Re: Re: [tomato] Hay Mulch

William McKay (
Thu, 04 Nov 1999 03:00:56 PST

A couple of thoughts.  First, I am the guy who started this with my 
observations on using red plastic mulch (not impressed and don't plan to use 
it again).  Personally, I don't have any aesthetic objections to it, but 
then, what do I know about aesthetics.  If my wife's constant observations 
on the aesthetics of my gardening area are any way near accurate, it is 
clear that I am aesthetically challenged. Actually though, I didn't think 
the plastic looked all that bad.  It was kind of ugly early in the season, 
but as the plants grew, I could hardly notice it.

I have given some thought to why plastic mulch seems to work so well for the 
farmers I know and why I had such a negative experience.  I concluded it has 
to do with the fact that we have different needs and that the cultural 
practices they use to meet their needs will not work for mine.  They use 
determinate hybrids, spray to prevent disease, and do not have the time to 
weed acres of tomatoes.  They need to have a predictable quantity of 
tomatoes ready at a predetermined time.  My needs are different and next 
year it is back to heavy mulching with whatever organic material I happen to 
have or can acquire easily and cheaply.

Regarding hay bales as a compost bin wall.  I started using wood pallets 
(available free everywhere) and am pleased.  I simply prop them up, drive a 
metal post behind each pallet, and fill.  It is easy to expand, move, etc.  
If I can not find pallets with narrow openings, I simply slip a piece of old 
fencing (which just happen to be laying around my asthetically challenged 
gardening area)over the pallet.

Bill McKay in E. Massachusetts

>4) This is just a general query.  Doesn't anyone have any aesthetic
>objections to bright colored plastic mulches?  Unless one's gardening is
>heavily scientific, or totally production oriented, isn't the sight of
>glaring orange underpinnings to the plants displeasing to anyone else but 
>  A friend gave me some of the orange plastic, I put it around some tomato
>plants, and within a week pulled it off.
>Thanks for any and all thoughts about these questions--

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