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Coldframes and hotbeds can help the home gardener in many ways. This NebGuide explains uses, construction, and management.
Hotbeds and coldframes are mini-greenhouses in that both use solar energy and sunlight. Coldframes and hotbeds can help the home gardener start, grow and maintain plant material and the commercial grower propagate and display plant material.
The main difference between hotbeds and coldframes is that hotbeds have a supplemental heat source. This supplemental heat source may be organic, such as manure, or non-organic, such as an electric heating cable. Construction can be simple and inexpensive or quite sophisticated. Hotbed/coldframe size can vary.