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Soil Temperature …

Soil Temperature
Fruit and Vegetable Science
K. Jerome

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  • 1. Soil Temperature
  • 2.
    • Temperature key to successful germination
    • Should guide vegetable planting schedule
  • 3.
    • Soil – not air – temperature triggers germination
    • Soil temperature changes gradually, even though air temperature fluctuates wildly
  • 4.
    • Dates and rates for soil warm-up vary each year
    • Often vary within single yard or garden
  • 5. Factors that affect
    • Exposure to sunlight
    • Texture
    • Moisture content
    • Surface level (low-lying, flat, mounded)
  • 6. Method
    • Metal probe thermometer
    • with flat dial
    • (not oven thermometer)
    • Available at garden supply,
    • auto supply stores
    • compost thermometer
  • 7.  
  • 8. Method
    • Insert 2 inches into soil for early season, small seeded vegetables
    • Greens, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, leeks & onions, peas, radishes, turnips
  • 9. Method
    • Insert 4 inches for warm season vegetables
    • Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, squash, corn, melons
  • 10. Repeat performance
    • Take temperature at same time each day for several days and average
    • Best time - mid-day – between 10 and 11
    • Take in several locations and average
  • 11.
    • Strong, long-lasting cold front can take soil temperatures down but it happens slowly.
    • Reaching 45 or 55 degrees usually means it’s safe to plant
  • 12. When to plant
    • Cool season crops - 40-45 degrees
    • Warm season crops - 50-55 degrees
    • Must consider risk of killing frost after seeds emerge
  • 13.
    • Being planted too early isn’t always fatal for seeds
    • Simply sit and wait for soil to warm
  • 14.
    • Warm-loving crops –
    • May be damaged if the temperature falls much
  • 15.
    • Do NOT leave thermometer in ground
    • Clean and store indoors between readings
  • 16.
    • http://www.greencastonline.com/SoilTempMaps.aspx
    • http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/seeds/