A Straw Bale Hot Bed; Will This Work?

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Building a hot bed is a sensible solution to the problems inherent in our short growing season. It should also save a little money by getting the plants out from under lights inside and into natural light outside.

Being short on carpentry skills, I searched for a solution that didn’t require them. Success was just a Google search away. I came across a perfect hot bed made from straw bales. Not hard to accomplish. Mine won’t look quite as professional because the arched top will be fashioned from hula hoops rather than wood before being covered with plastic.

All the information I read about the medium used to heat hot beds use horse manure. These are my questions:

  • Will the bed heat just as well if I use rabbit, goat & sheep manure?
  • Are there any special instructions for using these types of manure?
  • When using manure that hasn’t been composted, how deep should the top layer of soil be to keep from burning the plants?
  • Have you successfully used a hot bed that used manure as the heat source?


A Straw Bale Hot Bed; Will This Work? — 2 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Look up Jack First Hot Beds. Also Gardeners World Episode 7 2012. Straw bales will warm up but cut the strings to let in air. They must be fairly wet to start with and any fresh manure or human urine will act as the catalyst to start warming up. About six inches of compost or light friable soil will do for most crops. Get ten small bales and put them in an enclosure about six foot by six foot. Cut the strings and dampen straw while trampling down and also add manure as you build up. Don’t make to compact. Some air must enter. Regards Jack from England.