This week I began testing a new (to me at least) gardening technique! Using black plastic tarps in the garden to kill off the weed growth underneath. The concept is simple and is something that I read about in The Market Gardener by Jean Martin Fortier (Amazon Aff. Link). I highly recommend his book, especially if running a CSA is something that interests you. (My review of The Market Gardener)
What do black plastic tarps in the garden do for your garden?
- The black plastic attracts heat from the sun which warms the soil.
- The heat underneath the tarp triggers germination of weed seeds in the soil.
- Weed seeds germinate! (under normal circumstances we don’t like this but for the tarp technique we do!)
- The plastic blocks light and moisture from getting to the weeds.
- The weeds can’t survive without the light and moisture and die.
- After a few weeks the black plastic can be removed and the soil underneath planted in for your desired crop.
That’s the idea! I’m only now exploring this option and I will report back to you on my findings. I have about 3-4 weeks before planting out my tomatoes in this location. By then the weeds should be sufficiently killed off and I can remove the tarp to use in another location. What I like about the tarp technique is that I’m using only the sun to kill the weeds. No chemicals are being used which I think is very important for in my garden. When selecting a tarp (Amazon Aff Link) it is important that you pick one that does not allow water through. I am hoping that this will work against my Bermuda grass which continues to creep in no matter what steps I take!