Get a headstart on your garden with plastic mulching. Suppress weeds, conserve water, and boost crop production with this wonderful gardening solution.
Plastic Mulching: Save Garden From Weeds & Boost Harvest
Spring comes without fail every year, it is some many of us enjoy and can hardly wait for it to arrive. Spring is the time we get to feel the warmth of the Earth between or fingers, smell theÂ beautiful roses, and do some fruit or vegetable gardening. While the most avid of gardenersÂ simply let Mother Nature take care of and prepare the soil for planting, I have something else.Â There is a very simple and inexpensive way you can plant your garden outdoors soon after theÂ frost leaves the grounds. This method uses several sheets of transparent plastic that canÂ warm cold soil. It is perfect to use on plants that do not thrive in transplant or indoorÂ environments very well. Using the plastic can allow you to start harvest much earlier than youÂ would have, especially the sweet, yellow corn. Other than corn, it may also be adapted to shelterÂ other vegetables such as squash or tasty sweet potatoes that normally thrive underÂ greenhouse Âlike environments.
Getting Started With Plastic Mulching
This tutorial is specific to a corn-crop, but you can follow the same steps for most any crop.
Start during the fall months by setting up a seedbed that is madeÂ up of a foot wide, six or tenÂ inch high ridges of soil that run vertically in an east/Âwest line. YouÂ will want to space them in any fashion you would like your corn rows to space out.Â Alternatively, you can choose to do this in the spring, however, should your garden have poor drainage, you might see yourself in a very messy situation.
Once the frost is out of the groundÂ during the spring season, you can lay a 10×25 foot roll of transparent 4Â mil plastic sheeting. It isÂ readily available to purchase at a hardware store. Put the sheet over the planting areaÂ while laying it directly on the surface of the soil. Make sure that you anchor the ends ofÂ plastic using boards, stones, or any other material to keep the plastic from gettingÂ blown away. (Using old croquet hoops or tent pegs are also a great option if you have them.)
When a few days or more passÂ by, once the earth is beneath theÂ plastic is warm to the touch,Â move back the cover and plantÂ the corn seeds halfway downÂ the bottom face of each ridge.Â You can then start to repositionÂ the plastic sheet, secure it, andÂ start the period where you justÂ monitor and wait.
The ridges areÂ vital: they support the plasticÂ until the seedlings grow, it promotes drainage, helps to trap heat, gathers solar energy by day andÂ slowly scatters it inside the plastic during nightfall. It is a technique that ensures even whenÂ temperatures during cold times drop to freezing degrees, the plants that remain beneath theÂ plastic will not frost. Regardless of some fluctuations in temperature, the degree inside theÂ greenhouse can get as much as 70 degrees farenheit warmer compared to its outsideÂ environment. It works in just about any type of garden, omitting those with a significant slope toÂ the north. As the plant seedlings grow and mature you will need to keep the cover propped open.
Using wooden stakes are a great idea so that the leaves do not get in contact with the plastic andÂ the foliage does not get scorched. Make sure you continue to monitor the level of moisture of theÂ soil carefully. Water it only when you deem it to be needed or air it out gently if it happens to getÂ too damp.
Around the time of usual frostÂ-free periods, start acclimating the little plants at a lowerÂ humidity and degree of the outside surroundings. You can do this by opening each side of theÂ plastics for a couple of hours or days. Make sure you repeat the step for much lengthier periodsÂ of time during the week. You will then be able to eliminate the plastic sheet once and for all andÂ finally get to store it for another time next year. When a few days go by, thin the corn aboutÂ seven or eight inches. Make sure you remember to support the roots of the plants. Use the soilÂ from the north side of the slope and pull it in the middle of plants while filling the trench on theÂ opposite side, the south. The rest of the job is a piece of cake you will be able to handle alone.Â With a little bit of weeding, watering, and some luck, you will be able to look forward to eating someÂ of the sweetest corn you’ve everÂ had. You will also be eating the plants monthsÂ earlier than you’d normally have to wait.Â TryÂ this method every season so youÂ can have plants year round.
Want to see the benefits of plastic mulching? See it here at Flora-Flow.com:
Are you going to give this technique a try? Let us know below in the comments!
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Originally posted on March 1, 2016 @ 6:09 AM