Definitions

hotbed

hotbed

[hot-bed]
hotbed, low, glass-covered frame structure for starting tender plants. It differs from a cold frame only in that the soil is heated—either artificially as by underground electric wiring or steampipes, or naturally with partially fermented stable manure, which is mixed with dead leaves or straw, placed in the bottom of the hotbed frame, and covered with a layer of soil. Heat is produced by the decaying organic matter. Proper ventilation is important, as is thermostatic control of artificially heated hotbeds. Tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and other crops can be grown in hotbeds in the spring.
Hotbed can mean:

  • Hotbed (economics) - A hotbed is an environment conducive to rapid growth or development. Colloquially, it is often heard in the phrase, "a hotbed of activity." The term has varying, specific meanings in diverse fields, such as economics and biology.
  • Hotbed (gardening) - In biology, a hotbed is a pile of decaying organic matter warmer than its surrounding due to the heat given off by the metabolism of the microorganisms in the decomposing pile. Hotbeds are used by humans for composting and keeping delicate plants warm during the winter. Some egg-laying animals use hotbeds to incubate their eggs.

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