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Plastic tarps and the soil food web

 
Jack Philson
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I am wanting to know whether creating a stale seed bed with tarps to control weed seeds in vegetable beds will have an adverse affect on the soil food web microbiota. Especially with regard to increased soil temperatures created by the tarp
 
John Duffy
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I would use mulch instead. It will break down and contribute to  building the soil
 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Weed seeds fly in so a tarp would not help much.
 
Jonathan Rivera
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John Duffy wrote:I would use mulch instead. It will break down and contribute to  building the soil


Mulch will only do so much if you're trying to kill pre established grass or woody plants. It works on a small scale when you enough to pile it on and sheet mulch up to a foot, but otherwise it will fail. I planted a 60x60 strawberry patch using thick ag paper and 6-8 inches of wood chips, but the prairie grass got through. I'm looking into laying mulch and covering the bed with landscape fabric, then planting the following spring. Theoretically it should hasten the decomposition of the wood chips and kill all grass. We'll see how it goes. But I think landscape fabric would be better than strap because it allows air and moisture through while blocking light.
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