Mulching Tomatoes with Black Plastic - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Diann
Lisbon, IA
Question by Ticker
August 27, 1998
Does mulching tomatoes with black plastic work? I've heard of mulching Peppers with black plastic and I was wondering if it will work the same way for tomatoes. Are their any drawbacks to using black plastic for mulch under tomatoes? I would assume that proper bed prep is a must.

Answer from NGA
August 27, 1998
I always mulch my tomatoes with black plastic. Here in Vermont, we have to do everything we can to warm the soil in the spring, and give those tomatoes the heat they like throughout the short growing season. The drawback to plastic is that it doesn't let water through, so you need to be careful about watering your plants. (Next year, I think I'll try black landscape fabric--it's more expensive, but it will last longer than plastic, and allow air and water to reach the soil.)

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