Black Tarpaulin For The Vegetable Garden: Useful Or Not?


In winter, how many vegetable gardens can we see here and there completely covered with plastic sheet? If the intention is commendable, especially because Black Tarpaulin protects the floor from rain, frost or even snow and that it prevents or limits the growth of weeds, it is not the best mulch, far from it! So, how to prepare the vegetable garden before winter?


Tarps Don’t Improve Vegetable Garden Soil

feed the soil : it all starts here! During the crops, each of the plants has drawn from the earth the necessary nutrients for its proper growth and, if necessary, for its generous fruiting.


Now that the cultivation beds are empty, the important thing is to regenerate the soil and in particular to restore its nutritional potential. Unfortunately, we must recognize that a simple plastic sheet is an inert material and does not add any nutrients to the soil.


The Tarp Also Doesn’t Breathe

It is even very often waterproof, as in the photos depicting these words. And it’s not the unfortunate loopholes it has that will radically change the situation! This tightness may seem to be an advantage in the eyes of many gardeners since vegetable garden soil is then completely protected from bad weather conditions, especially heavy winter rains that wash away the soil, but also frost that condenses it or even snow.


The problem is precisely that the living organisms that inhabit the soil are also protected. However, this microfauna needs moisture to continue the work of decomposing plant waste and produce humus. The observation is simple and unattractive: in a soil completely devoid of moisture and oxygen (therefore without aeration), life is not possible and small animals leave it! Living organisms are like us: no matter how small they are, they need water and air to live!


However, The Idea Of Covering The Vegetable Garden Is Great!

Therefore, it should not be abandoned. Just change your (bad) habits and start by, for example, exchanging the plastic sheet for a woven mulching film (therefore breathable). At least water and air will pass! Even better, vegetable mulch is ideal. Why ?


  • And good mulch doesn’t completely prevent the growth of unwanted weeds (you know, those weeds—often called “bad” by the way—that grow faster than the ones we’re trying to grow!) but it slows it down considerably.
  • And good mulch nourishes, through micro-organisms, the soil it covers. It thus contributes to the improvement of the physicochemical properties of the soil. The resulting soil is softer, more fertile. just more alive!
  • And my dear The mulch of plants protects from cold and rain. but also hot in summer. At this time of year, it holds water in the soil and slows evaporation.

Therefore it is not only Winter that this mulch is necessary, but indeed throughout the year.


How to Make a Good Rotten Vegetable Leaf for the Vegetable Garden?

In my opinion, a good mulch consists of a balanced mix of materials: grass clippings for nitrogen supply, some bark for slight acidity, shredded material taken from branches or prunings passed between the blades of a compact garden shredder for airy texture, finely chopped dead leaves are sources of carbon, mature compost or even straw.


In addition to a good mulch it can quite simply also consist of a green manure used as a ground cover! With beans for example, you kill two birds with one stone: you protect and nourish the soil of the vegetable garden while you feed. In mild regions, peas play the same role. It is also possible to sow beans or fava beans as a simple green manure.



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