[Market-farming] Garden covering

Richard Robinson hopestill1 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 12 08:08:19 EDT 2010

Wow--where are you?

I would worry first about where all that water is going if it's not
sinking into the soil as it's doing now. That's an enormous amount of
runoff to end up somewhere else. Offhand, I'd guess the biggest
impacts on the soil itself would be on depriving the soil of oxygen
due to the long-term plastic covering, and perhaps a change in the
soil biota to a drier-loving mix. I'd be less concerned about the
second, more about the first, I think. If you are laying the plastic
by hand, you might consider placing it later in the winter--the water
that falls early in the wet season is going to percolate out over time
anyway, so diverting it may not be very important in the drying out
process. And if you are laying it by tractor, how will you get the
tractor in there along the uncovered and wet edges, in order to remove
it in the spring?
Richard Robinson

On Sun, Oct 10, 2010 at 1:32 PM, rbuck <rbuck at pacifier.com> wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I live in an area that gets 60-100” of rain between early Oct and late
> June.  My soil is heavy clay loam.  I’d like to be able to get onto my
> garden with a tractor in late fall and early spring in order to work the
> soil but I’m concerned about compaction and other problems working wet
> clay.  I had thought to cover the ground with black polyethylene plastic to
> divert the water during the winter but I’m wondering if there are downsides
> to doing so.  Would this negatively impact the biota in the soil or cause
> salt build up?  Could there be a negative chemical interaction between the
> soil and plastic where contact is made?
> Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
> Best regards,
> Roy
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Richard Robinson
please reply to: rrobinson at nasw.org

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