Old Urban Garden

black plastic crocuses by the gate
frozen dirt themometer
Today I put a layer of black plastic on my pea bed, trying to warm up the soil temperature. (Lilymarlene, who has a great plot in the UK, suggested I try this.) I had to break up big clumps of frozen dirt to put my irrigation lines into place and smooth the soil. The soil temperature is still reading about 36F. I may be trying the impossible here, by thinking the soil will be 50F by April 15. It seems like my garden may be frozen forever…

Our air temps have been in the 20’s and 30’s this week and it sounds like they may stay like this for two more weeks. Boston isn’t predicted to have a white Easter like coastal areas to the south of us, but it will be unseasonably cold here.

The only spring flowers blooming in time for Easter here are the snow drops and early crocuses. Just outside of my garden gate, purple and yellow crocuses are poking up through the winter debris.

5 Comments. Leave new

  • I haven’t left a comment yet, because I’m not completely sure of this. I would hate to tell you something that might be wrong. I have never measured my soil temp, and I have no idea what it is when I plant peas.

    Having said all of this, 50F seems awfully high to me. I normally put my peas in the ground as soon as it can be dug, which for me is when it dries out a bit because winter here leaves it too wet and soft. I guess my ground is probably closer to 40F when I usually plant peas.

    Are you sure you need to wait until it’s 50F? This seems more like the temperature for beans, not peas.

    Rebsie on Daughter of the Soil recently mentioned she starts all of her peas indoors, because the seeds rot in the cold wet ground. I have never had this problem, but I have heard of this being a problem for other gardeners too, so be a little careful if your ground is very wet. At the same time I have never heard of soil temp being much of an issue.

    Anyway, the way to warm up the soil is with black plastic, so for sure you are going about this the right way.

  • I hope your weather gets warmer soon so you can get those peas in the ground

  • What a difference a day in New England makes! Thanks Patrick. I think you’re right that 50 is much too warm for peas. 35-40 seems much better.

  • Hi Patrick- (I’m hoping you’ll see this note here) When should I plant my Dutch blue capujiner peas? Early with the rest of my peas?

  • Yes, the capucijners go in early with the rest of the peas. At least in my garden, they are very hardy and grow fast and strong. Good luck!


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