We plant all of our tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, okra and some of our summer squash, cucumbers, and pickles on raised bed covered with black plastic.
Why do this?
Well...just like black clothing attracts heat so does black plastic. It warms the soil underneath it and speeds production along. Weed management is a big one. Keeping weeds down around the plants helps keep good air flow going down the rows which means less bugs and disease. By using a raised bed it also helps with over-all plant well being, especially valuable in times of heavy rain. And on the flip side in times of little rain the drip tape that is underneath the plastic brings water directly to where it is needed. Less water waste.
Here's a little sneak peak into laying plastic and using the water wheel planter....
One person (me in this case) adjusts the plastic and drip tape and holds it while the tractor takes off. There are wheels that push the plastic down while dirt is pushed up making a nice raised bed. Notice the yellow arm out to the right...it acts as a marker for where the next row will be.
|black plastic in the field|
Water Wheel Planting:
The Water Wheel Planter has a wheel with spikes that are adjusted to how far apart the plants need to be spaced. As the wheel turns it drops out water that feeds from two tanks on the top of the planter and the plant is placed in the hole left by the spikes. Pretty neat!