vegetable gardening guide

Warming Garden Soil

Clint Thompson Soil

vegetable gardening guide
Photo credit: UF/IFAS file photo.
A University of Florida student gardens on campus.

Today, Cathy Isom provides some tricks to help warm up your garden soil for early planting.

As spring begins and that feeling of sunshine and warmth occasionally pops in for a visit or two, it may be difficult to resist getting some plants in the garden. To make sure the soil temperature is ready when it’s time for sowing, there are a few things you could do to help speed things up. Though mulch is a wonderful thing for mitigating soil temperature fluctuation, if the long cold winter has frozen the ground beneath it, step one would be temporarily removing the mulch so that the sunshine can reach the soil. Large stones or bricks, along the sides of the garden beds absorbs heat from the sun during the day and then releases that heat at night when the temperature drops. They’ll help the soil get hotter during the day and keep it snuggly at night. Clear plastic sheeting can increase the temperature of the soil rapidly, as well as hold much of that heat in place on chillier nights. Or you could build a cold frame, hoop house or repurposed greenhouse.