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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old October 28, 2019   #1
greenthumbomaha
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Default Warming the Soil

The temps are running 15 to 20 degrees below normal for this time of year and today the high wil be 35, cloudy all day. I am behind in planting the last of the garlic. I have enough leftover seed garlic to experiment with planting in a 4 X 4 raised bed.
We are going to get a very early season snowfall today and Thursday. Temps will return to the 50's this weekend and then plunge again. I am going to try and plant the garlic today or tomorrow.

I would like to plant today. A few options to warm the soil, or at least keep the temps at where they are during this cooldown ahead of the warmer temps to come:

Plant today and cover with poly pannels

Plant today and cover with leaves and poly pannels

Plant today and cover with weed fabric


I have read that covering with leaves may trap the cold air in.
Opinions?

- Lisa

4 inch soil temp dropped 2 degrees overnight to 46 degrees

latest forcast is half an inch of snow starting late today but may not stick since ground temps are warm

Last edited by greenthumbomaha; October 28, 2019 at 10:46 AM.
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Old October 28, 2019   #2
bjbebs
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I put in roughly 300 cloves at home. I try to coincide planting with a rain. I will water deeply after planting and let the rains get them up. A couple weeks after planting, before they pop, 3 inches of ash leaves goes on top. When they break ground more leaves go on the bed. This is all they get until harvest. No food, no water, left to fend for themselves. My soil is rich and they do fine. My market garlic is planted on ground several miles from home. Several thousand cloves go in and again get nothing after planting. The plot is not fenced. Every critter in the area has been into the garlic with little damage through the years. I mention these things to let you know this is a tough plant. Your soils are still warm enough to get your crop up. If you decide to mulch before they pop, I would go light and add more later. If you need more to play with, PM me your address and I'll get you out a box of ready to go seed.
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Old October 29, 2019   #3
greenthumbomaha
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bj, if this is your unnamed legacy variety, I would love to try a very small amount and have it acclimate to my garden conditions.
We had seven yeas of drough followed by historic flooding rains this spring. Every year it's a knuclke biter to see if you have something bigger than a golf ball. A consistant performer would be a very welcome addition.

Today the weather was a bit too invigorating for plantng the raised bed. Garlic may be tough but myself, not so much. The temp when I started was 34 degrees with a weak winter sun making it tolerable. The sun gave way to clouds and eventually snowflakes. Even the warmth of an unheated garage for a few seconds to retrieve supplies felt cozy to my old bones. I got 36 bulbs planted in about an hour, with a 4 hour soak in baking soda/kelp and the standard 4 minute soak 70% isopropol alcohol. The "soil" in this bed is mostly years of dumped potting mixes and black cow. I need to borrow a horse for an afternoon and feed it well.

Sending a pm, bj. Thank you so much for the offer.
- Lisa
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Old October 29, 2019   #4
Tormato
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A layer of black plastic, then a layer of clear plastic, then hope for sun.
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Old October 30, 2019   #5
greenthumbomaha
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No sun but the romaine lettuce made it thru 23 degrees last night covered with 6mm poly panel.

First year for a serious "fall" greens raosed bed garden thanks to all the rain.

- Lisa
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Old October 30, 2019   #6
bower
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I have planted garlic in freezing temperatures late November and other times when it was so cold your fingers would be numb... we never did anything to warm the soil for planting or afterwards, and there is often no mulch to put on either (especially at the farm) and most times it doesn't affect the crop in any way. Our garlic never breaks ground before winter here, not even when planted first week of October. So don't worry about the garlic, but take care of your fingers - pick a nice day for that.
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Old October 31, 2019   #7
greenthumbomaha
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Bower, after going for almost a week without a furnace I will happy follow your excellent advice. Warm fingers are so much better than frozen ones!

- Lisa
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Old October 31, 2019   #8
greenthumbomaha
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Bill,
I sent a pm but I'm not sure of it went through. Your very generous box arrived today. I cleaned and turned a small spot, but obviously I will need to do much more preparation now. It will be a long but fun weekend to close the season. You are a kind and giving person.
Regards, Lisa
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Old November 1, 2019   #9
slugworth
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In the past I have used the electric heating cable we normally use to keep rain gutters from freezing.
I had some buried, but furry creatures ate the insulation off the wires.
I hate when they do that.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #10
slugworth
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I got an armored garden hose in goodwill that I will try for warming the soil
in spring and for cooling the soil when the summer heatwave hits by pumping
rainwater through it.
It looks like electrical bx cable-stainless steel.
A magnet doesn't stick to it-so a quality stainless.
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