soil-thermometerA vegetable gardener must have an inexpensive tool i.e. a soil thermometer.

A good quality soil thermometer helps throwing all guesswork away. As an experienced vegetable gardener knows , soil is the best indicator of when to plant a particular vegetable in the garden. Measuring soil temperature is the best and easiest way to determine timing for planting irrespective of the climatic conditions.

During the early spring season, you can plant cool-season vegetables such as peas and kale. This would not be good time to plant warm season varieties. Better keep them off.

Here is a brief description about the particular crop that will germinate at a particular soil temperature;

1. Below 40 degrees:      arugula, fava beans, kale, lettuce, pak choy, parsnips, peas, radicchio, radishes and spinach seed.

2. Above 50 degrees:      Chinese cabbage, leeks, onions, Swiss chard and turnips

3. Above 60 degrees:      beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower.

(Beans will not tolerate frost and may have to be planted twice if the temperature dips below freezing.)

4. Above 70 degrees:     tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, squash, corn and melons.

Squash, cucumbers and corn grow quickly and are easy to start from seed. Procuring cold-tolerant or short-season varieties could be an intelligent way to ensure success with early-season vegetable gardening. In case the soil temperature is little cool better warm the soil with plastic mulch and use a cloche, fabric row cover or cold frame instead of waiting too long for the soil getting warmer. But at the same time do not forget covering plants with an old blanket or sheet if a hard freeze is forecast.

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