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Landscaping & Nursery Information for Home Gardeners

Hotbeds

Cellar window hotbeds are so simple to make and operate and so practical for producing winter supplies of salads and low growing flowers as well as  seedlings for transplanting to the garden in spring, that every gardener who has a window facing south  should have one. 

A coldframe for two standard 3' X 6' sash is built with the cellar window central at the rear. The sash  are hinged with strap hinges (preferably four to each  sash) to the header above the window or to the studding of the house wall, so they may be raised from the  front. By having pulleys 6' or 8' above the back of the  frame and stout screw-eyes screwed on the upper side  of the front corners of the sash and counter weighted  with stout cords, the sash may be raised with ease. 

Such hotbeds require much less attention than those located in the open ground. Though covering with  mats on cold nights is advisable they usually need no  other heat than that from the cellar. This may be supplemented or increased when necessary or desired by  a thermal cable strung around the inside of the frame  and connected with the house wiring system by plugging in to an ordinary service outlet in exactly the  same way as for the toaster or the vacuum cleaner.  Soil mixing bins are great improvements over floors  or the ground, when relatively small quantities of soil  are to be prepared for potting plants. They may be  made of any desired size. Convenient dimensions for  small ones are 36" across the front and hack, 24"  from front to back, 12" high at the front, the sides  rising from 12" to 18" or 24" at the back. Preferably  they should be mounted on at least two cleats so as  to keep them off the ground, the floor or the bench on  which placed. 

When soil is to be mixed, place the various already sifted ingredients in layers and well toward the back at, say, the left side. When all are present push a  square-bladed shovel on the floor of the bin from  front toward the back and at the right side of the pile.  Lift it when full and, turning it over slowly as it is  moved toward the right, allow the load to fall and  spread in a thin layer, thus mixing the ingredients.  Repeat until all the pile has been moved to the right.  Then reverse the action and move the pile in the same  way back to the left again. When these two mixings  are well done the second pile should be uniform; but  should it show streaks or mottles repeat the shifting  at least once more. 

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