How and how to mulch tomatoes
Experienced gardens to increase productivity when growing tomatoes often use modern agricultural technologies, including tomato mulching. How and when to mulch tomatoes depends on whether they are grown in a greenhouse or planted in open ground. In the table of contents of the article - the essence and the benefits brought by mulching, the main ways and dates of events.
What is the essence of mulching
Not all summer residents know what mulching the soil for tomatoes is, how the mulching of tomatoes in the open ground occurs and how to mulch the tomatoes grown in the greenhouse. Mulching tomatoes is one of the agrotechnical ways to harvest an early crop. When asked whether to mulch tomatoes in a greenhouse and in an open garden, experienced gardeners give an affirmative answer. This is because mulch for tomatoes in the greenhouse and in the garden will protect them from overheating, weeds and maintain the necessary moisture in the soil layer.
Mulching of tomatoes in a greenhouse or in the open ground is carried out during the entire vegetative stage of development of a vegetable crop.
Mulching of tomatoes in the greenhouse and in the open garden is one of the most effective manipulations in agricultural technology, which consists in sheltering soil around the bushes using organic and artificial material. Under the influence of microorganisms contained in the organics, after some time, friable natural material enters the humus process, being converted into humus. Artificial material retains heat and protects against frost.
The mulch, weakening the layer process of weed growth, retains water in the ground, which is important in dry seasons.
The benefit of such an event is similar to the positive results when carrying out agrotechnical work in agriculture, replacing:
- loosening of soil and weeding the land to get rid of weeds,
- creating a protective layer for the root system of vegetable crops for the winter,
- conducting preventive work to protect against bacteria and plant infectious diseases.
The benefits of mulch and its varieties
Sheltering a vegetable crop creates favorable conditions for development and growth, and its regular implementation acts as a guaranteed way to get the highest possible yield indicators. This is made possible by the benefits of mulching, which is capable of:
- improve the quality of the soil structure,
- saturate the earth with microorganisms useful for vegetable culture, necessary for growth and fruiting,
- to reduce the loss of humidity necessary for the development of vegetables due to the creation of conditions for minimal evaporation from the surface of the earth,
- maintain air permeability of the earth due to the prevention of caking of the soil after rain,
- create protection of the lower tier of plant leaves from exposure to soil soil, thereby reducing the occurrence of fungal and infectious diseases, such as rot, late blight and spotting.
In addition to the above properties, useful for the growth and development of tomatoes, mulch protects the vegetable crop from weed growth.
For agricultural activities, you can use a variety of material. In this case, as a mulch, you can take natural origin or artificial. Organic and inorganic products allow quick and safe for health to get rid of weeds and improve the quality characteristics of the earth:
- organic mulch may include compost, mowed grass, old foliage, tree bark, straw, needles,
- inorganic products include unpainted paper and cardboard shelters, non-woven covering materials, plastic wrap.
Mulch will improve soil quality
We suggest that you consider all the varieties and note each of the advantages and disadvantages.
Inorganic materials for mulching vegetable crops, reviews of gardeners note both advantages and disadvantages.
Among the advantages of sheltering beds with plastic wrap should be noted its affordability and ease of use. The service life for such covering material is at least one year. It is an excellent output with an automated drip irrigation system installed.
For the southern regions, you need to use light shades of the film, and for early crops in the northern regions - dark shades.
Among the shortcomings of the choice of film, it is necessary to mention poor ventilation, which leads to the debate of the roots of the vegetable culture and causes the formation of fungi and bacteria.
Lay the film material on the beds with planted vegetables after preliminary preparation, organic baits are embedded in the wells. The edges of the film laid on top of the ground are fixed with a load. Cross-shaped cuts are made in the film, tomato bushes sit in them.
Non-woven covering fabric helps protect tomatoes from frost by warming the roots. It belongs to the expensive types of mulch for tomatoes, but the term of effectiveness reaches up to five gardening seasons. Black material must be laid on top of the soil, and transparent is intended for covering directly the bushes. Having good light transmission due to porosity, the material perfectly transmits moisture and air and protects from sunlight.
Paper and cardboard materials
Unpainted paper and cardboard, which have good performance, unfortunately, quickly get wet and deteriorate, and with excessive moisture they become moldy and serve as an environment for settling slugs.
A newspaper is not suitable for mulching tomatoes, since the lead in the printed rift is a harmful carcinogen for plants.
When using paper and cardboard, do not forget about the regular turning of the material and its turning. At the end of the gardening season, cardboard is put into compost pits. With paper and cardboard flooring, the materials are pre-crushed.
Compost must be mixed with sawdust before use.
Among organic products, there are many that have won the approval of gardeners. You can mulch tomatoes with mowed dried grass, use coconut fibers or shavings, usually used as a filler in mattresses, or take compost and peat, as well as sawdust and needles to cover.
Hay and straw
Formed from hay or straw, the mulch acts as an excellent covering organic material with heat-insulating qualities. Mulching tomatoes with grass and straw will protect against weeds and frosts and provide a high yield of tomatoes grown in a greenhouse or in open ground.
Among the main shortcomings of hay or straw mulch spread in the planting zones of tomato bushes, reviews of gardeners indicate the attraction of rodents and insects to the bushes that spoil the stems and roots of plants. Mulching the tomatoes with grass leads the animals to start nesting in the straw and hay.
Experienced gardeners recognized compost as the most suitable organic material. The only thing they advise when using it is caution and compliance with the standards, since the compost contains many mineral elements, which can lead to a supersaturation of the soil. When overfeeding a vegetable crop, tomatoes can go into growth, which adversely affects the crop.
Even the unaesthetic appearance of compost does not stop summer residents from using it in mulching tomatoes.
Among the shortcomings, many indicate the presence of parasites and weed seeds in immature compost, therefore, when choosing compost material, special attention should be paid to its quality. Often, for the purpose of mulching tomatoes, it is not used in its pure form, but is mixed with sawdust or grass.
Sawdust, bark and needles
Often, tree bark, needles and sawdust are not used for mulching tomatoes, but as a covering material for protecting plants for the winter. However, if you still decide to use woody organic material as mulch and mulch tomatoes with wood sawdust, it is recommended that you stand it for a year so that aged, it brings the greatest value to plants and does not oxidize the soil.
Dates & Rules
The basic rule for mulching tomatoes is to prevent overheating of the soil layer. However, do not undertake activities until the earth has warmed up to 15 ', since the mulched cold soil will remain cold.
Before mulching, the soil layer is loosened, weeds are removed, and only after that the organic layer is applied, leaving a place near the stem for irrigation. The timing when to mulch tomatoes depends on where the vegetable crop is planted.
In the greenhouse
To obtain a high tomato crop in a short time, mulch tomatoes in a greenhouse, where there are additional sources of artificial heating, begins immediately after planting tomato seedlings. This will help to maintain the required humidity, act as a fertilizer of the earth and protect against weeds.
When there is no artificial heating in greenhouse conditions, they are in no hurry to mulch tomatoes in the greenhouse. It is required to wait for the soil to warm up before mulching the tomato, when frost is no longer observed at night. Otherwise, mulch for tomatoes that does not allow heat from the sun will lead to the death of plants.
In the open ground
Mulching of tomatoes in the open field is carried out after the seedlings have taken root, and the soil has warmed enough.