I've been reading about 'hot beds' for planting, and since today was such a pretty day, I decided to give it a try.
I used the tiller to help break up the soil, then I dug it out...then I tilled a little more, and dug a little more.
After that I went a-scrounging. We saved some interior doors and storm windows when the mobile home was removed - I used a door and 3 storm windows (and some scrap plywood) to do this. All that and a fence post I found in some weeds = a free hotbed!
So, what makes a hot bed 'hot'? Raw, uncomposted manure. The chickens provided that. I just cleaned out under the roosts, and brought that straw/manure mix to the deep hole. As that manure breaks down, it will give off heat that will warm the seeds...then feed them.
Once the manure/straw mixture was in the hole, I added back topsoil. This area used to be a horse corral, so the soil here is pretty nice. I tried the lids on too!
The glass storm windows are just resting on top. I'll have to look at ways to attach them. At night they will slip under the fence post for a better seal, but during the day they'll sit on top. When they are on top the sides ventilate just a little.
Night, or Cold Days:
At this point, I was done. It was a good bit of digging to get things to this point. Little Bit was so, so excited, and begged to plant lettuces. This was probably a bad decision - I will likely have a lot of weeds sprouting too, but I couldn't say no to planting! So we planted Manoa Lettuce, Butter Lettuce, Green and Red Romaine, Great Lakes Leaf and Black Seeded Simpson.
All of them had to be watered in!
There! Now we wait and watch! I'll probably put a thermometer inside to see what sorts of temps we're getting, what with this being an experiment. I hope it works! We'd love some fresh, home-grown lettuces!