I have two 6’x3′ beds in the new greenhouse that are destined to get the hot-bed treatment. Shovel Season is quickly approaching, so I might as well take this opportunity to get in shape for it, too. Heave ho!
And now I wait. The microbial action of the mixed turkey, chicken, bunny and goat poo eating up the brown bedding material should happen quickly. The point of this is to raise the temperature of the soil to a level that the seeds spring with life. Ambient greenhouse temperatures range from 50-90*F in the daytime, with nighttime lows in the 40s. The “normal” soil temperature, untreated, is around 55, which is quite fine for seed sprouting. I expect this hot bed to jump to about 70, which means quicker germination.
This bed has been seeded with quick crops (turnips, radishes, spinach, arugula, lettuces) and transfer crops (broccoli, cabbages). Nobody gets a long stay, in other words. They’ll all be in and out by the first week of June. Then, the bed gets the hot stuff (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and okra).
You don’t need a greenhouse to do this, of course. As long as you don’t have heavy, wet soil, you can do this in an outdoor bed. I would tent it with plastic, as long as you vent it in the hot part of the day.