This experiment clearly showed that just enough hay over dirt such that you cannot see the dirt made an 8-degree difference in soil temperature.
10/11/2019, 7 AM – Spread hay straw thinly over rows 3 and 7 to hopefully lower the midday soil temps.
1:30 PM – There was a notable difference as the covered rows were 86-88 degrees but the not covered was 94-96–8 degrees is a lot.
10/15/2019 – Sprouts are coming up in the covered and uncovered rows. Concern for how well the tender small sprouts could push through the straw resulted in our taking the straw off. Without counting sprouts and based on visual observations there did not seem to be any difference in the number or size of the sprouts between the covered and uncovered rows.