Well, if your vegetable garden goes through the hardship of:
And shriveled crops (due to a lack of moisture)
Then you can benefit from these mulches. It does the above work for you while you do something else with your time.
This garden mulch is mainly known to
heat up the soil in early spring,
block sunlight so weeds don’t grow
and prevent evaporation (the soil remains moist).
But not much attention is paid to these other benefits:
They prevent the vegetable garden from becoming waterlogged. Excess water runs off the plastic
They increase production by trapping carbon dioxide. Your crops need carbon dioxide. It is used to generate food (via photosynthesis).
This gas builds up under the plastic. But if you bore tiny holes in the plastic mulch, then the carbon dioxide escapes right under the leaves of vegetables. So the plant has a surplus supply of gas for food.
Less fertilizer is lost from the soil. The plastic reduces the flow of water in and out the soil so you’re expensive fertilizers won’t be washed away that easily.
Plastic Garden Mulches also Beats Pests
Because the plastic heats up the soil you’ll get a head start. You can begin sowing heat loving crops earlier than usual. Crops like:
And because you grew them earlier…you’ll reap them before the onslaught of pests begins. Straightforward, isn’t it?
In some cases the vegetables are harvested a staggering 14 to 21 days earlier than usual. So while your neighbors complain about pest problems you’re crops would have escaped untouched.
Technology and Plastic Garden Mulches
Presently science has stepped in to improve garden mulches and today, gardeners are using:
Infrared transmitting (IRT) mulches which are green in color and allows infrared light to penetrate. They’re superior to black mulches in terms of performance.
Red selective reflecting mulches (SMR-Red). These boost production of tomatoes (and also closely related crops like eggplants). They reflect light waves in the red spectrum to increase production. (Studies show increase in yields up to 4 times).
But Let’s be Honest
These mulches do have their faults. That’s a fact. They:
Restrict the air passing in and out of the soil
They’re costly and unattractive
They’re difficult to install
Weeds can grow through the holes that were made to release the carbon dioxide
And you’ll need to install a drip irrigation system along with the mulch. It’s necessary to ensure that there is always enough water in the soil
The effects of some of the faults can be minimized. For example:
If you it’s in your budget, why not hire a landscaper to lay the mulch and drip irrigation system.
You can also purchase some wood chippings to cover the plastic. They’re more striking but are also expensive. (Don’t use straw to cover plastic. Straw may still have seeds which can grow into weeds).
Laying your Plastic Garden Mulch
Below are 4 videos of plastic being laid as mulch. Take a look…
If your garden is small you can easily install the mulch. But if it’s big more effort is required.
But once it’s set up in your vegetable garden, you’ll benefit. You’ll cut down the amount of hours spent in your garden.