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Paper Mulch for Tomatoes

Posted by homegardenpa 7 (My Page) on
Wed, May 6, 09 at 12:26

I've been growing tomatoes for a good few years now and I've always used some kind of mulch to help keep the weeds at bay. For the past few years I've been using the perforated plastic mulch you can buy at most local nurseries, but this year I though I'd try something different.

I looked around online and found a recycled biodegradable paper mulch that came in 3' x 50' rolls by a company called Easy Gardener. It sounded good since one of it's selling points is that you can till it into the soil at the end of the season rather than ripping it up and tossing it into the trash.

Overall, the installation went ok, but when it gets wet, you can't really touch it or it rips like, well, wet cardboard. I wasn't able to find any reviews on this particular product out there and I haven't been able to find any posts on past experiences with this product or products like it.

Well, I'm giving it a shot this year and I'll post what I find, but in the meantime, if anyone has tried this stuff, I'd be interested to hear about what I can expect.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Paper Mulch for Tomatoes

In case people have been reading this, I've tried this and it would appear at first to have worked out well. Weeds didn't grow through it, and even though it could tear easily, I put some paver stones over it and was able to walk between the rows (I put paver stones in between the rows usually anyhow, just so I can walk through the garden and pick veggies in the rain if I have to - without a mess).

The real issue is that birds peck at it and tear it apart in searching for worms. There are currently more holes in the paper mulch than it is covering - well, just about. If the birds were not an issue, I imagine I could get away with using it just fine, but as things stand now, I may just go back to the plastic stuff, I'll reserve final judgement until the end of the season.

RE: Paper Mulch for Tomatoes

Huh, never heard of the stuff but I am trying a new-to-me method that has some sound scientific backing behind it in the soil microbiology dept. It sounds similar to your product.

Basically I'm using shredded newspaper laid down around the base of the plant with grass clippings laid over top. (Make sure the clippings don't come from a chemically treated lawn). So far no weeds at all and it's definitely helped to keep a constant soil moisture - which is always my biggest problem with toms, they crack on me like the dickens because I can't remember to water consistently. I'll try to remember to post back here after I see how they do this season. I'd love to not have any splits this year!

Here is a link that might be useful: See bottom of post for pictures of what I'm talking about

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