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Easy ways to warm your soil

05th March 2019

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Once winter is over, it can feel like you have been waiting for an eternity to get started growing on your plot. If there has been any particularly cold spells, too, the wait for the ground to reach a
suitable temperature for tender young plants and seeds can make this seem even longer. But holding out for optimum conditions is definitely worth it, as young plants can be stunted or even killed if they are put into ground where temperatures are not yet high enough, particularly in heavy, clay soils. So what can you do? We take a look at some of the best methods for warming up your earth
and stealing a march on the season.

GROUND COVER
One of the most simple and effective ways of warming the ground in the spring, at the point where any sunshine isn’t quite strong enough to do the job by itself is laying some horticultural fleece or clear plastic sheeting down. Before doing this, you should ensure your soil is well cultivated, and well-rotted organic matter should have been dug in advance. This covering should then be left in place for around six weeks, raising the temperature to a suitable level. This said, if you have fallen a little behind with your preparations it is still worth taking these steps, even if the covering will be in place for a shorter amount of time – these things aren’t set in stone and can fit in with you.

One of the main issues when using this method is that if the materials are not secured down tightly enough, you can find yourself constantly chasing after blow-away sheeting, so when you begin, make sure you have weighed or pegged it down adequately. This is particularly important if you garden on an allotment plot, as you don’t want to find your materials have blown away and onto someone else’s crops.

ALTERNATIVE METHODS
Cloches and cold frames are two very popular items when it comes to regulating temperature on the allotment or in the garden. Cloches are ideal whatever size growing space you have, and can cover the specific area where you will be planting each individual crop, therefore are a great spacesaving
piece of kit. They are available in various different sizes and materials to suit any budget, too – from ornate, Victorian-style glass cloches, to sets of plastic domes.

Cold frames may be seen as a bit more of an investment, but are a real workhorse in the garden, helping keep crops at all different stages safe, as well as warming ground and making the hardening off process easier at the start of spring.

It is also possible to get hold of clever bits of garden kit, like warming cables, which add heat to compost in heated propagators. It is important when using these to remember to remove the base heat once seeds have germinated, as excess heat once the seedling is growing can cause leggy and inconsistent development. However, these cables are brilliant for enticing seeds out of their casing when the weather outside may not yet be conducive to growth.

The method you choose will be personal to you and suit your own requirements, but all are brilliant ways of encouraging the growing season along!

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