As warm-ups happen and break-up season starts getting into the swing of things, planting can seem like it should be happening along with it. However, as we know, in Alaska, gardening and growing here takes a bit more thought-out approach and can lead to heartbreak when that spring bug bites. When you plant too early, you will often run the risk of that late-season snow or freeze that will kill off all those young sprouts you have lovingly cared for. This can lead to discouragement from growing that season or then a hesitation to plant at the right time and diminishing your potential harvest later in the season. One of the ways you can ensure that you are not getting this early jump is to check your soil temperatures.
You want your planting soil to be at least a steady 50 degrees F temperature before planting cool-season crops. Picking up an inexpensive soil temperature gauge will help ensure that you can keep an eye on what you might be dealing with and if you try to use any coverings, how that affects your planting season potential.
Growing in a greenhouse, though, you will tend to be able to start those seeds out earlier and have soil temperatures better fitting for a successful harvest. However, even in a greenhouse, you will want to make sure you are not starting too early as plants that you will need to transplant will need to have the right timing between growing inside then moving outside. Some issues that might arise are getting too leggy, weak roots, can’t be hardened up anymore. These issues happen when transplants sit inside well past their just initial growing phase and start to get into the production phase when then transplanted, which can lead to a shock to the plant causing it to die off or not produce as well.
Make sure you are putting the weeks on the calendar and reading all the information available on the seed packets so that you can best gauge when you want the harvest when you can push plants to thrive, and reading those soil temps to know when it is go time.