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Hot Beds: How to grow early crops using an age-old technique

Hot Beds: How to grow early crops using an age-old technique [Kindle Edition]

Jack First
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £11.67
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Product Description


Jack is a fountain of knowledge and the expert on hotbeds. When I visited his allotment and saw how advanced and healthy his crops were it proved to me that these ancient old systems still work a treat and are just as relevant now - if not more - than they ever were . --Joe Swift, garden designer and TV presenter

I have waited a long time for this book… Jack First has done all the hard work… His authority on the subject is evident in the detailed descriptions and analysis of the various methods used… Most importantly, if the last few summers are the start of a pattern we must get used to, then this gem of a book may mean a lot more than just a fascinating insight into a traditional technique. --Alys Fowler, Gardens Illustrated

If you want super-early crops without the hassle and expense of a heated greenhouse, look no further than Hot Beds by Jack First. This compact book brings back up to date Victorian gardeners techniques of building frames over piles of manure to harness the heat and grow everything from salads and spinach to beet and carrots. A must-read if you d like to pursue a low-cost, eco-friendly approach to out-of-season crops. --Jane Perrone, Grow Your Own

Product Description

The ancient method of growing vegetables in hot beds, used by the Victorians and by the Romans, harnesses the natural process of decay to cultivate out-of-season crops. Jack First has revived and modernised this remarkable technique, and produces healthy vegetables at least two months earlier than conventionally grown crops.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2706 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Green Books; 2 edition (10 Jan 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #285,606 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read- a very useful book 11 Jan 2013
By Tommy
It's hard to think that such a simple and practical technique has been forgotten, but this book delivers a fantastic modern adaption to this highly efficient means to grow veg out of season.

The author is quite obviously very knowledgeable and gives a great insight into his work.
The book is well written with clear diagrams of how to build the structures.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in green issues and sustainability, also anyone who likes gardening.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More about the author 30 Jan 2013
By B Pach
I purchased this book as a follow up to the writers appearance on bbc gardeners world.
The book is a very comprehensive guide on its subject. My wife and I are looking forward
to peeing on our worn out clothing! I do have one tiny issue with the book, that is I would like
to have read more about the author himself, my guess would be that he has a very interesting life story.
Buy the book if only for the last thought provoking few lines.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any enthusiastic gardener. 1 Feb 2013
Having spent years digging stable manure into soil and on top as a mulch, it hardly occurred to me to harness the heat more directly as detailed in this marvellous little book to grow early crops. You can easily make your own hot bed this year, and then next year you also have some great compost. The environmentally sound principles outlined in this book are easy to follow, inexpensive and are great horticultural fun. Imagine harvesting your own potatoes at a time when others are just planting theirs. Good gardeners work with nature. A must read for any enthusiastic gardener.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed full of information 21 Jan 2013
This little book is packed full of information about how to get the best from your vegetable plot - and how to beat the unpredictable nature of the UK climate. I am exploring how I can use the methods on my allotment.

I am please with the amount of detail the book gives about how to build the hotbeds make the frames, and manage the process. It is a real `how to' manual, great for expert DIYers and like me who need full and detailed instructions of what timber to buy, and how to construct the frames and lights.

I would recommend it to anyone how has a sizable vegetable plot or allotment, wants to extend their growing season, increase amount of produce and improve the fertility of their plot. And particularly for all of us who live in colder or more exposed parts of the country.

There is also a lot of food for thought in thinking about this method as a waste management technique, and also a way to reduce the need for heat in commercial production. It may be an old technique but it all adds up to a 21st Century solution too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant little book 14 Aug 2013
By Karen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When this book arrived I thought it a bit small but soon realised that it is packed with really useful information about this old way of growing edible crops even in winter or the hungry gap. I'm already planning my own hot beds as the diagrams and advice have clearly explained the easiest way for me to do this.

Other people might use a polytunnel (but my cats shredded my last one so I now use the frame to support squash and beans) or a heated greenhouse (but good sized ones are so expensive). A hot bed/cold frame arrangement will be cat proof and cheap to construct as I already have all necessary materials and exactly the right location.

I can highly recommend this book to anyone interested in traditional and sustainable food production methods.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most useful gardening book ive read 31 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After finding this book I cannot praise it more highly, it is one of the best and most useful gardening books I have read, this author knows his subject inside out and explains it in a language I can understand, I see someone complaining that it's too short for the money, rubbish, it gives you exactly what you need to know and how to put it into practice, if your still pondering on whether to buy the book, search internet for "Gardeners World Hot Beds" and watch the author building his hot beds with presenter Joe Swift, I can't wait till I'm digging out potatoes in march.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good little book 29 Jan 2013
By Quiz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's written by an enthusiastic grower of veg in a cold climate i.e. up north! I can't wait to try out his hot bed system, and I love the way he makes use of whatever he's got - so nothing costs a bomb and even the 'lights' are fairly inexpensive to make, which is brilliant! Gardening can be an expensive old game but this author shows how it can be done without all of that and imo that's how it should be done!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Beds book by Jack First 27 Feb 2014
By jjay
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book due to hearing about it from Charles Dowding that great advocate of 'No Dig Gardening' and am lucky enough to be able to get hold of a large amount of horse manure. I have made a 6 foot x 6 foot by 2 foot high Hot Bed on my allotment in the last 2 weeks and am already seeing amazing results. The current temperature 7 inches down, (using a soil thermometer bought from Green Gardener through Amazon), is showing a temperature of 39 degrees. The book is very detailed in how to construct the outer frame and the inner growing frame but I must admit I had trouble working out how to get the light, (lid), to connect efficiently to the inner frame and with it being 4 feet by 4 feet is a little unwieldy and goes off like a kite with a gust of wind. The next light I build will be in two halves to make it more manageable.

The book details the history of hot beds, what to grow and when and is very comprehensive and informative with lots of very useful illustrations. I only wish I'd known about this system before because not only do you get earlier crops; at the end of the season you have a large amount of composted manure to spread about which can only be good - feed the soil! I have to commend Jack First for publishing the book and spreading the word. Get this fantastic book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Grow more early crops
Very clear & comprehensive manual on garden hot bed techniques
Published 3 days ago by Mr J C Allison
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
This has been a very useful book and have tried the hot bed technique successfully. The best ever carrots and spring onions. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Row8
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read lots of tip for setting up a hot ...
A very good read lots of tip for setting up a hot bed. It's become my manual on hot beds.
Published 2 months ago by Ricky Turrell
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, written in a "no nonsense style"
great book,written in a "no nonsense style"
Published 2 months ago by A W Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
Disappointed. Not very useful at all, unless you have a huge garden, allotment, and have access to hay/horse manure (ie live near or on a farm).
Published 3 months ago by boo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I have used this book for a year, making hotbeds inside for propagation and outside for growing vegetables. Read more
Published 8 months ago by CWJDOWDING
5.0 out of 5 stars HOT BEDS
Straight forward no nonsense easy to read and understand the practical nature of the building of a bed. Read more
Published 9 months ago by lonewolf
3.0 out of 5 stars a lot of cash for a little book.
I bought this as it sounded comprehensive. Its very small and you can get through it in just over a day. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Salmac
5.0 out of 5 stars A technique that's due for a revival?
A hot bed has been on my list of gardening techniques to get to grips for quite a while. How glad I am I haven't got around to it yet! Read more
Published 19 months ago by Wiltshire Bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful Book
This is right up my street with loads of useful info. Have already begun to construct a hot bed.
Only minimal niggle is the occasional misunderstanding {probably my fault! Read more
Published 20 months ago by Anne Taylor
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