Red Mulch Tomato Experiment

This spring I picked up some red mulch plastic for use under my tomato plants.  The claim is that the red mulch reflects a spectrum of light that helps tomatoes grow.  I was skeptical, but since the claim was being made by Lee Valley, which in the past has never steered me wrong, I thought I’d give it a try.  I used the “super red mulch” (,2300,33272,10532&p=10532) and planted 2 rows of tomatoes with the mulch and 2 rows without as a control.  The two adjacent rows of plants were planted the same day, are the same variety, and have had the same amount of water, fertilizer, etc.  I punched quite a few holes into the red mulch to try to allow as much water as possible to make its way into the soil.  There is a noticeable difference with the tomatoes that use the red mulch.

  • The plants overall are shorter and fuller (its hard to see this in the picture so I drew a red box around the average height of the tomatoes with the red mulch and a yellow box showing the average height of the non-mulch row)
  • The tomatoes on average are larger and yield is higher
  • The tomatoes are ripening a couple days faster

Overall the mulch appears to have made a positive difference.  Next year I’ll probably put it under all my tomatoes and also try it with the strawberries.


One Response to Red Mulch Tomato Experiment

  1. Diana W. February 21, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    very helpful — thanks! I saw it in their catalog and wondered if it works.

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