Tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, and cucumbers are popular summer garden vegetables. However, they also are subject to many insects and diseases. Gardeners have used colored plastic mulch to help heat the soil and increase production on these crops, but now it appears that colored mulch also can help protect plants again insects and disease.
The SRM-Silver mulch is similar to black plastic mulch but it has a silver coating on one side. As certain light wavelengths are reflected into the sky by the mulch, flying insects --such as whiteflies and aphids -- are deterred from landing on the plants. Not only do these insects feed on your crops, they also transmit diseases, such as viruses. So the incidence of disease also is lower in plots where this mulch was used.
Although the SRM-Silver plastic mulch heats the soil more slowly compared to red or black plastic mulch, it still conserves soil moisture and controls weeds like other plastics. In addition, in some tests the tomatoes grown in the SRM-Silver mulch actually outyielded those grown in red or black plastic mulch.
For more information about SRM-Silver mulch, go to the Ken-Bar Web site.
Article published on June 7, 2005.