I want to build a hotbed (finally), I want to use it for starting my tomatoes early and for rooting cuttings. I want to build it on the ground and "dig" it in with tree mulch. I use an old window for the top.
Now my questions:
1. Is it OK to pick up horse mannure on a paddock or would it not heat up properly because the manure is already there for some time?
2. I read in one description that I need to make a heap of manure and leave it there for about ten days and turn it over several times - wouldn't I lose too much "heat" like that??
3. Do I have to vover the window over night?
4. What temperature do I get inside - say outside it is still freezing over night and I have my seedlings in there - what's the approx. temp. difference?
5. There are different opinions on how deep the manure should be 30- 60 cm?? It probably depends on how long you want to use it?
6. They say that you use manure and straw - I happen to have manure and woodchips would that work too?
Location: Suburbs Salt Lake City, Utah 6a 24 in rain 58 in snow
posted 2 years ago
I found this
book, written by Caleb Warnock. He goes in to great detail about hot beds. My hubby and I tried this one winter, it didn't work for us, but I'm fairly certain that it was because we weren't using fresh manure. He got a couple wheelbarrow loads from a friend, and while it wasn't composted, it certainly wasn't super fresh. It was probably a month or two old. We are going to give it a try again this winter.
Location: Southwest U.K, near the Atlantic Ocean zone 8/9
posted 2 years ago
Angelika the horse manure needs to be as fresh as possible, say max. 2-3 weeks and better of less than one week. If you can find enough, simply make a large heap and add some 'bedding' of straw, hay etc. Woodshavings is possible too, but they take some notrogen from the manure so be careful if growing above the heap. Don't turn it! Use straightaway.
I use hotbeds for propagation in a greenhouse, but outdoors I find the heat is often blown away as much as used by plants. We explain it in our new book, which is in a thread here.
Thanks I found the turning strange anyway. I won't grow into the manure straight away but in pots I probably will strik cuttings there too and I do that in sand anyway. I will have to cut some old roofing sheets lenghtwise for the bed surroundings but I will heap everything in so that the glass is level with the surrounding mulch.
Find and read "The Humanure Handbook". When we have been composting humanure we have had effortless hot compost heaps, every time. When we only compost garden waste and kitchen scraps we rarely get the heat as high.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.