Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

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sarahkeast
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Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260447Post sarahkeast
Mon May 14, 2012 7:58 pm

Inspired by the hotbed guy on Gardeners World and talk on here, I have been gathering stuff to make a sort of hotbed as an experiment. Would appreciate any comments, advice etc....

Plan is based on builders ton bag, lined on sides and base with several layers of cardboard to help retain heat. Got a sunny site in mind, sat on concrete. not sure if it will 'leak' and if I should put tarp or sheeting under it. Filling will be mainly stable manure with a mix of hay/shavings etc, grass clippings, chicken bedding etc and various other compost heap goodies. Will include a bucket or two from the heap to add wormies etc.

Will build/turn it to warm up for a few weeks before planting.

Going to grow some bush tomatoes in/on it. either in layer of soil or pots sat in/on top. Maybe a melon or cucumber too. Going to have to buy seedling/starter plants as nothing germinated for it.

If it works out ok I may do similar inside greenhouse for the winter, see how stuff grows with a bit of extra heat.

If anyone has any bright ideas, experiences or suggestions, would love to hear them.
Sarah :flower:

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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260450Post battybird
Mon May 14, 2012 8:15 pm

Sounds like a good plan! Let us know how it goes!
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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260470Post The Riff-Raff Element
Tue May 15, 2012 5:13 am

The quicker you can build it, the better. You'll get the maximum heating benefit in the first few weeks as the microbes go though the easily digested stuff. The technique I've seen places a layer of soil / compost on top to provide for planting rather than using pots. I'll be very interested to hear how you get on!

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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260471Post boboff
Tue May 15, 2012 5:24 am

An interesting idea on the permaculture website, plant on the top of IBC's. The heat from the water as it warms up gives the plants a nice and warm soil.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/

I haven't been on the cource mind, so I might have got it wrong.
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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260480Post Green Aura
Tue May 15, 2012 7:32 am

I've done it with fresh manure (very fresh manure :pukeright: ). We were given several sacks of the flipping stuff and in a domestic garden had nowhere to leave it to mature.

About the same time we saw Geoffrey Hamilton (I think) make a hot bed in the greenhouse (or it could have been that Victorian lot). So we buried it in a bed in the greenhouse and planted our tomatoes in tubs on top. Seemed to work really well - got an excellent crop.
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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260483Post becks77
Tue May 15, 2012 7:50 am

Sounds like a good plan, I have half filled a raised bed with rotting muck this year and then put a layer of plantable compost on top, so far things are going great. Peas are well under way as are beetroot and leeks, french beans and the solitary cauliflower!
In fact they are all doing much better than the ones in the green house!
Hope all goes well keep us posted
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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260485Post Zech
Tue May 15, 2012 9:03 am

sarahkeast wrote:not sure if it will 'leak' and if I should put tarp or sheeting under it.
I don't know anything about the heating part, but I wouldn't expect one of those builders bags to be very waterproof, so if it rains, the water will come out of the bottom and run across your tarp or whatever. No more water than would have fallen on the ground anyway, unless it's dry weather and you need to water the plants.
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sarahkeast
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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260532Post sarahkeast
Tue May 15, 2012 6:43 pm

Ok, so we just built the thing [bribed son to help with xbox time, bad mummy]

We lined a builders bag with cardboard moving boxes, about 4 layers, 1-2cm of cardboard on sides plus lots on base.

Filled with alt layers of stable manure [shavings, straw, hay and poop] grass clippings [warm already after 2 days in sacks], some more card and feathers [burst pillow from school] and a big bucket of compost from heap to get worms and other goodies in there.

Covered with plastic sheet.

Hoping the height will drop a bit as no room for soil ! And boy is it ugly, will have to fill some planters with flowers to put around it !

Next job is to buy 6-8 tumbling tomato plants as didnt do any from seed this year. Will put a couple into a bucket as a 'control'. My son likes that idea, all scientific ! And he likes to eat the toms. A lot.

Found we had 2 builders bags, so if anyone wants to try it up in North West. Or I may start an early winter one later.....
Sarah :flower:

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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260562Post safronsue
Wed May 16, 2012 4:26 am

an interesting project and one i will follow as i am planning to do this in the winter.

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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260964Post sarahkeast
Sun May 20, 2012 7:51 pm

The 'bed' has been filled for 5 days now, and it is HOT ! amazed at the temperature coming off of it. And I havent re-dug it [and wont be, not practical]. It has dropped about 15-20cm, from an overall height of about 1-1.2m,

Topped it off with soil from chicken run [sieved] and will add compost tomorrow.

Brought some tumbling tomatoes and also have courgette, squash and pumpkin which are all earmarked to get planted in there around the edges. Will put some flowers in any space on top.

Planning on putting one of each plant into a bucket/planter alongside as control.

Forecast is good for next week, so will probably plant it then, got enough fleece and plastic sheeting that I could make a 'roof' for it if needed.

Really excited about the project.
Sarah :flower:

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Re: Hot Bed experiment - waddaya think ?

Post: # 260974Post The Riff-Raff Element
Mon May 21, 2012 5:19 am

Sounds good so far. Given the spring we're (not) having, your hot bed could prove to be the way forward....

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