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Gardening | Hotbeds | Cold Frames | Greenhouses

Updated on February 28, 2013

Hotbeds function as mini greenhouses allowing plants to be started outside in very limited spaces and then protected with a closing window top

Hotbeds can be used to start and then transplant plants into gardens, or used as raised beds themselves.

Most hotbeds are built using a wood frame box with a slanted front covered with a hinged window.

The window is opened at various openings to allow cooling on hot days that might otherwise steam cook the plants.

While many use reclaimed windows to make homemade hotbeds, they do produce a substantial risk to homeowners and family members who may trip and fall arms and face forward into the glass.

Only tempered glass or Plexiglas should be used for this type of installation.

Hotbeds framed and covered with plastic are also much safer but the plastic often will not hold up to the wind and UV rays from season to season.

Hotbeds made with a Plexiglas window provide the best and safest long term investment.

Many place hotbeds along a building foundation facing a Southern exposure. While this provides a good out of the way place, wood next to a foundation is an invitation for sub terrain termites and other infestations.

The hotbeds used in the pictures are actually made by the Amish from PVC vinyl plastic. The window is also made with a PVC frame with a Plexiglas window.

The yellow is the protective plastic coating is shipped on both sides of the Plexiglas.

Stainless steel screws are used to hold it together. Making this style of hot bed very durable.

With no wood to rot or attract infestations these hotbeds are built for many years of use.

The PVC also contains a dead air space allowing for an additional insulating feature.

Amish built PVC hotbeds are not easily found on the Internet but they are available from Cottage Craft Works .com They come in three sizes and ship unassembled.

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