As a long time gardener, I have come to hate weeding. I have tried pulling weeds every time I walk by, hoeing the beds, and yes, even threatening the weeds. But, they always seem to win. That is, until I found plastic mulch. This is just the best thing ever for gardening. It virtually eliminates the need for weeding, while contributing positive aspects to your plants growth. Now, don’t be misled. There will be an occasional weed peek out of the hole that you have made for your plant, but this is minimal compared to other methods of gardening.
Plastic mulch is extruded from clear polyethylene resin into black mulch of varying widths and lengths. It will help to minimize nutrient leaching; will keep the soil warmer; will reduce soil moisture evaporation; will produce earlier and higher yields; and will make weeding virtually nonexistent. There are several different colors of plastic garden mulch available. They come in black, olive and red. They are recommended for different plants and will perform slightly differently.
To install you simply work your ground as you would at any other planting time. You must then put a drip irrigation system down before you cover your ground with the mulch. The mulch will not allow water to penetrate, so this is the only way your plants will get watered. Next you put your mulch down, simply by rolling it out and fastening down with ground staples. Poke a hole where you want to put your transplants or seeds. Then transplant your plants or seeds. I would recommend putting a timer on your drip irrigation system. There you go. This is as maintenance free of a garden as you can get.
Some manufacturers will claim that you can get multiple years out of a piece of mulch. I have always just pulled it up and discarded it at the end of each season. Your holes will not be in the same space where you want to plant your new crops. Plus, I like to rework the ground in between each planting season.
The black mulch will increase the soil temperature 3 degrees to 5 degrees at a depth of 2 to 6 inches. This is the area of greatest root growth early in the season. Warm roots grow faster and accelerate plant growth.