It's always fun to get new things to "play" with here on the farm. This year there's a "sweet 'tater startin' box" right next to the orchard. The box was constructed right on the ground, much like a cold frame---well, I guess technically it IS a cold frame, but its main purpose in life is to sprout as many sweet potato slips as possible before it's time to plant them in the garden.
The box is made from 4 slabs of Crab Orchard stone, around 12-15" tall, 7' long, and 1.5-2" thick. They were stood on edge and held in place with metal stakes on the outside of the box. A pressure treated board was then glued and fastened around the top edge to accommodate fastening hinges to the lid.
A few pieces of aluminum that were left over from the small greenhouse were fashioned into a top, hinges screwed in place, then plastic fastened on the top.
The box was then filled with horse manure and shredded leaves, then mushroom compost. The potatoes were all placed inside then covered with compost. 2 heat lamps provide heat when the sun isn't shining and a thermometer is stuck in the soil so I can keep an eye on the temperature of the potatoes (wouldn't want to burn them....lol). BTW the thermometer is a meat thermometer that I normally use for soap making. Temp is temp, right? The thermometer doesn't know if it's stuck in a roast or dirt.....or soap for that matter.
Back to the bin......it's located adjacent to an electric fence charger station where an outlet was installed, so an extension cord powers the heat lamps. Here are some pics.....
The whole contraption is covered with the frost blanket and tarp at night and if it's cold during the day. The best part about the whole project is that almost everything came from items salvaged. The only things purchased were the 2 heat lamps, one of the fixtures, some screws, and the mushroom dirt (the horse manure has way too many seeds to be on top exposed to sunshine). The entire bill was around $30.00. After the sweet potatoes evacuate the site, something else will occupy the space during the summer.