Soaker Hoses with Black Plastic - Knowledgebase Question

Portland, ME
Question by rkilbri1
April 14, 1998
Last year I used soaker hoses on top of black plastic for my vine crops in the veggie garden. Needless to say watering was tricky as the plastic dried out the soil quickly. Vine crops did wonderfully well with lots of produce, especially my Burpee bush cukes. Would I be promoting rotting or diseases by placing the soaker hose underneath the plastic this year? And would I conserve on some water this way?


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Answer from NGA
April 14, 1998

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I would assume you had some kind of holes in the black plastic for the water to get down into your soil, especially since the crops did so well. But I don't understand why the plastic would dry out the soil. Usually, it helps keep already moist soil, moist.

As far as putting the soaker hose under the plastic...If you watered too generously, or too often, yes, you probably would encourage rotting and disease. However, if you buried that hose just a bit, it might help get the water down into the soil, rather than allowing the water to pool on the top of the soil right under the plastic. You would need to check relatively often for signs that the soil was getting too wet. That shouldn't be too difficult if you just lifted it up occasionally to look.

You would definitely conserve water with this technique.

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