Row by Row Episode 61: Using Silage Tarps to Make Beautiful Garden Soil!

Occultation vs. Solarization

Occultation basically means blocking something from view. For example, when studying Astronomy, when we experience an eclipse and the moon is blocked from the sun that is occultation. There are two forms of silage tarps that are used for solarization and occultation in the garden. For solarization, the clear tarps heat up the soil and are used if you want to sterilize your soil due to either nematode, fungal, or bacterial pressures in the vegetable garden. For occultation, the black tarps are used for maintaining soil structure, organic matter, and promote bacterial activity in the garden soil.

Using Occultation in the Garden Soil

On this week’s episode, the guys explain how occultation is used in the garden. When we block the garden soil from the sunlight this known as occultation. To use this technique in the garden we take Silage Tarps to cover the soil area. The main purpose of occultation with the black tarp is you create this moist environment that starts weed germination but they end up dying off as soon as the germinate because there’s no life to feed off of. This method is perfect for creating a stale weed seedbed or weed seed bank. The occultation is used to prepare your soil without using any kind gas-powered equipment such as a tiller, tractor, or harrow. So if you want to start a new garden area, but have no form of gas-powered equipment, add this Silage Tarp to that area. It works great when laid down for three to four weeks in the summertime or maybe up to six weeks in the wintertime. Then, just pull it up and go to planting vegetables in the garden area. Travis recommends to mow it down as low as you could then apply the silage tarp. If you are like Greg and have a longer existing garden spot that has high weed pressure these Silage tarps work great to suppress this weed seed bank. Another great benefit of Silage Tarps is it maintains the integrity of the garden soil. With the tendency of overworking our soils, this tarp method allows us to not overwork which maintains the proper tilth that we need to have for a successful vegetable garden.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, Greg has a Tubtrug colander full of Jambalaya and some stragglers of Red Burgundy Okra. Both productive okra varieties, but Jambalaya is top-notch when it comes to maximum production in the vegetable garden. Travis brought some of Greg’s favorite Brown Turkey Figs. He also has a Stonewall cucumber that was harvested off his Hortonova Trellis Netting. Growing on a trellis allows for higher yields and more growing space because vegetables are growing vertically in the garden. The guys also show off the different color Hoss Hats that we carry in Charcoal, Red, and Camo.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment this week, the guys answer questions about what they learned from this growing season that they wouldn’t like to do again and squash bug pressures during the Fall. Although they had a good garden season due to the dry weather they both found one thing that they learned to not do in the garden again. For Greg, he prefers not to grow southern peas in the garden again. He did well growing the peas, but he cannot control the Southern pea curculio. Travis agrees that he can’t grow them as well. During late Fall and September, the squash bug pressures are probably the highest during the Fall months. Travis says to avoid even trying to grow any kind cucurbit vegetables during those months. The guys recommend planting any kind of cucurbits early in the garden to avoid those harsh squash bug pressures.

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