How to build a hot bed out of recycled glass bottles

Earlier this year I designed a wine bottle bed for the 2010 Northwest Flower and Garden Show display we created in partnership with Seattle Tilth.  After the garden show I moved it into a spot in our garden and grew our very first RIPE pepper, before any of our tomatoes ripened!!!

Ripe pepper in a wine bottle bed

The idea is simple: the sunlight warms up the air inside the glass and expands.   The heated air is pushed through the bottle neck into the soil warming it, and the plant growing in the soil.

Because of the limited size of the garden show display we made it small and in a circle large enough for one plant.  This concept can be used for any size bed – just keep in mind the size or length of your bottles, which can be valuable growing space.

Follow these steps:

  • collect bottles (wine, beer or soda) that is the fun part!
  • place in an area for raised bed(s)
  • concrete the necks, one row at a time – leaving the necks open for air movement (we used half cobb in this mixture)
  • stack at least 3 bottles high
  • fill with good growing soil
  • plant inside of the raised bed a plant that thrives off of heat (peppers, tomatoes, melons, etc)

This is a great way to grow warmth loving crops that don’t normally thrive in a limited growing season.  Here in the Pacific Northwest I live in one of those cold microclimates that is nearly one month behind the warmer maritime microclimates of Seattle.  I plan to build many more of these, and much larger… so, I’d better get to emptying those bottles!

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11 Responses to How to build a hot bed out of recycled glass bottles

  1. Great, I never knew this, thanks.

  2. Ena Ronayne says:

    what a superb idea, thanks so much for sharing

  3. Jay says:

    The idea is nice if you have the space. The area occupied by the bottles in your photo would provide me a much better return in potatoes I believe.

  4. Ron Tedwater says:

    Thanks for the post

  5. Bianca Tetu says:

    Hey there this is a fantastic post. I’m going to e-mail this to my pals. I came on this while exploring on aol I’ll be sure to come back. thanks for sharing.

  6. This is the coolest idea I have seen in a long time. We have just hit summer here in New Zealand so I won’t need to do this straight away but when fall comes around I am definitely going to do this for some of my herbs. Thank you very much Jessi.

  7. Daniel says:

    great post, thanks for sharing

  8. Inger Kach says:

    Oooh, you’re such an inspiration. I love this blog!

  9. I love this idea. I can’t wait to try it on my peppers this fall. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Nice idea! Not only that it made my garden more attractive but it also pave the way for me to help make our world a better and cleaner place through recycling. I hope more blogs like this would be posted that would surely make our world a better place.

  11. Chris Smith says:

    Fantastic concept – I’m going to give this a go!

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