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Re: Solar blanket vs black plastic

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Solar blanket vs black plastic
  • From: "J. Griffin Crump" <jgcrump@erols.com>
  • Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 19:29:16 -0600 (MDT)

> GSJW1010@aol.com wrote:
> >
> > Hi....I have been following the conversations on the different types of
> > plastic, and thought I would tell you my results.
> > I am  working on two areas for spring, and had one garden covered with clear
> > plastic, and the other covered with black plastic and  a tarp.   They have
> > been covered 8 days as of today, and I have to tell you the clear plastic has
> > already killed off the grass.
> --  snip  --
> I thought I would add in another of my two bits on solarization. One of
> the keys to its effectiveness is the insolation (no not insulation,
> insolation). Insolation is the rate of delivery of solar radiation per
> unit of horizontal surface. The more directly overhead the sun is, the
> greater the insolation. . .

John -- Being insolant myself (no, not insolent, insolant) and having
been deprived of about 25 units of my mail in the process of having my
system upgraded by my server (ah, what price progress!), I thought I
would hitchhike on your reply to GSJW1010, whose posting was among the
25 apparently floating off into cyberspace. I just want to clarify, if
possible, my previous postings re black plastic:

1. Black plastic does kill grass -- bluegrass, fescue, rye. It will do
in your lawn in a heartbeat. Evidence: Earlier this summer, as I was
applying the stuff to a raised bed, I spread it on the lawn in order to
cut it to proper size. I'm very deliberate about these things, so the
stuff may have lain on the lawn for between 45 minutes and an hour and a
half. I think it must have been about the time of the equinox -- sun
directly overhead and hot as hell. The next morning, that section of my
lawn was brown, and it STAYED brown. Fortunately, I had already decided
to convert that portion of the back yard to a new seedling bed, so no
harm was done. (I can do all of these things without recrimination,
since the divorce.) After 3 weeks under the black plastic, the lawn was
kaput! Brown, dry, dusty. It crumbled before the tiller like uneaten
Girl Scout cookies. That's the good news (laying aside the fact that I
still had to rake the dead stuff out). The bad news is, even after 2
months under the black plastic, the pernicious, deep-seeded sedge grass
still comes up! Aaaaaaaaaaagh! THAT's the problem! I harbor a suspicion
that sedge grass will withstand the clear plastic, too. And maybe even
the Tasco water torture -- drip, drip, drip under the plastic. But I am
game to try.

2. I have forgotten what this part was about, and it's supper time. Good

Griff Crump, along the tidal Potomac near Mount Vernon, VA, where the
song of the crickets is not soothing, given their nefarious nocturnal
activities in the garden. Where's the Comet -- no, not Hale-Bopp. 

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