How to Grow Early Crops Using an Age-Old Technique

14 December, 2015

The ancient method of growing vegetables in hot beds, used by the Victorians and by the Romans, harnesses the natural process of decay to cultivate out-of-season crops. 

Jack First has revived and modernised this remarkable technique, and produces healthy vegetables at least two months earlier than conventionally grown crops.


This practical guide includes everything you need to know in order to use this highly productive, low-cost, year-round, eco-friendly gardening system.

Straightforward explanations and diagrams show how you too can grow early veg without fossil-fuel energy or elaborate equipment.       

With just stable manure (or alternatives), a simple frame and a small space, you can be harvesting salads in March and potatoes in early April.


Jack First is an experienced horticulturalist who has pioneered, developed and fully tested the methods described in this book. His hot beds have been featured on BBC TV’s Gardener’s World. He works with volunteers on a large plot in Keighley, West Yorkshire and is the sole supplier to his whole-food shop of out-of-season greens, new potatoes and salads.



Jack featured in BBC documentary 'Gardener's World'


“As a general rule it is not possible to grow crops early in the British Isles and other temperate zones. By ‘early’ I mean the period between January and April, and in some areas even later. Cold wet soils preclude sowing, as seeds can only grow and thrive in warmer conditions. Prolonged periods of rain in spring or early summer can often further frustrate the gardener. This is a shame, because after 21st December daylight gradually lengthens, and light is a major stimulus to plant growth. If only somehow we could pre-warn the soil and enable plants to grow in an environment free from adverse weather conditions... well, we can!”



To find out how to make your own Hot Beds, buy a signed copy of Jack First’s ‘Hot Beds – How to Grow Early Crops Using an Age-old Technique’ from Shipley Health Store.

< PrevNext >
Year: 2019

March (2)

February (4)

January (3)

Year: 2018

December (3)

November (4)

October (4)

September (5)

August (4)

July (4)

June (6)

May (5)

April (4)

March (7)

February (9)

January (2)

Year: 2017

December (3)

November (6)

October (7)

September (9)

August (10)

July (9)

June (10)

May (10)

April (9)

March (6)

January (1)

Year: 2016

November (1)

August (1)

May (2)

April (2)

March (2)

February (1)

January (1)

Year: 2015

December (3)

November (1)

August (4)

June (1)

March (3)

February (1)

Year: 2014

September (1)

June (1)

April (1)

March (1)

February (1)

January (3)

Year: 2013

December (2)

November (2)

October (5)

August (3)

July (1)

June (2)

May (6)

April (2)

March (3)

February (15)

January (8)

Latest uploads by Shipley Health Store on Instagram