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Warming the soil faster

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Warming the soil faster

Post  NHGardener on Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:18 pm

One problem here in the northeast is a short growing season.

Does anyone use a black mulch fabric to warm your soil faster? Johnny's sells a variety of this I'm thinking of trying. There is also the Agribon white row cover which I believe might warm the soil too, but not sure, maybe it does the opposite.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  camprn on Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:31 pm

If you have black plastic, that would work, but I am curious what you want to plant so early? If you put a hoop over the bed with opaque plastic, that works too.

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  NHGardener on Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:38 pm

I just want the soil warm so that when I plant, such as vine crops, they might get a head start. Sweet potatoes too.

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-5448-solar-mulch-4-x-50.aspx

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bomzuito5Vk

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  quiltbea on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:11 am

I've done the black pastic in prepping beds for melons. They like the soil warmer so I try to fulful their early needs. It works. I've even used black plastic bags I had handy.

I also cover a couple of beds with clear plastic to warm up the soil but also to keep it from being water-logged which is a bigger issue here in the spring. If I want to plant on time, I need to keep the beds from being too wet. The clear plastic warms the soil and also keeps it dry.

These rear beds have clear plastic covers which kept them from snow which means wetter soil when it melts. You can't plant in water-logged soil. It works for me.

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  GWN on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:46 am

Territorial seeds sells a couple of different types of plastics supposedly for different crops, I used them down in oregon, but there we did not get a lot of sun
I have been experimenting with tiles around the base of plants to draw in the heat from the day and keep the roots warm at night.
I just had a bunch of tiles that were left overs and used them
I think using rocks might have the same effect.

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  NHGardener on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:16 pm

Rocks is an interesting idea.

The "black solar mulch" supposedly warms the soil more than black poly, but face it, black plastic is cheaper, so I may try that. Hmm.

Definitely looking to go "hurry and warm up" this year tho. Last year I had straw mulch on the beds since I was mulching the new strawberry plants, and the effect of that was to keep the soil too cool, and everything got to a late start. Makes a difference in short climates.

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  quiltbea on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:33 pm

Straw is good to use After the soil warms up to keep down the weeds and hold in moisture, but not to warm the soil first. I like it as a mulch, better than hay which has too many weed seeds in it.

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  CapeCoddess on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:36 pm

I stuck storm windows over my beds last year and planted pretty early. But that was before ANSFG book and due to total ignorance, nothing scientific about it other than I didn't want soil to freeze anymore. I think I'll do the same thing this year. Rolling Eyes Anything black sounds like it would work faster than a window tho.

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  NHGardener on Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:22 pm

I'll bet windows would work great, but I'd need a lot of them. I do plan on some things in a field-type arrangement too, like the vine crops which have been booted out of the garden for not keeping their hands to themselves. Smile

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  RoOsTeR on Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Concrete curing blankets work great. I've thawed lots of earth with them.
http://www.tarpsnow.com/category.php?iCategory_ID=34

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  plantoid on Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:38 pm

Just had a thought similar to my having a black floor in my glass house.

Perhaps think of trying a matt Black plastic sheet on the bed and make a clear four sided plastic tent over the top .. it will not only take direct heat from the sun it will also take heat from the trapped air as well .

What you would neeed to consider is that most of the tender plants don't do too well if the air temp is much below 50 o F , ( 10 o C ) .
They might be able to hack it say for three or four hours and then the cells split and the plant dies.

There is a graph somewhere on line that shows the lower and quicker the drop in temp , the more damage to the plant , it is also affected by the duration of the cold as well .

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Re: Warming the soil faster

Post  camprn on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:06 pm

@plantoid wrote:

There is a graph somewhere on line that shows the lower and quicker the drop in temp , the more damage to the plant , it is also affected by the duration of the cold as well .
I would love to see that if you could locate it. Like a Star @ heaven

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