Now that my tomatoes are settled in and comfy it’s time for some bedding!
A lot of people swear by red plastic for tomato mulch, but that just seems unfounded for me. Why red? Plastic mulching is probably fine – maintains a more even soil temperature than other mulch options, keeps weeds out just as well. But why red? Not sure I’m buying it!
I’d love to try a green manure mulch – something like hairy vetch planted with the tomatoes. But, this year it’s just back to something tried and true.
A fairly thick layer of grass clippings (3″ or so) works great. Dried or fresh. About the only thing to worry about is the huge nitrogen boost that grass will give, but since the decomposition of the clippings takes a while it probably won’t impact your plants. Too much nitrogen before fruiting can lead to a green leaf boost and reduce fruit yield. (Hitting the plants/soil with some seaweed powder or something is what you want to do to promote fruit.)
The nice thing about using grass is that you can just let it compost on top of the soil, turn it in for the next year.
Mulching of any kind does some good stuff:
- Maintains a more even soil temperature. Applying mulch too early in the season can keep the soil temp too low, but once the temps warm up you can keep it in the sweetspot longer.
- Prevents erosion. Keeps your soil where it should be.
- Improves moisture retention.
- Blocks weeds.
Give it a shot. Grass works great and is easy to find!