The advantages of using plastic culture (plastic mulch and drip irrigation tape) include weed control, reduced water usage, and increased yields of crops. Most crops will see up to 2 to 3 times the yield of crops planted on bare ground. Many insects are deterred by the plastic. Another advantage of using plastic mulch is vegetables are much cleaner since dirt due to rain splashing is greatly reduced. Crops can be planted up to 2 weeks earlier because the plastic mulch warms the soil, especially if black plastic is used. Conversely, the use of white on black plastic keeps the ground cooler during the hot summer months.
If properly planned, 2 to 3 different crops can be planted on the same plastic mulch. For example, strawberries, onions, and beans can be planted on the same plastic in series.
We can also create raised beds without plastic mulch. Some crops just need drip tape for irrigation. Peas, turnips, kale, and other greens can be planted, 4 to 6 rows on a 4-foot wide raised bed. The dense plantings will crowd out competing weeds.
A good case in point was 2016, a year of exceptional drought in Southeast USA. Many farmers did not even plant fall crops due to lack of rain. We planted and harvested a marketable crop of fall collards because we planted them on raised beds covered by plastic mulch and watered them using drip tape buried under the plastic mulch.
Contact us at gthornton [at] sneakycrowfarm [dot] com or 334.338.1575 for information on plastic culture (drip or micro-irrigation.) We can provide a turnkey installation of plastic mulch including irrigation hookup.
We can prepare your garden plot. Bush hogging, tilling, sub-soiling, raised bed preparation, cover crop planting, and soil testing and interpretation of test results are some of the services we offer.
Take advantage of our extensive organic farming and gardening experience by booking us to speak or make a presentation on the latest organic techniques and trends at your event. We have taught organic gardening and farming methods to school classes (K-12), farmers, home gardeners, and agricultural professionals (ACES, USDA, ASAN, WGFC).