How to Build Plastic Mulch Layers

Overview

Plastic mulch has increased in popularity in recent years, primarily due to the variety of colors and how it affects crops. Black mulch warms up the ground while clear plastic mulch keeps it cooler. Certain colored mulches, through light reflectivity, have shown to increase yields. Melons, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, okra and squash are all vegetables that appear to benefit from the use of plastic mulch with increases in yield, quality and earliness according to the North Carolina State University Extension. Use more than one layer of mulch for extra protection from weeds and to increase the intensity of color and possibly warm or cool the ground even more.

Step 1

Till the area you choose to mulch with a rake or rototiller. Dislodge all rocks and weeds and remove by hand. Throw weeds into a trash container and move rocks to another area of your yard.

Step 2

Apply a 1-inch layer of compost to the top of the soil to amend it and increase its fertility. Till the area again to incorporate the compost into the soil.

Step 3

Rake the soil until smooth.

Step 4

Water the soil until moist.

Step 5

Start with the roll still rolled up and lay sheets of 3- to 4-foot-wide plastic mulch to cover a standard row. For smaller gardens, use large sheets that cover the entire area.

Step 6

Weigh down the first end of the plastic with large rocks, bricks or another heavy object from your yard. Unroll to the opposite end and cut the plastic mulch with scissors. Weigh down the opposite end with a heavy object.

Step 7

Add additional layers by unrolling the same size layers of the mulch and weighing down until you've finished adding layers.

Step 8

Bury each end of the plastic mulch by digging a trench with a shovel, placing the edge of the mulch in the trench and packing the soil around it. Or, continue to use rocks to weigh down the mulch edges.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake or rototiller
  • Trash container
  • Compost
  • Large rocks
  • Shovel

References

  • North Dakota State University Extension Service: Using Plastic Mulches and Drip Irrigation
  • Mississippi State University Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Mississippi
  • Texas A&M Extension: Easy Gardening: Mulching
Keywords: plastic mulch, layering plastic mulch, build mulch layers

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.