How to Build Plastic Mulch Layers

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When you're growing vegetables at home or in a commercial growing situation, mulch is a very important piece of the puzzle. Mulch protects plants from pests and weeds, maintains soil moisture and help to maintain soil (and plant) warmth. Many people use organic mulch, but plasticulture, or plastic mulch, has been gaining popularity for some crops as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic mulch
  • Knife/Scissors
  • Fertilizer
  • Compost
  • Planting soil
  • Water
  • Measuring tape
  • Landscape pins/Rocks/Bricks
  • Amend your soil before you lay down your plastic mulch. After you lay down the mulch, you will have trouble directly accessing the soil. Add planting soil, compost and fertilizer to your planting site according to the needs of your specific crop.

  • Plan your planting site. Decide how much room each plant should get, depending on what you're growing, and how much space you need to leave between each row.

  • Lay the plastic mulch out over the soil in your planting plot. To build multiple plastic mulch layers, simply add additional layers of plastic. Secure the plastic at the edges of the plot with pre-made landscape pins or something heavy like rocks or bricks.

  • Cut slices in the plastic for planting, using the plans you drew up for spacing. You should be able to reach through these cuts to access the soil, to plant your seedlings.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plastic mulch can increase crop yield and pest control capabilities.
  • Tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, squash and strawberries are some of the crops that grow best with plasticulture.
  • Water crops that have plastic mulch with drip systems that apply water directly to the slit in the plastic, or systems that have been installed underneath the mulch. Since plastic won't allow water through, watering indiscriminately can cause crops to dry out and die.
  • Some crops may react badly to plastic mulch.
  • In extremely hot areas, plastic mulch may keep the soil too warm for crops to grow successfully.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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