not missed by the Romans. The gardeners of Tiberius (42
37)had a problem, as their emperor demanded salads out of season. Theybuilt beds of stable manure and placed frames upon them. Soil was putinside, and the frames covered with thin sheets of ‘talc’ (translucentsheets that let light through). The manure warmed not only the soil butalso the air in which the crops grew.
Hot beds are nothing new11
A hot bed is a warmed, protected environment,created by heat generated from decomposing organicmatter, used for producing early crops.
In fact, hot beds of some form were probably in use before the Romanera, as animals were domesticated thousands of years prior to thisperiod. Humans lived in close proximity to their animals, often directlyabove them in the same building, where they benetted from thewarmth of the stock. Seeds in horse feed readily pass into the dung,and hay containing seeds is often mixed with the litter of other pennedanimals. This litter, probably also containing food scraps thrown downfrom the household above, would have been taken from a pen or stableand stacked outside, much in the same way as is practised today. Ourancestors would have beheld the bewildering sight of germinatedseeds growing on the fermenting stack when all around was coveredin snow or ice. Perhaps, in the pre-historical era, this revelation led tothe rst hot beds. In those harsh times the ability to grow early cropswould have considerably improved survival rates.Down the years many nations have understood and adopted thisprinciple. Up until the First World War Parisian market gardenerswere masters of this art, supplying not only their home market withearly crops but that of Covent Garden too. One of the French methods,