Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,341 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
How long would ground need to be covered with black plastic sheeting to kill all (Or close thereto) weed seeds under the plastic? I understand new seeds would blow in, be brought in by birds, etc.

Also, what was the chemical we used to "Set off" under tobacco canvas to sterilize the soil prior to seeding plant beds? Aerosol cans that fit in hard plastic containers to hold them open? Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,076 Posts
A little bit off topic but I have read that the best way for solarization is this method.

Till, spade, or work the ground in some manner.

Water

Lay 2 X 4s or place something on the ground which will hold the black plastic off of the ground to create air gap spacing. Then cover the area with black plastic.

Place more gap producing material on top of the black plastic and then add a layer of clear plastic. Seal the edges of both plastics with dirt, boards, etc.

The above method produces higher temperatures for the solarization process.
I seem to recall that two weeks is suggested for this method to work properly. Of course that is for bright sunny weather.

I've not used the method so can't give you first hand info.

Edited to add: I believe I read about this method in Organic Gardening some 20 years or so ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,076 Posts
Tricky Grama said:
Actually, layers of newspaper is much better for the soil than black plastic.
The plastic layers are used only for solarization of the soil and is then removed.
After that proceed as normal---which may well include layers of newspaper, cardboard, other mulch, etc.

The solarization is used to heat the soil to kill the viability of weed seed. I just don't think layers of newspaper would heat the soil enough for this although the layers would help control weed growth by smothering the sprouts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
This spring I double dug my lawn and laid down 1 layer of clear plastic for about 3 weeks. Then I used a shovel and hoe to break up the clods of dead matter and dirt, smoothed it out and voila! I haven't had a weed problem at all.

I think it's impossible to get rid of seeds for good so I just used what I had available and it worked for me!

Good luck:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,076 Posts
Stephen in SOKY said:
Thanks Windy. I assume the longer the better?
As I stated in the first post I have not used the method myself. I don't recall the time garden should be covered for certain, but as best as memory serves it was a minimum of two weeks IF you used both the clear and black plastic with air gaps to get the higher temperatures.

I assume that like you state longer is better. It would probably even pay to peel back the plastic roto-til and then recover. The tilling would bring weed seed closer to the surface to expose it better to the heat.

Treating an area then moving the plastic to another should work well if it isn't too late in the season to get good solar heating.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,180 Posts
I have found that clear plastic works better than black plastic. It lets the sun heat up the soil and vegetation, instead of just heating the plastic. A spot that I am doing now has been covered for a couple of weeks, and I am thinking of tilling it and recovering it for a while longer, although it looks like it has done the job I want so far.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
643 Posts
Wow, I was just looking this up--soil solarization. From what I have read, you use clear plastic, 1 to 4 mils, over tilled/worked soil that has been irrigated with the minimum of space between the soil and plastic. It was recommended to keep the plastic on 4 to 6 weeks, depending in how hot the weather is at the time. When you take the plastic off, the soil is sterilized but only the top part, about 2 inches. If you till it up again, you will bring up the deeper seeds and unsterilized soil.

This process makes the soil richer and the plants do better. You want the clear plastic, as it intensifies the heat of the sun where the black plastic is a radiated heat and will not get as hot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,341 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the responses! I'm starting on the areas already out of production this year to see if it helps. I suspect I'll "Cook" it again in the spring as well. Thanks very much!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top