I have bulbs to plant, and the instructions say wait till the ground temperature is 50 degrees. How do I check the soil temp?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Flo: Good question! We take a lot of things into consideration before planting, but soil temperature is not always at the top of this list. In some cases, it can make the difference between a healthy plant and one that will not survive. When spring arrives, the soil will warm from the surface down, so the first few inches are going to be warmer compared to soil at a deeper depth. South-facing areas receive more sunlight so they will warm faster than north-facing sites. Solar radiation and air temperature are the two primary factors that influence soil temperature. These temperature requirements differ depending on what you are planting. You can measure the temperature of your soil using a soil thermometer. You should be able to find one at your local garden center or farm supply store. It is usually mid-April before soil temperatures in Kentucky reach 50 degrees F. This of course all depends on Mother Nature!