Soil warm­ing

Country Smallholding - - Feature -

Whilst the use of poly­tun­nels and glasshouses can help ex­tend the six months, or so, of grow­ing sea­son we get in the UK, crops grown in open ground often have to make the best of what­ever weather comes along. The rel­a­tively sim­ple process of pre­warm­ing the soil be­fore sow­ing or plant­ing can pro­vide an ear­lier start, es­pe­cially for those grow­ing on heavy soils.

Be­gin by cul­ti­vat­ing the soil to seed-bed qual­ity and ex­ca­vate a small, shal­low trench around the area. Cover the area with clear poly­thene and bury the edges in the trench. The ‘green­house ef­fect’ will now oc­cur with so­lar ra­di­a­tion be­ing ab­sorbed by the soil and the ra­di­a­tion of that en­ergy back into the at­mos­phere be­ing re­stricted by the poly­thene. The phys­i­cal bar­rier to rain­fall, pro­vided by the poly­thene, will also keep the soil dryer and eas­ier to work prior to sow­ing and plant­ing.

Use black or clear plas­tic sheets to warm the soil for ear­lier crops

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