PostHeaderIcon Growing Tomatoes: Plastic vs Natural Mulch

Growing tomatoes has become a popular past-time as the recession has left numerous families struggling for cash. Growing fruit and vegetables has helped to ease that burden a little but some people have found it a little more complex than originally thought. This is largely because a workman is only as good as his tools, and certain tools are needed to enhance the tomatoes that you grow. Mulch is one of them.

If you’ve not been growing tomatoes long, then you may not be aware that there are different types of mulch available. Natural mulch has been popular for a long time but plastic mulch is beginning to emerge as a good alternative.

Natural mulch has a number of benefits. Using organic material such as bark, pea straw, sugar cane or forest mulch has a number of positive effects. It keeps the roots of the tomato plant cool and encourages the retention of moisture, which enhances growth. Natural mulch will also prevent weeds from being able to settle and sprout around the plants, which could ultimately inhibit growth by competing for soil nutrients. The one negative associated with natural mulch is that you should wait until temperatures hit 18C (65F) because of the cooling effect. If the temperature is any lower then it could stunt growth or even prevent it completely.

Plastic mulch can also be used when growing tomatoes. It can also prevent weeds from growing around your tomatoes but its main advantage is that it does the exact opposite of natural mulch. It helps to warm the soil instead of cooling it down, meaning that it can encourage the roots to grow. As such, it works well in areas that have very short tomato growing seasons. The downside is that it prevents rain from penetrating the soil, which means you will have to irrigate and it can lead to oxygen depletion in the soil.

The ideal mix would be to use plastic mulch in the spring, then replace with organic mulch when the weather warms up. If you’d like expert advice on how to grow healthy tasty tomatoes, you should never give this amazing tomatoes growing guide a miss.

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