Lester C. Fretz
Warming The Soil for Spring
Canadians are notorious for talking about the weather. The delay in warm weather this spring has made gardeners wonder when the ground will be warm enough to begin planting. There are several things an eager, anxious gardener can do to speed up the process.
The “Greenhouse Effect” can be easily be replicated by some simple things. A very easy, effective and inexpensive way it to use a 2 litre plastic juice container. Cut out the bottom and place it on the soil for two days to allow the sun to warm the soil before planting. Even before the last frost, you can use this approach. If it gets too hot, remove the screw-on cap which also allows for watering.
In the event frost is predicted, cover the container with leaves (preferably shredded) over night or for the duration of freezing weather.
Larger areas of the garden can be warmed by covering the soil with a clear plastic drop sheet held down with landscape anchor pins both inexpensively obtained at a dollar store. Although black plastic attracts heat from the sun, the clear plastic allows the rays of the sun to penetrate and warm the soil “to a greater degree”.
A third approach is to use an electric heating pad by placing it on a drop sheet (to keep it dry) and cover it with a tarp. Folding the tarp increases its insulation value.
The two photos show a plant inside a plastic container and a row of containers which has been removed on a warm day.