Homemade hot frame
Wendy Trehus wrote in
last week to share her experiments with a hot frame created out of a
55-gallon drum combined with a water-bed heater.
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She began by creating a
wooden box out of 2x6s on the ground, within which she laid a sheet of
foam insulation. Atop the insulation, she snaked a garden hose, then
backfilled the bed with sand. Both ends of the hose were left outside
Next, she filled the
55-gallon drum with water and taped the water-bed heater around it
followed by a couple of heavy blankets for insulation.
After cutting a hole in
top of the drum, she inserted a sump pump and attached it to the water
hose to circulate beneath the sand bed. A timer turns the pump on and
off every half hour.
Seed flats on top of the
sand bed enjoy bottom heat (about 65 degrees Fahrenheit). Within an
unheated cold frame in Texas, the bit of warmth is enough to get her
seedlings off to an excellent start outdoors.