For the last 25 or so years we have gardened with black plastic. We went to a farmer and bummed an old "ag bag," the bags they blow the chopped hay into. If they're not reused, they just go to the dump, because they cut them open to feed the cows. The outside is white but the inside is black, so we put it in the garden black side up. It is extremely durable-we've never replaced it. (Much to the dismay of a fussy former neighbor, who thought we should throw it away every year!)
We hold it down on the sides with old belting from the cement plant my husband worked at, along with various rocks, bricks and boards we've collected along the way.
Then we cut holes in the plastic-squares ranging in size from 6" to 18". The smaller holes are for beans, peas, corn, etc., while the larger ones are for lettuce, carrots and radishes.
About every third or fourth year we take the plastic off, spread horse manure over, till and replace the plastic, rotating it at least once so there are new areas of soil to plant in. On the off years we use a garden claw and work a bit of manure in each hole. It's not as much work as it sounds and the bonus comes throughout the summer when the water doesn't evaporate as quickly and weeding is minimal. We don't have nearly as much trouble with pests, either. Watering is easy-we just sprinkle. There are enough holes in the plastic that nothing stands on top, it all drains down to the soil.
Even our strawberries are planted in the plastic.
As the garden grows, I'll post pictures of our bounty.
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