Early spring has been cold, not much has germinated, even seeds in pots which have been perched on the windowsill of my work room. Must make a mental note to do something about the heating in here because the cucumbers are not the only thing that finds it cold, so do my fingers.
I recently learnt about hot beds, which might be described as a cold frame sitting on a compost heap. Excited as I was by this discovery, my wife wanted the kitchen refurbishment finished, so I just did a quick and dirty experiment and sowed a few seeds in trays and put them in the composter, in just over a week 100% of the cucumbers had germinated, but the dark inside of a composter is no place for a young plant, so the seedlings did not thrive.
Now we have running water in the kitchen, just like the neighbours, I have made up a wooden frame with large holes in the base and some discarded acrylic sheet on top. This assembly sits on top of the composter. My hope is that hot air will pass upwards and provide a more-or-less constant temperature for the seed trays in the box.
Some mornings, I take an early morning cup of coffee up to the top of the garden as a way of delaying the start of real work, so tomorrow I will linger and poke a thermometer into the box and determine if the seeds are warmer than my fingers.