8 Benefits Of Using Plastic Mulch
Plastic mulch offers an efficient solution to two of the most time-intensive tasks facing vegetable growers: crop irrigation and weeds maintenance. It is used by commercial farms in areas where natural organic mulch is not readily available and gives the farm or garden a neat and tidy appearance. Using plastic mulch saves time and effort which can free up the time and energy of the grower to do other tasks, therefore reducing overall labor expenses.
What is Plastic Mulch?
Plastic mulch is a roll of UV stabilized polyethylene film that is normally silver and black on each side. It is placed on the surface of cultivated soil which is formed into a bed. The elevated bed allows for improved drainage characteristics. It comes in a variety of sizes with the most commonly used sizes:
- 3ft x 400m (used for small leafy vegetables such as pechay, lettuce, cabbage, basil)
- 4ft x 400m (used for shrub-type vegetables such as eggplant, hot chili peppers, bell peppers, tomato)
- 6ft x 600m (used for crawling vine-type vegetables such as pumpkin, watermelon, honeydew)
8 Benefits of Plastic Mulch
Plastic mulch saves time and effort during the plant’s life cycle. A grower spends less time irrigating his crops and removing unwanted weeds. By laying plastic mulch on planter beds, the benefits of mulching include:
- helps retain moisture
- suppress growth of weeds and unwanted plants
- improve soil texture
- deter some pests
- protect plant roots from drowning or excessive temperatures
- encourage beneficial soil organisms
- provides a barrier for leafy crops from coming into contact with soil
- neat and tidy appearance of farm or garden
Plastic Mulch and Drip Irrigation Combination
Inserting a drip irrigation line inside the plastic mulch offers convenience and relieves arduous labor to irrigate crops. And because plastic mulch helps retain moisture in the rootzone, less waterings are necessary therefore resulting in increased conservation of water and fertilizer nutrients. Choosing the right drip irrigation line depends on the plant spacing and overall distance and the existing flow rate and pressure from the source. For large distances, it is recommended to use pressure compensated emitters or in-line column emitters which equalize pressure across the entire line to ensure uniformity in crop irrigation.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
Plastic mulch can and should be reused as many times as possible before recycling. A good quality roll of plastic mulch will last several grow cycles. Ensure proper recycling of plastic mulch when disposing to keep your farm or garden in good shape.