The Benefits of a Hotbed

Charles Dowding
Monday, 28th April 2014

No-dig expert, Charles Dowding, explains the benefits of using a hotbed in the garden and greenhouse.

Hotbeds are a great way to start of vegetables when it is still cold. Whether you are experiencing a cold spring or your climate is cooler, this method enables early vegetables.

In Charles's newest hotbed, built just four weeks ago, beetroot and spinach are already growing.

In the hotbed that was built in early January there are carrots and radishes, all loving the warmth.

By using fresh manure, these hotbeds can reach over 300C, which in a mild spring is a little too warm, but in colder weather is fantastic! 

Charles also uses a hotbed in his greenhouse, in a 4ft x 4ft bed, with a pallet sat on the top. This can reach 400C, providing a gentle rising heat for up to 1,000 seedlings.

Charles Dowding runs an informative website about No Dig gardening and teaches courses for market gardeners and home growers (that include a delicious lunch!).

Further resources

More about Charles's greenhouse hotbed

More from Charles: 

Experimenting with dig and no-dig gardening

Propagating seedlings in spring

Charles Dowding has written a number of informative books, including Organic Gardening, The Natural No-Dig Way and How to Grow Winter Vegetables. Find his books on our Green Shopping website HERE.

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