Mulching tomatoes

How and why to do it

To prevent the growth of weeds, to keep the soil moist and protected from atmospheric agents that cause the formation of the «surface crust», in agriculture it is customary to use a particular technique; mulching. In practice, mulching consists in covering the soil with a layer of material which, depending on the needs of climate or cultivation, can vary. The mulching of tomatoes is usually done using plastic sheets that preserve the fertility of the soil, reduce the quantity of rotten fruit since the products do not touch the ground and prevents the soil from drying out too much during the summer months. In this way, much more abundant tomato crops are obtained.

How to make it

For the mulching of the tomatoes you can use a cloth of raffia, easily available also in nurseries. The technique consists in forming holes inside the cloth in which to arrange the vegetables. The tools you need to have with you are: measuring tape, metal mold or a can useful for the circumference to be drawn on the cloth, a wax crayon, wire and pincer. First of all, spread the cloth and trace the circumferences considering that the seedlings must be positioned at about 40 cm (in the case of cherry tomatoes) or 30 cm (in the case of tomatoes), one from the other. To make a precise hole, it is advisable to heat the can and lay it on the plastic sheet. Fix the cloth using the wire as if it were a hook and insert it between one hole and the other. Water every 2/3 days

Other materials

For mulching it is possible to choose different materials in addition to the classic sheets. The choice may vary depending on important variables due to the climate and the needs of the plant itself. Mulching with leaves is another possible choice even though you are not in particularly windy areas. For example, to mulch tomatoes, comfrey leaves are useful, even if difficult to find, because in addition to protecting the soil and promoting cultivation, they are rich in potassium; the same goes for the leaves of medicinal and aromatic plants. Bark, wood shavings and straw (moistened during the drafting phase so that it does not fly away) with humus underneath to mulch and fertilize at the same time lend themselves very well to mulching tomatoes.

Mulching tomatoes: The benefits

The advantages of mulching can be summarized in four points, essential for a vegetable garden that gives great satisfaction. The first advantage is the savings because the packaging material creates a barrier to water evaporation by keeping the soil moist for several days. Thanks to the mulch, then, the roots of the plants are protected from frost. In fact, materials such as straw and sheets perform a thermal action on the ground. Another advantage is given by the fact that the fruits or leaves of the plants, in this specific case the tomatoes, do not risk rotting when they do not touch the ground. The third point in favor is given by the development of a crop with denser and more abundant growth. Finally, in the long run, the land preserved from harmful atmospheric agents tends to improve

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