Mar 302017

Black Plastic Tarps in the Garden

Black Plastic Tarps in the Garden

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?

  1. The black plastic attracts heat from the sun which warms the soil.
  2. The heat underneath the tarp triggers germination of weed seeds in the soil.
  3. Weed seeds germinate! (under normal circumstances we don’t like this but for the tarp technique we do!)
  4. The plastic blocks light and moisture from getting to the weeds.
  5. The weeds can’t survive without the light and moisture and die.
  6. After a few weeks the black plastic can be removed and the soil underneath planted in for your desired crop.

black plastic tarp in the garden to kill off weeds

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!



Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.