With the winter months approaching, it is time to start thinking about next spring and possibly getting a head start on the growing season. One way to do this is by creating a hotbed. In its simplest form, a hotbed is a trench or raised bed filled with organic matter with soil on top. Not only does this keep the soil warm, but they are also great for improving the soil structure. To build a hotbed:
- Dig a trench roughly 6-10 inches deep and roughly a metre wide (for ease of access).
- Add a layer of woody material (bark chippings, twigs) roughly 6 inches deep.
- Add another layer of general garden waste such as grass clippings. You want this layer to be roughly 6-8 inches deep.
- Next add a layer of farmyard manure roughly 6 inches deep.
- Finally add a mixture of top soil and garden compost on top of the bed. This will be used to sow or plant your vegetables in.
- Your hotbed is ready to use. If you’ve used a raised bed, you can cover it with an old window to help keep the heat in.