Biodegradable Mulch

Final Report for FS07-218

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2007: $3,457.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
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Project Information


We compared the production and cost of biodegradable mulch to regular plastic in squash and tomatoes on three farms in Virginia. We planted identical rows next to each other and measured the production throughout the year. We found that biodegradable mulch performs roughly equally with plastic in most situations, but plastic did much better in early squash. We decided that overall biodegradable mulch is a viable alternative to plastic, and that any possible production loss is usually minimal and cancelled out by savings associated with not pulling up and disposing of regular plastic. We recommend using biodegradable mulch on an experimental basis to any vegetable farmer interested in reducing the amount of plastic they generate while saving time and possibly money. We plan to continue our own experiments on a larger scale, to determine how many crops could be converted to bio mulch, and to assess how bio mulch performs in a variety of weather and growing conditions.


Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.