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  1. #1
    Member
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    Aug 2014
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    27
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    ware, ma
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    Grillo 107D, Cub Cadet

    Default Earth Tools Plastic Mulch Layer

    Hey everyone,

    It's that time of the year when we are needing to put down some plastic mulch for all of our transplants. Last year we used a single furrow-er to make raised beds and then put the plastic and drip tape down by hand and covered the edges with a rake. It worked but was really time consuming.

    Does anyone know how well the new Earth Tools plastic layers work? I am thinking the 4ft mulch layer would save me a lot of time. It doesn't form the beds at the same time, but it lays the plastic flat. If a raised bed is desired, they recommend using a mini bed former first, before laying the plastic. I think I would be fine with flat beds seeing how there is plenty of drainage.

    My soil is somewhat rocky, but with our new rotary plow I can get most of the rocks out and loosen up the soil quite a bit. So, I am thinking the plastic layer might work pretty good as long as the field is plowed up well. Let me know what you guys think about these mulch layers.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Dec 2000
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    2,815
    Location
    Southern VT, Southern ME
    Tractor
    John Deere 4100 HST /410 FEL, R4s

    Default Re: Earth Tools Plastic Mulch Layer

    I often wondered just how well they do work on a 2 wheel tractor so I just watched this video. Seems the 4 ft model is just wide enough that its a reach keeping the tractor running straight.

    Overall any of them should work just fine but it looks to me using the narrower models might be easier to control the tiller with.

    I have the 2 foot model for almost 15 years now but I run it on the 3 pt hitch behind my tractor. Lays down a nice mulch bed right between my wheels. Done a lot of commercial growing using it.


    Last time I looked the 2 ft wide unit wasn't listed on the website though it was there last season. Just see just the 3 and 4 footers right now. I have been getting my 2 ft wide plastic rolls from Earth works for a while now 2 ft wide works great for single row crops

    The tool itself beds down plastic just fine. There is a small learning curve getting the openers wheels etc, rear paddles set right. And soil tilth and moisture content is key for best results. If you tuck it down tight enough you can almost mimic having a raised bed the plastic will be slightly higher than between the rows. Just remember higher the formed bed the more plastic needed to cover over the sides.

    Pricewise I have always felt them to be a very competitive option for small tractor owners and small farming not as rugged as larger and more expensive units but still very decent.

    Earth Tools Plastic Mulch Layer-mulch1-jpg Earth Tools Plastic Mulch Layer-mulch2-jpg

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    27
    Location
    ware, ma
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    Grillo 107D, Cub Cadet

    Default Re: Earth Tools Plastic Mulch Layer

    Thanks for the input. That is a good point about the more narrow mulch being easier to control and walk behind.

    The other thing I am wondering is how hard it is to move the tractor and mulch layer to the next row. It looks like the implement would roll on the press wheels if the openers were lifted up.

    This is another interesting option for small market gardens. Manual Mulch Layer: Quickly Lay Mulch by Hand - YouTube It is a manual mulch layer that is pulled by two people. This seems like it might work really well in a hoop house or really well prepared soil.
    Made by Terrateck Terrateck - Derouleuse de paillage film plastique manuelle - YouTube

  4. #4
    Elite Member
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    Southern VT, Southern ME
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    John Deere 4100 HST /410 FEL, R4s

    Default Re: Earth Tools Plastic Mulch Layer

    Quote Originally Posted by frontyardfarm View Post
    The other thing I am wondering is how hard it is to move the tractor and mulch layer to the next row. It looks like the implement would roll on the press wheels if the openers were lifted up.
    You make a good point there (they don't really show moving it around much)



    I have seen that Terrateck being promoted some other places online. I'm sure it serves a purpose...specifically working in tunnel houses and other places where there might be issues surrounding using fuel powered machinery. And have no doubt it is a good tool but I'm also figuring optimum conditions like well worked soil, stone free etc. are really best needed to successfully use it too. But maybe I'm just spoiled being used to moving right along running a 100 ft or more of plastic in just minutes.

    I have laid down tens of thousands of feet of plastic using that little mulch layer that I bought direct from Holland Transplanter many years ago and I like there are now updated variations of it that EarthWay is selling.

    Just to note in that first photo I added if you look closely there is a break in the plastic first row to the left and that large object is huge rock that was in tha field garden (unbeknown to me ) and when I caught it under power it twisted the mulch layer up pretty good but the frame it is flexible enough and strong to straighten back with bar etc. so still as good as new. I have bent the openers numerous times too in field situations.

    So I guess it all depends what a person wants and how they want to achieve it.

    I have been working with a new startup CSA often doing their major ground preparation and I think what they do is fantastic but simply the purist approach they often take sometimes makes it much harder than it has to be IMHO. All the power too them and of course those summer interns she gets to work the farm are a heck of a lot younger than me!

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