If I had lots of nieces and nephews, I don’t think I’d be a doting aunt. Sure, I’d remember their birthdays, graduations, and weddings with the appropriate card and cash gift, but doting might not be possible. I only have one nephew; he’s 28 now. Watching him grow up has been all those things parents and doting aunts write about. You know, the best little boy, the smartest and most athletic teenager, and the coolest young man. He’s a writer, too. He encouraged me to start this blog by promising to read anything I wrote.
Sometimes, he calls me Aunt Tomato. (I love you, Mark!)
I thought I’d take advantage of a little poetic license and start a sometimes weekly post called “Dear Aunt Tomato.” Just remember:
The information I provide to you is editorial and helpful in nature and cannot be construed as perfect truth. Some of the information I am providing is based on anecdotal evidence and personal experience. The benefit claimed has not been evaluated by the USDA or your local extension service. Your results may vary.
Dear Aunt Tomato:
Is the thermometer used in your February 16, 2012 post a special one, or can you use a meat thermometer for testing the soil temp? What temperature are you looking for to plant?
Thank you for your question. The picture you refer to is of a special garden thermometer I bought at Johnny’s Select Seeds. You could use a meat thermometer, except the lowest temperature a meat thermometer generally registers is 130 degrees. If your soil is that hot, there has likely been a nuclear accident very close by and it’s “apocalypse now” time.
Soil temperature dictates whether or not a seed will germinate. Lettuce and spinach will germinate in soil registering 32 degrees while melons, cucumbers, and peppers like a comfortable 50 degree temperature for germination. However, temperature alone does not control seed success and is only one part of the planting equation. Remember, consistent temperatures over time provide a consistent environment for happy germinating seeds.
Barry, a soil thermometer is purely a first world creation. Let ancestral garden wisdom and the back of a seed packet guide you and leave your meat thermometer in the drawer until Thanksgiving.
Do you have a question for Aunt Tomato?