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black plastic for veggie gardens?

Posted by mackie80 z4a MN (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 25, 06 at 13:06

I've heard a lot lately about putting down black plastic in between rows of vegetables to help warm the soil and minimize weeds. I'm tempted to try it, and was wondering if anyone else has had any success. I was thinking of just using basic black garbage bags. Any thoughts?

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RE: black plastic for veggie gardens?

I have used black plastic over the rows....poking holes in the plastic to plant warm season veggies (watermelon, cantaloupe, etc) If the plastic is a solid sheet, then an irrigation hose must be placed under the plastic for watering. It does control weeds and warm the soil.

Some thoughts on using plastic between the rows. If the plastic is solid sheets or plastic bags....I would think it would be difficult to walk on it without eventually tearing it or slipping and a' sliding. Mulching over the top would solve that problem. If you are going to mulch over the top, you could use newspaper which would be biodegradable.
Drainage might be a problem with water pooling on top of the plastic. The perforated plastic sheets would solve that problem.
Plastic would keep down weeds between the rows. It would warm the soil although I question the value of warming the soil between the rows.
If you plan to till your whole garden in the Fall or Spring, you would have to pull up the plastic and then reinstall it.

After my initial experiment with plastic over the rows, I quit using it. This was strictly a personal preference. I found the hassle of pulling up the plastic, dealing with torn pieces, disposal, etc outweighed the benefits. I am sure there are others who find the weed control worth it.

You might want to try the plastic in part of the garden and see how it works and how you like it. Ya never know until you try it!

RE: black plastic for veggie gardens?

Hi Mackie80 -

I suggest using landscape fabric instead of plastic. Plastic bags are really useless. I have use both in my 1 acre garden and found the landscape fabric superior every time. The pieces I currently have are seven years old and they are still doing a great job. I only use GCI's non-woven as it works the best. I have raised beds and use old carpeting as paths, but only the kind with synthetic backing, the natural stuff (wool with cotton jute backing falls apart too rapidly). The best use I have found for the fabric is on the onion beds. Each bed is 4 x 25 and I have 1100 holes, 2" apart in the fabric. I put onion plants (not sets) in each hole and rarely have to pull a weed. When harvest time comes, I just pull back the fabric and the onions pop right out of the ground. Every fall I roll up the fabric on plastic pipes so it is ready to use the next spring.

RE: black plastic for veggie gardens?

I started to post a long old addage to this post- and then found another black plastic theme going in the WI forum-
Take a peek over the fence, they have a great comarison forum!

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