Degradable plastic mulches are either photodegradable, breaking down after 30 to 60 days of exposure to sunlight, or biodegradable, broken down by soil microorganisms. Degradable materials do not need to be removed from the field following the growing season, and some may be incorporated into the soil to speed degradation. (Organic Production — Weed Management on Organic Farms ; North Carolina State University)
While more commonly used in Orchards, in 2008 this treatment was applied to garden crops.
Planters Paper Facts
2’ x 100’ package $39.99 (www.groworganic.com); $ .19 per square foot
4' x 100' package $29.99 (www.johnnyseeds.com); .08 per square foot
Biodegradable, mulching paper is designed to be used for one growing season
When the edges are secured, the crepe in the thin paper allows it to hug the soil and to efficiently pass on the heat it absorbs.
Porous to water, it effectively suppresses weeds and keeps vegetables from contact with the soil, reducing spoilage
Made from recycled paper containing a resin binder and an anti-microbial to stop decomposition at the paper/soil interface.
Planters Paper Observations
Edges must be secured.
Installation can be difficult.
Two feet wide barrier may not too narrow for market gardens.
Excessive moisture can accelerate decomposition
Additional Product information fromKen-Bar.com
EcoCover website Information
4' x 8000' available for $307.00 at robertmarvel.com; $.009/square foot
Both clear and black Eco-One oxo-biodegradable (OBD) plastic mulch have been used and sold successfully for several years. Eco-One is able to be sold in various widths to serve your needs. Eco-One OBD mulch films provide the strength required to ensure a tight fit over raised and flat beds, while improving growing conditions.