Mulch is a protective covering of the soil's surface. It's a good idea to apply mulch just after you have planted to warm the soil and minimize weed growth. Choose from inorganic and organic mulches.
Mulches reduce water loss from the soil, insulate it from excessive cold and heat, and deter weeds. Inorganic mulches, such as black plastic sheets, gravel, or woven membranes, control weeds most effectively. Black mulches absorb heat and warm spring soils, but may overheat soils in hot temperatures. Red plastic mulches reflect intense red light to young plants and may increase crops. Most mulches are applied at planting, but light-colored straw reflects the sun away from the soil, so is better applied once plants are growing strongly. Other organic mulches include dried glass clippings, well-rotted animal manure or bark, wilted comfrey leaves, straw, or layers of newspaper. Mulches should not contain any residual weedkiller, which could harm the tomato plant and crop.
USING INORGANIC MULCH - stop the weeds with a plastic sheet!
ILay a weed-suppressing membrane over the soil, then cut flaps in it and pound in a stake. Replace the flaps after planting.
2 Tie the plant to the stake with string and flatten the membrane firmly around the base of the plant.
USING ORGANIC MULCH - these attractive mulches allow water to permeate
Spread loose organic mulches, such as layers of grass clippings, to a depth of 3in (7.5cm). You can also add more later on as the plant grows. This will stop the soil from drying out and stressing the plant roots.
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