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I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

Posted by Bev25 Rhode Island (ias-bev@cox.net) on
Fri, Jun 3, 05 at 7:06

Black plastic. I understand the concept. Put it down for warmth, reduction of weeds and so forth. Ok.
Ive do a patch of giant pumpkins for the last 2 years. By July I'm just overrun with weeds. This is the first time for me to put down plastic. I lined the bed and cut a hole for the plants to go into. But here's the thing: How are they going to get enough water? How does anything get enough water this way? Was I supposed to snake a hose under it? I only made it to 300 pounds last year and I really want to do better. I only planted yesterday so if I need to do something else I have time.
Thanks for answering my silly question.
Bev in Rhode Island


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

Bev: you should be using weed block fabric it has holes in it to let the water through, i also grow ginat pumpkins and weeds are a problem, i gave up on mulches as they provide places for insects to hide, instead i weed with a hoe almost dailey.


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

Porous barriors are better for water and oxygen needs, although the cabbage growers up here always seem to use black plastic. Look for spun bound polyester landscaping fabric.


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

I appreciate the input on that. I did get the right stuff totally by accident.
What about watering??


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

you run ooze hoses under it.


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

I have one more question with the weave and pumpkins.
Mine are starting to roam and I wonder if they will be able to dig in and root through it?
I really need to know this before I panic and pull it out! The soaker hose is working fantastic by the way- Thanks so much for the idea!


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

I'm getting nervous... it doesnt look like my pumpkin plants are trying to root through the weave... is this an issue??
Help!


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

OK not to be a butthead. But if things won't grow up threw it. What makes you think things will grow down threw it? You need to make area for the roots to go down or remove the weave. Shannon


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

Well, if that's the case, I should not have even put down the weave since I wouldnt be able to determine where it was going to go or set up for roots. I guess later today I'll put it all out. What a waste of time.


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

Just keep an eye out on the plants leaf stem areas of the vine. If you see a white nub (the start of roots) cut an "X" under that spot to allow the roots to anchor....make it a big "X"....I imagine walking on the stuff would pull the sheets and perhaps shear a root or two if no play was allowed for....


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

Here is another idea for you. Early in the season you put down the black plastic. The main reason is to prevent weed growth. (You could do the same thing with a stirrup hoe as it does not go far enough below the surface to damage pumpkin roots; you hoe away the little weeds as they begin to germinate and you don't hoe up new weed seeds.) Anyway, after you put down the black plastic, you simply move it back as the pumpkin plant grows. Keep about one foot ahead. The big pumpkin leaves will keep the sun from hitting the ground and so you will have fewer weeds, almost none, and no real problem.


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

There is no easy way out. You either have to weed, use the black plastic mulch and limit the root mass or keep cutting holes in it to allow the roots to root in. I've found that if you keep the weeds picked untill the plants can get going it will be harder for the weeds to grow and compete. Just stay out ahead of the running vines keeping the weeds pulled. Later Scott.


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RE: I just dont understand black plastic. Can someone explain?

I cover with black plastic right after the spring tilling and shaping the rows/hills. I anchor it with homemade 'staples' made from cutting the ends off metal clothes hangers. Then I cut openings for the plants. When the seeds sprout, I mulch in the uncovered area of the row or hill with grass clippings. This allows water in, very few weeds, and the plastic keeps the moisture in where it has entered the openings. My concern was that slugs would be an issue. They're apparently cooking under the plastic!

Another nice aspect of this system is cleaner shoes and knees. Be careful when it's wet, though.

My tomatoes are 6' tall, the corn is 8', and everything is just lush and plentiful. I highway recommend black plastic (it's cheap, too).


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