For new or experienced growers, educators, and serious gardeners.
Covers plastic mulch, drip irrigation, fertigation (the application of irrigation water and fertilizer nutrients combined through small emitters placed on or in the soil near the plants), season extension, windbreaks, crop establishment, weed management, soil sanitation, and managing used plastics. Strawberry and cut flower production systems are described in depth. To be competitive in today's marketplace, growers must continually strive for maximum yields and extended production cycles. Plasticulture -- a crop-growing system that uses products made from plastic polymers, such as mulch, high tunnels, and drip irrigation systems -- can help growers achieve significant benefits, including earlier production, higher yields per acre, cleaner and higher-quality crops, and more efficient use of resources. This book includes 12 chapters that provide in-depth coverage of different components of the plasticulture growing system. Readers will learn how to use colored, reflective, and wavelength-selective mulches to tweak production; how to best establish a crop in a plasticulture system; how drip irrigation and fertigation can be used to maximize efficiency; how to manage pests and weeds between and under strips of plastic mulch; how to integrate windbreaks to prevent lost income; and how to extend the growing season with row covers, high tunnels, and other technology. Two chapters provide in-depth coverage of strawberry and cut-flower production. The final chapter offers guidance on dealing with the biggest challenge to plasticulture growers -- what to do with the used plastic. Also featured are an appendix of material and equipment suppliers, a glossary, and a table of useful conversion factors. Softcover, 156 pp.