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silage tarp for occultation

teacher_farmer
Thu, 29 Aug 2019 20:18:35 GMT

I just took over management of a 3 acre educational farm. It has been rototilled extensively for years, and the weed pressure is intense. I want to experiment with some no till practices. I am trying to clean up some areas that have essentially become weed monoculture. Other than hitting it with the tiller or occultation I cannot think of any way to clean it up thats labor efficient. I want to buy a silage tarp but I am adverse to getting anything that is cheap and won't last long, because I try to avoid creating a bunch of plastic trash when possible. So, my question is, what have others found to be the most cost effective, durable tarp for occultation?

erikdtz
Fri, 30 Aug 2019 04:27:17 GMT

I have purchased and used the 6mm tarps from Home Depot and they worked fairly well. Unfortunately they don't have any UV protection (?) so they break down faster than a tarp with UV protection (like a silage tarp). The farm I manage now has horrendous bindweed and we've had some luck managing it with clear plastic tarps, stuff that was pulled off our greenhouses and hoop houses when we reskinned them in the Spring. I just purchased my first silage tarp from Farmers Friend and will be putting it on a new plot next week. The shipping costs were the same compared to Johnny's but the tarp sold by Farmers Friend is slightly bigger (50x105 vs 50x100).

teacher_farmer
Fri, 30 Aug 2019 23:13:11 GMT

Useful info about the bindweed. We definitely have some, although I wouldn't;t call it horrendous.... yet. I don't know if its just getting started wreaking havoc or if its just not as vigorous in my cool, coastal climate.

teacher_farmer
Wed, 04 Sep 2019 14:22:29 GMT

Still looking for recommendations on best bang for your buck silage tarps!

Dawson Mehalko
Sat, 07 Sep 2019 01:11:57 GMT

I love farmers friend for silage tarps.

erikdtz
Sun, 08 Sep 2019 03:32:59 GMT

Farmers Friend has used tarps for sale in need of various repairs. They don't specify what repairs are needed but if you email them they might be able to specify. I know that when I searched around my area (I live in rural Lane County, just outside Eugene Oregon) I couldn't find any used silage tarps nor could I find them online that didn't charge an arm and a leg for shipping. Unfortunately certain market garden businesses have made it more difficult to source locally so you're kinda forced to buy it from Johnnys or Farmers Friend.

elizamae
Tue, 24 Sep 2019 03:17:23 GMT

I'm curious is folks have seen much rodent damage while using the tarps?

kncdelano
Sat, 28 Sep 2019 13:21:58 GMT

I use tarps, and I have huge amounts of rodent damage, but I’m not sure the two things are related. I also manage an educational farm (Hi teacher farmer! We should chat sometime!). We are part of a nature center, and I’m slowly reclaiming a 7 acre field that has been abandoned for 6 years and is perfect habitat for field mice, rabbits, ground hogs and deer. Mowing this field was discouraged in the past, so my 1/2 acre garden has become a delicious oasis in a sea of saplings and wildflowers. My nature center has also long had a rule about keeping out dogs and cats because of how they can affect natural systems, so I can’t use them for pest control. Hopefully that is changing, but this summer was rough! I find mouse nests under woven landscape fabric, mainly at the ends of production rows when I’ve had that row covered for months (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes). When I use silage tarps, I don’t keep them in place for more than a month, and while I see the occasional mouse trail around the edges when I pull them back, I haven’t seen any nests. I’m guessing it gets too wa rm? I haven’t used tarps over winter in the past, but I’m thinking that would be a cozy environment for rodents, and might result in more rodent pressure.

SebRamirez
Mon, 07 Oct 2019 17:56:09 GMT

I have started using sileage tarps more extensively in my market garden this season and have definitely seen a jump in rodent pressure. I have had significant losses to rodent damage in Carrots, beets, watermelon radish, hakurei turnips... Im thinking about how I can encourage more predatory birds, snakes etc in my garden next season but also wondering about mouse traps in the field. Has anyone tried trapping mice in the field and had success with this? Ive tried placing snap traps around under milk crates to keep larger critters out of them, but the results have been underwhelming.

huerta_tarruco
Wed, 09 Oct 2019 21:22:46 GMT

Donno about mice, we have voles. Pressure seems to fluctuate a lot from year to the next.