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Growing Tomato's with Plastic Mulch

Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:49 pm

I'm looking at growing some tomato's this year using plastic mulch. I was wondering if anyone has done this and what type of drip tape you use. I watched some youtube video's and they were using a drip tape with only 1 hole ever foot or so and were planting only where the drips were. I was wondering if all tape is this way or if I should look at some type of soaker hose. They were putting markers down on the ground where the drip was then laying plastic over it and going back and cutting holes on the markers. How often do you water? Guess that depends on the weather but I was wondering about how long the plastic holds moisture.

Re: Growing Tomato's with Plastic Mulch

Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:13 pm

No suggestions on what will work best, but in this area we have so much lime (calcium) in our water the drip systems and soaker hoses only last 1 to 2 years at most.

Re: Growing Tomato's with Plastic Mulch

Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:56 am

I use grass mulch over a soaker hose. Drip lines should be ok. The water evens out well in a short time anyway. I used plastic one year and it worked fine but plastic I have to buy and I have plenty of grass and in the fall don't have to take it up, just till it in. If it is warm and dry I get about a week between watering, sometimes only five days. Depends on the humidity and wind too. Vern

Re: Growing Tomato's with Plastic Mulch

Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:58 am

I did the black plastic two years ago with a soaker hose. Don't know if I watered them to much or the plastic keep the air from the roots. When I pulled my plants I had little or no roots. This year I'm trying news papers.
Ron in Mid Missouri

Re: Growing Tomato's with Plastic Mulch

Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:06 am

we use wheat straw on ours. holds a lot of moisture, has few seeds, rots well and works real well for us. Our mater plants normally get 5'-8' tall. I use old welded wire for cages. (10 6" squares(5' in length) per cage) and they are normally bursting at the seams.

Re: Growing Tomato's with Plastic Mulch

Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:16 am

We use 5-6 layers of newspaper covered with straw and grass clippings. Keeps the weeds down, moisture in and tills well in the fall for cover crop planting.

Re: Growing Tomato's with Plastic Mulch

Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:01 pm

Last year a neighbor gave me a lot of paper form their shredder they use on documents at work. I always put cages around my plants, and used a thick layer of the shredded paper in the cage where I could not get the tiller to control weeds. it worked great, and I am now saving my own shredded paper for this purpose. If you shred every document that has personal information on it, such as account numbers, insurance numbers, etc. all of which are useful to someone trying to hijack your identity it is amazing how much mulch you will generate in a year. if you pay with a debit card, many of the store receipts even have the last 4 digits of your cad number on them.

Another thing about drip or soaker irrigation, where it is run every day or two, is that the plants do not develop a very large root system. They only produce enough roots to bring in the needed moisture and nutrients. If watered everyday the roots stay right at the surface rather than going deeper following the moisture as it goes down. If you go on vacation you either need to have a timer setup, or have a neighbor run the water for you. If not, when you come back in a week the plants will be badly wilted or dead.
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