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The cold frame of earlier gardening days was a manure bed. As a natural heating served fresh horse manure. An electric, thermostatically controlled floor heating cable is now more comfortable - of course with not inconsiderable energy consumption. If you prefer natural heating, you can use cow dung instead of horse dung; the heating effect is slightly lower.
An alternative with useful "heat output" offers a mixture of abundant leaves, garden and kitchen waste with a little cornmeal.Possible as early as autumn in the cold frame a 40 to 50 cm deep hollow is excavated.For better insulation, it is lined with leaves or straw In mid-February, stout, not too wet horse manure can be filled in as a heat pack, followed by a layer of leaves After three days, the pack is well set and finally covered with a layer of garden soil 20 centimeters thick After another three days waiting time can be sown and planted. A pack of cow dung is processed the same way, but due to its lower heat output, it will not be ready until the end of February, and the compost pack will take two weeks to produce rotting heat and may be applied from mid-February.
Whether with or without packaging, in any case, the cold frame should be additionally protected against frost with a thick layer of foliage on the side walls. On cold nights, it is also covered with straw mats or bubble wrap.