Warm Soil for Spring Plants

Warming up soil for spring plants can be hastened by covering planting beds with sheets of black plastic, which trap the heat of the sun and hold it through the night. The plastic blocks sunlight and discourages weeds. Clear plastic heats soil faster, but encourages weed seed germination. Poke holes in the plastic to allow rain to reach soil. In a week or 10 days, cut 4-inch wide "X's" into the film. Then set plantlets in soil underneath.

By mid-to-late May, young plants will begin active growth, often a fast growth. Rather than removing plastic, pile an organic mulch such as dried leaves, pine straw, or compost on top of the plastic. The organic mulch will prevent weed growth

and conserve moisture.

Check with your local County Extension Office for recommendation of plants adapted to your area, as well as assistance in having soil tested.

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