too late.  This one should be right up Tiz's street.


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Hot Beds!
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2013, 10:52:37 pm »
Really interesting! Thanks for posting the photos. I'll keep it on my 'to do' list. Just about to turf cut for a pumpkin bed and was going to get a load of manure tipped onto it. Am hoping it might have a similar effect, although not quite as extreme.



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