SEEDS AND SOIL TEM­PER­A­TURES

The Bay Chronicle - - GARDENING -

There’s an old say­ing that the time to plant seeds is when you can com­fort­ably sit on the ground with a bare bot­tom. I pre­fer to use a soil ther­mome­ter in­stead of shock­ing my neigh­bours! I have a nifty, dual-pur­pose one that shows the soil and air tem­per­a­tures at the same time. In gen­eral, the soil in wooden raised beds is warmer than gar­den beds, and metal and ter­ra­cotta pots are warmer still. For ex­am­ple, one af­ter­noon, when the air tem­per­a­ture was 15°C; the soil in a wooden raised bed was 12°C; the soil in an old cop­per in full sun was 13°C, but heavy, wa­ter­logged clay gar­den soil only reached 10°C.

Mois­ture and soil con­sis­tency af­fect the tem­per­a­ture too. Light, aer­ated pot­ting mix that’s well drained warms up much faster than dense, wa­ter­logged clay. In­ter­est­ingly, the soil tem­per­a­ture is much more sta­ble than the air tem­per­a­ture. Early the fol­low­ing morn­ing, the air tem­per­a­ture was 11°C, the raised bed and the cop­per were 12°C and

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