WSU Extension Q&A: Use soil thermometer to see if soil is warm enough to plant seeds

WSU ExtensionApril 18, 2014 

LIFE HOME-ENV-GREEN-GARDEN 4 FL

Soil temperature varies from area to area and from garden to garden, depending on factors such as ambient air temperature, soil texture, soil moisture and exposure to sun.

MIKE STOCKER — MCT

Q. I am thinking about planting my veggie and flower seeds out in the garden, but I'm not sure if the soil is warm enough. Is it?

A. It depends. Soil temperature varies from area to area and from garden to garden, depending on factors such as ambient air temperature, soil texture, soil moisture and exposure to sun. The best way to tell if the soil is warm enough is to use a soil thermometer. For general areas of Washington, you can consult the Washington University AgWeatherNet, which has more than 60 weather stations across the state and has information such as soil temperature, air temperature, precipitation and more; go to http://weather.wsu.edu. There are a few stations in our region, so pick one of the stations nearest you. However, using your own thermometer would be more accurate.

Q. What are the different kinds of leaders in a 4-H club?

A. Each 4-H club needs one or more adult leaders. First, there is the club leader who works with general club meetings. The project leader helps members with their projects, and the activity leader leads one or more activities, such as music, recreation, demonstrations or special events. The teen leader works with an adult to give leadership to activities, events or projects.

Q. Should I be using a trace mineral salt with selenium for all of my livestock?

A. Since most Washington soils are moderately to severely deficient in selenium, most of our locally produced forage and grains are low in selenium concentration. As a result, most of our livestock in Washington are marginal or deficient in selenium blood levels unless they are given adequate supplementation. There are various commercial products available to supplement selenium.

Q. When is it safe to transplant my tomato and pepper seedlings outdoors?

A. In general, there are few days past the first of April in our area that have frost, but it's possible. The last average date of frost is between May 1 and May 15, so to be safe, wait to transplant until the end of April or the first of May.

-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.

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