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Old-fashioned hotbed provides free heat for germinating

publication date: Jan 1, 2012
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Hot bedI have the distinct and unpleasant memory of getting a little shock each time I watered the plants in the greenhouse on the farm where my husband and I met as interns.  It was not the jolt of our blooming love in the air, but rather the electric heat mats being pushed beyond their useful life. When water hit spots where the mats had cracked, we would get a little zap. When we started our own farm, we didn't want to get a jolt every time we watered and we didn't like the idea of buying a product that we would just have to send to the landfill after four or five years of use. We wanted our farm's ecological footprint to be as small as possible.  We toured a farm that used an old-fashioned hotbed – a cold frame heated by fresh horse manure — and we were interested in trying it.

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