When we started using biodegradable plastic mulch, we had two people pushing the roll over the soil, while other people behind them shoveled soil onto the edges of the mulch. The person pulling the roll is closely followed by two energetic "Forward Shovelers" with the task of dropping a shovelful of soil about every yard along each edge of the plastic.
It is perfectly possible to store a partial roll of biodegradable plastic mulch from one year to another. We like biodegradable plastic mulch because it warms the soil, and we get much earlier crops. We qualify our praise is because it has been hard to find out what it's made of, and what it disintegrates into. I found explanation of the chemistry from the Biodegradable Products Institute, as part of a 2012 petition to the USDA National Organic Standards Board to allow "Biodegradable Mulch Film Made From Bioplastics". Bio-based plastic is not really suitable for mulch film because timescale cannot be controlled. BiologiQ's mulch film is certified to pass the ASTM-D-6400 Standard which tests to ensure that there are no harmful residual materials in the soil after biodegradation. As for sustainable mulch films, call Imaflex for their films made with crustacean additives.
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LifestyleHoliday AccommodationDifferent types of accommodation to consider this festive period. Important keys to success are to carefully wrap the roll of mulch to exclude light, and store it on end, fairly vertical.
They sell Bio360 BTB645 4' x 5000' for $345 plus shipping, and Eco-One E1B548 4' x 8000' for $243 plus shipping. It also keeps the weeds down for a few months, and then it falls apart, so we don't have to remove it and cause heaps of agricultural plastic trash. Their claim was that the bioplastics they were petitioning for are not polyethylene like regular plastic mulch, but are fully biodegradable and should perhaps be considered as a soil amendment rather than a plastic. Oxo-bio is better because the formulation which causes degradation can be adjusted according to the needs of the farmer. We need styles that are quick and easy to maintain without having to wake up at the break of dawn every morning to get it right.
If you lay it flat, the layers of plastic could stick to each other and you wouldn't be able to unroll it. They don't use email or websites, and they're closed on major Christian holidays, so don't call then! It's particularly good for vining crops like sweet potatoes and watermelons, because by the time the plastic disintegrates, the vines cover the ground and weeds have little chance of growing.


The next year we invented a simple tool, a stick that goes inside the roll and has rope attached to its ends, so the roll can be pulled by someone standing upright.
Knowing what I know now, I'll buy the Mater-Bi types in future, rather than the oxo-biodegradable ones. They have an additive of 1-2% load put in them and the rest is polyethylene.They do not fully break down past small pieces. Robert Marvel sells whole rolls of Eco-One and Bio360 (Call 717-838-0976 or toll-free 1-800-478-2214 for prices). One little issue was that the rope would sometimes get twisted round the ends of the stick. This year's improvement is to have the rope attached to the ends of the stick with swivel clips. This allows us to unclip to take the roll off the stick, rather than struggle to untie the knotted rope!  We also threaded a piece of bicycle inner-tube over the rope to make a more comfortable handle.



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