Sunday, May 17, 2009

Laying Down Solar Mulch

It did rain overnight and into the morning as predicted and stayed overcast but dry throughout the day from about noon on. The garden was nice and damp so we decided to lay the solar mulch down.

I am trying solar mulch this year for the first time for weed suppression. As an added bonus this solar mulch claims to also keep the soil warmer which is better for heat-loving plants, such as tomatoes, melons, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and eggplant. Hopefully allowing them to grow faster and produce earlier.

As I mentioned in my "Introduction: Spring Awakening" post, I was inspired to use solar mulch from this GardenWeb discussion.

We tilled the soil yesterday and raked it smooth. Then let the rain dampen the soil. Before laying the solar mulch down, I used a drill and a small drill bit to drill numerous holes through the solar mulch about 3-inches apart. This will allow all the rainwater to go through the mulch.

Laying the mulch, overlapping the edges at least 4-inches:

Securing the solar mulch along the edges by burying the edges in shallow furrows:

Here is what it looks like now. It doesn’t look very pretty. We temporarily laid several boards across so the wind doesn’t pull the solar mulch out.

When my transplants arrive, I will make holes spaced according to my garden plan and plant through the solar mulch. I will also carefully secure the solar mulch around the plants. I certainly wouldn’t want the solar mulch to rip out my new seedlings. I will also add some mulch around the plants and in between rows like GardenWeb Member, thepodpiper showed in this thread:

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