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Soil heating cable

I have constructed an 8ft X 2ft sand filled cable heated bench which I keep moist. Can anyone advise whether to also cover the damp sand with capillary matting to assist in moisture retention within the sand and which would also provide an extra reservoir of water. Any advice and experience of soil cable heating will be greatly appreciate.

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  • Thanks for your interest. The video I followed is on YouTube (Quickcrop) this gives good information. I mostly re used timber so that part of the cost was negible. The initial costs involved were for - pool liner membrane, course builders sand, a sizeable length of soil heating cable with a thermostat. (Parasene are very reliable). You must build a very strong support system though as the amount of wet sand required is very heavy. Sorry I have not provided any photos as they wouldn't help you, currently the bench is fully covered with seedling trays etc. Hope this helps and happy growing.

  • The whole area covered by the cable is maintained at the temperature you set on the thermostat.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,354

    I made one a couple of years ago and posted a thread on here about it with photo's, if anyone is interested in making one themselves:

    http://www.gardenersworld.com/forum/tools-and-techniques/diy-heated-propagator/226761.html

     

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,797

    I've got one. I built it last year. It's about 6ft x 2ft. I have a layer of polythene on top of the damp sand, to keep moisture in, and a layer of capillary matting on top of that .

    Devon.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,797

    I'll try to get a photo aym. 

    I used a piece of kitchen worktop from a timber yard, less than half price as it was scratched, then timber left over from my polytunnel .

    I put a bit of polystyrence wall insulation panel( left over from a neighbour's exentions , so free ) on the bottom before lining the box with polythene, then the sand.The sand and cable I had to buy. Cable was about £40 I think and I made a little "lid" for it too from leftovers . Cost nowt.

    Devon.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,354

    aym, Just google 'parasene soil warming cable'.  I think I got mine from Amazon.  The same suppliers will usually have thermostats too, which you'll need to keep things at a constant temperature.  The ones with a temperature probe on a cable are best as you just push this into the soil in a tray, or into the sand bed, and set the temperature you want.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,797

    sorry for the delay aym, had a friend round for lunch.

    LIke Bob, I bought mine on Amazon, and , like Bob, I invested in the thermostat. 

    The type of sand doesn't matter as you don't plant into it ,  it's just a medium to allow the heat to spread , and be contained..

    Mine is in one of my tunnels. Remember, with all that sand ,it's a heavy thing once built. Mine is on concrete blocks.

    I'll get a photo tomorrow for you.

    Devon.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,797

    image

    You can see , hopefully. Sand, with polythene on top to keep moisture in and then membrane on top.

     

    image

     My "lid" made from  leftovers.

    Devon.
  • My grateful thanks to all responders to my original question regarding cable heated bench. I think I now have the gist of what I will do based on your experiences and suggestions.

    Many thanks.

     

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,797

    Glad to have been of some help. 

    Good luck.

    Devon.
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